Barry O’Driscoll is the senior education advisor for India, Sri Lanka and South America, Education in Ireland. This national brand under the authority of the Minister for Education and Skills is managed by Enterprise Ireland which is responsible for the promotion of Irish higher education institutions overseas.

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish state agency responsible for supporting the development of manufacturing and internationally traded services companies.

It provides funding and supports for companies, from entrepreneurs with plans for a high potential start-up to large companies expanding their activities, improving efficiency and growing export sales.

They also provide funding and support for college based researchers to assist in the development, protection, and transfer of technologies into industry via licensing or spin-out companies. Excerpts from an interview:

Q. Compared to the UK and EU nations, how economically viable is studying in Ireland?

Ireland has the fastest growing economy in the European Union and has an open dynamic trading environment. Over 1,000 multinational companies from around the world have set up operations in the country. Ireland’s place in the European Union has played a key role in it becoming a centre of excellence in education and a location for world class research.

Q. What kind of lifestyle do graduate students, especially international ones experience in Ireland?

Ireland can be a good place for international graduates to kick-start their careers. Non-EU students who complete their studies at the postgraduate level can avail of Ireland’s stay-back option.

This means that after their course they can remain in the country a further two years to seek relevant employment opportunities. Currently there are good opportunities in areas such as data analytics, software engineering, computer science and hotel management

Q. What are the best universities that Ireland has to offer and how do they stand out from other institutes in Europe?

All of Ireland’s universities are ranked in the top five per cent globally. Ireland is renowned for its cutting edge technology centres which play a key role in linking higher education to industry needs, and in promoting commercialisation of new technologies. In many fields of research, Ireland’s higher education institutions are ranked in the top one per cent globally.

Q. What are the most popular courses taken up by Indian students?

On the business side, the popular courses include MBA, international finance, digital marketing, and business analytics. As for engineering, there is a high demand for software, electronics, civil and mechanical programmes. Other popular courses include hotel management, food technology, artificial intelligence and cyber security.

Q. What kind of grants and scholarships are being offered to international students?

There are around 200 merit-based scholarships on offer for Indian students. These are offered directly by the higher education institutions of Ireland and range from 1,000 Euros off course fees all the way up to 50 per cent reduction on course fees.

Q. What percentage of South-East Asian students are usually present in Irish universities?

There are currently around 4,000 students in Ireland from South East Asia. This represents around 10 per cent of the international student study in Ireland’s high education system.