The Minister for Education has granted €300m for the latest phase of a programme designed to stimulate cutting-edge research in third level institutions.

Announcing details of cycle five of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutes, Batt O'Keeffe said the level of funding signalled the Government's determination to continue 'to prioritise investment in developing a knowledge economy'.

The funding will be targeted at developing buildings and other infrastructure for research.

A special focus will be placed on the development of facilities to be shared by third level bodies and geared towards research in areas of national strategic importance such as health and pharmaceutical research.

The funding also aims to stimulate research in new and emerging areas such as plant or crop bioscience.

The country's higher level institutions are now expected to submit proposals to be considered for funding.

The Minister said this latest round of PRTLI funding would provide the infrastructure to deliver the Government’s economic development objectives.