The quality of the higher education system is vital to creating jobs, raising living standards and giving Ireland an edge in the global marketplace. Y(...)

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technolgy. Recent figures show more than a quarter of first years at the college failed to progress to the second year of their higher degree course. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

At a time when most colleges have been trying to cope with a growing student population, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology has faced the opposite p(...)

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology could face a financial penalty of €475,000. Photograph: Murray O Laoire Architects

How are our universities and colleges performing? For the past two years, the Higher Education Authority has been trying to answer that question. Th(...)

The decision to withhold funding from some third-level institutions will be controversial given that the three colleges which face penalties are in financially vulnerable positions as they struggle to cope with cuts in State funding and rising student numbers. Photograph: Eric Luke

Three colleges which have performed poorly in a new assessment process for the higher education sector face financial penalties running into hundreds (...)

Nephrops prawn: more than 80 per cent of them collected in the Clyde firth in Scotland and surrounding sea lochs had eaten plastic, including monofilament line and fragments of plastic bags. Illustration: Michael Viney Nephrops prawn: more than 80 per cent of them collected in the Clyde firth in Scotland and surrounding sea lochs had eaten plastic, including monofilament line and fragments of plastic bags. Illustration: Michael Viney

It’s a good 15 years since I first took note of nurdles – a nonsense name for an insidious substance. Feather-light, translucent beads of polypropylen(...)

A dolphin and her  newborn calf: a report has found that ottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins and killer whales or orcas are under enormous threat from persistent pollutants.  Photograph: Isabel Baker/Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation

Man-made pollution is affecting the ability of marine mammals such as killer whales and dolphins to breed and may lead to the extinction of some speci(...)

Some students entered courses with misplaced conceptions about the content and found the course either too difficult or that they had little interest in the subject matter. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

One in six students in higher education is not progressing past the first year of the course, new figures show.This adds up to some 6,500 students a (...)

Starry starry night: Dark Sky Ireland finds  more value in an unpolluted night than in filling B&Bs with star-struck winter hobbyists. Illustration: Michael Viney

A couple of winters after moving to Mayo I reported Venus to the Garda Síochána. There she was, on a starry February night, lying right on the sea’s h(...)

 Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Plans to merge institutes of technology into new technological universities are likely to cost well more than €45 million, new figures show. The mov(...)

The chimneys were formed as a side effect of chemosynthetic microorganisms over thousands of years of activity.

Deep-sea organisms living without sunlight and feeding off toxic “mud volcanoes” have been discovered by a team of Irish and international scientis(...)