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

The Presidents of Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA) at IT Sligo, GMIT and Letterkenny IT, welcome the allocation of €2 million funding announced by Minister for Education Joe McHugh TD and the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, towards the development of a Technological University in the West and North-West region.

This is part of a €14m fund allocated under the Higher Education Authority 2019 call for submissions for higher education landscape restructuring, consolidation and collaborative projects.

In a joint statement by the Presidents of the three Institutes that constitute the CUA said:

“We very much welcome this announcement by our Minister today.  Collectively we continue to make significant progress towards achieving the criteria necessary to be designated as a TU and aim to submit an application in the course of the 2020/21 academic year. A governance, management and organisation framework for the new TU is in place, numerous collaborative projects are progressing across the alliance and we are in the process of establishing a union consultative forum that will assist with staff consultation and communication across each of our eight campuses. We look forward to meeting Ministers McHugh and Mitchell O’Connor in the coming weeks and will use the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to realise a TU for our region. ”

The allocated funding will be used to target research initiatives in addition to supporting the CUA Project Office. To-date the CUA has received close to €6M and this year’s allocation is an increase on the €1.8M received last year.

A further €500,000 was allocated to Letterkenny IT as part of the CUA’s commitment to deepening links with the University of Ulster and North West College post Brexit.

Minister McHugh added: “I will be bringing the leadership of LYIT, GMIT and IT Sligo together to see how we can further support their ambitions as the Connacht Ulster Alliance towards creating a technological university a reality. I am also pleased to see the ongoing efforts to strengthen cross-border higher and further education and training links in the North West.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor explained, “The emergence of the Technological University sector is the single most important development in the higher education landscape of recent years and a very significant element of the national research agenda.”

The funding allocations will be disbursed by the Higher Education Authority subject to requisite conditionality on a case by case project basis and will be subject to ongoing monitoring, reporting and evaluation by the Authority in line with stipulated timelines and milestones.

IT Sligo’s TU Project Manager Ann Higgins said: ‘This announcement comes at a time when IT Sligo has made significant progress in achieving the TU metrics and continues to advance with confidence towards achieving TU designation with our CUA partners ‘

The announcement was also welcomed by CUA Project Manager Perry Share:

“The HEA funding has been very important in supporting the transformational process across the CUA. This year’s increased funding will allow us to build on the significant investment in development that has been made by all of the CUA partners since the TU process started a number of years ago.”

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