The Charter is facilitated by the Irish Universities Association

Seven Irish Universities, including UCC and DCU, have launched a joint campaign to make the Irish education system the best in Europe by 2026.

The Charter for Irish Universities has identified six key objectives to achieve its goal, which include, improving digital experience, investment in research and innovation and increasing state investment.

The Charter - which is the first of its kind in third level education history - has been facilitated by the Irish Universities Association.

However, Director General, Jim Miley says they won't achieve anything without more state funding: 'We've seen drops in rankings and there's a real risk if we don't invest in our higher education and university system that those rankings will fall further. We know that state funding per student in universities is only half of what it was a decade ago. We know that that has to increase.'

The Charter sets out six core commitments by the 7 universities (Dublin City University, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick) which will work in partnership with government and other stakeholders, to fully deliver.

They are:

1 Build on the quality of the student experience in a digital age.

2 Increase the scale, scope and impact of investment in research and innovation

3 Expand student access and increase engagement with communities and industry.

4 Support a programme of staff development and increased equality and diversity.

5 Create more flexible and accountable structures.

6 Secure the investment and resources to achieve our ambitions.