IT Sligo warmly welcomes progress on the designation of the Technological University for Dublin, announced by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD and Ministers/Ministers of State for Education, Higher Education, and Finance and Public Expenditure at the Dublin IT Grangegorman campus on Tuesday17th July. IT Sligo is part of the Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA) which comprises Galway Mayo, Letterkenny and Sligo Institutes of Technology.
The announcement is an historic occasion for Irish education and for the technological higher education sector in particular. It is the logical next step in development of the sector that has proven crucial in Ireland’s economic, civic and regional development, and has massively expanded opportunity and access to higher education, placing Ireland as having one of the highest participation rates in the world. It places the country on an excellent footing to meet the fundamental economic, social and environmental challenges of the decades ahead.
The Government has strongly endorsed the development of Technological Universities in its National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040. The Plan says that TUs will ‘deepen the talent pool for distinctive regional sectoral clusters and drive applied research and innovation’. This is of particular importance for the West/North West, which has historically lagged the rest of the country in terms of key aspects of economic development. The Taoiseach stressed the importance of the CUA and the TU for the West/North at the national launch of Project Ireland 2040 at IT Sligo on 16 February 2018.
The CUA Chair, Martin Cronin, the Steering Group and the various CUA Working Groups have been paying close attention to the passage of the TU Act and the process of the Dublin consortium. They have been actively planning the CUA’s development towards application for designation as a Technological University with an indicative submission date of late 2019/early 2020.
To date the HEA has allocated €2.12m to the development of the CUA. The institutes have also committed matched funding (of staff time and other expenditure) of approximately €4m. The CUA anticipates further funding through the latest round that will support developmental work to meet the criteria to become a TU, in particular to further enhance staff qualifications, support expanded research activities and develop innovative work-based masters and doctoral research programmes.
IT Sligo is exploring how it can work with its CUA partners in areas such as research, governance, integration of IT services and academic planning. This will involve extensive consultation with internal and external stakeholders, such as students and staff, companies, representative bodies of business and community, and professional bodies. The CUA is also an active member of the World Technological Universities Network (WTUN), a global association founded in 2016 with the purpose of supporting international best practice and collaboration across the world.