Funding will assist work of IT Sligo, GMIT and Letterkenny IT in achieving TU status

The Presidents of IT Sligo, GMIT and Letterkenny IT (Connacht-Ulster Alliance) welcome the announcement today (9 October 2019) by the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, of an increase of over €153 million for tertiary education including a multi-annual fund of €90 million to assist the development and progression of Technological Universities. The Connacht-Ulster Alliance consortium is working together towards becoming a Technological University serving the west and north-west.

President of IT Sligo, Dr Brendan McCormack says: “We very much welcome the announcement by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Conner today in what is a clear commitment by the Government to deliver a Technological University for the region and is a huge boost to regional development.  The funds will enable the partner institutes to speed up preparations in becoming a Technological University that will significantly enhance the tertiary educational landscape both locally and nationally.  This is not just a change of name for the Institutes but a chance to deliver the highest standards in third level education and world class research.”

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, stated the funding will provide greater choice and opportunity to students, meet future skills needs, support student well-being and promote excellence in research: “I am delighted to announce this additional package in tertiary education. The sector needs this level of funding so as to be in a prime position to address digital skills needs, to focus on upskilling, reskilling and lifelong learning.”

“2020 will see the launch of a major multi-annual transformation fund of €90m for Technological Universities. This fund will assist TUs in delivering significant inputs to national strategic priorities in relation to higher education access, research-informed teaching and learning excellence. It will also assist increased regional development and socio-economic progress through TUs connectedness to their regions, and their collaboration, deeply embedded and fostered over many decades, with business, enterprise and local communities.”

“Having piloted the TU legislation to a successful conclusion last year and witnessed the establishment of the State’s first TU in Technological University Dublin at the start of 2019, I consider this to be another pivotal moment in the development both of the existing TU and a number of other consortia endeavouring to attain TU status”.

The overall funding for tertiary education will provide –

  • For the launch of the Human Capital Initiative with €60 million in 2020
  • €18 million to address demographic pressures, accommodating an additional 2,700 places in 2020
  • A multi-annual fund of €90 million to assist the development and progression of Technological Universities
  • Funding of €3.3 million to promote excellence in research
  • Funding of €2 million for student mental health and wellbeing initiatives in the higher education sector

Galway-Mayo IT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT are working towards becoming a Technological University for the west and northwest of Ireland.

Dr Joseph Ryan, Chief Executive of THEA, the representative body of Institutes of Technology, stated: “At a time of acknowledged pressure on the public finances in the face of an uncertain Brexit, this  €153 million increase in funding for Tertiary Education represents a significant vote of confidence in the catalytic power of higher education to protect and enhance our national interests.  This multi-stranded injection will assist higher education to meet the ambitious expectations of it contained in national policy framed under Project Ireland 2040”.

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