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GMIT welcomes announcement of €200m investment in Institutes of Technology including GMIT

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Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Monday, October 16, 2017

The President of GMIT, Dr Fergal Barry, and the Chief Executive of the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), Dr Joseph Ryan, welcome the announcement today (16 October) of a major capital investment in higher education.

The announcement, made jointly by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, promises funding for 11 major capital investment projects including GMIT which will deliver brand new state of the art facilities to Institutes of Technology across the country.

GMIT has proposed the construction of a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) building, which will include labs, multi-purpose rooms, lab support rooms, seminar rooms and classrooms. The proposed building is to be located at the existing Galway city campus.

GMIT President, Dr Fergal Barry, says: “This €25m development will allow for 20% growth in the number of registered students studying STEM related disciplines at GMIT over the next five to ten years. It is a key enabling element of GMIT’s €100m master plan for our five campuses.”

“GMIT welcomes the decisive and visionary investment in the Higher Education sector by the Department of Education & Skills and the Higher Education Authority. GMIT would like to acknowledge the support of the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, as well as An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, Minister Denis Naughten, TD, Minister Sean Kyne, TD, and Deputy Sean Canney with whom this proposal was discussed during their recent visits to GMIT.”

Welcoming the announcement, Gerard MacMichael, Head of the GMIT School of Engineering, says: “The new STEM building will enable GMIT to invest in new technologies resonant with the needs of our science, engineering and technology graduates for future employability in the region and beyond. This announcement today strengthens GMIT's contribution to the region's industrial innovation and competitiveness at a time when STEM skill shortages are increasing.”

Dr Des Foley, Head of the GMIT School of Science & Computing, says: “We have seen unprecedented growth in science and technology programmes over the past ten years. This new building will give us the opportunity to provide an exceptional service and experience to our students and give our staff the facilities to match their excellent teaching expertise.  It is a crucial part of infrastructure for the region.”

David Lee, Manager: Buildings & Estates Dept, GMIT, says: “I am delighted with this announcement of funding approval for GMIT's proposed STEM building which will be located on the east side of the Galway campus and, we expect, will extend to some 5,500sqm, facing the Ballybane Road. We are looking forward to further collaborating with our colleagues in the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the Department of Education & Skills (DES) and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) in designing and constructing a state of the art STEM facility to deliver third level STEM education to generations of GMIT students.”

Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO of THEA, says; “We are delighted to acknowledge this, the first major capital investment in the technological sector in ten years. The Institutes of Technology sector has consistently out-performed itself despite core funding per student dropping by 22% in the seven-year period to 2015. Government has committed to address the current spending challenge and that work is underway; this complementary injection of capital funding into our Institutes of Technology will greatly enhance the student experience and will support the delivery of highest class education and training throughout the technological sector. This technological sector has been central to regional and national economic development in ensuring an ongoing stream of employment-ready graduates, and in supporting innovation and product development through impact-focussed research. It is work that is catalytic for each region and community and it is key to delivering on the current suite of Government policy that is designed to sustain our economic recovery.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, stated:“I have set the ambition to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. State of the art facilities are key to realizing this ambition. These projects will be delivered in every province, in locations extending from Letterkenny to Waterford, and from Galway to Dublin. The delivery of these projects, together with the additional €257m over three years capital funding which we secured last week in the Budget, mark a turning point for State investment in the higher education sector. They demonstrate the commitment of the Government to supporting the sector in catering for demographic growth, responding to skills needs in the economy and improving the campus environment for students and staff.”

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, TD, stated “Institutes of Technology have been disproportionately affected by the fall-off in capital investment in higher education over the past decade. And yet they have still shown a level of flexibility and innovation that rivals any other sector. In recent times the infrastructure hasn’t evolved or improved quickly enough to match their dynamism.”

“We’re starting the process of changing that today. Many of our Institutes are working towards the attainment of Technological University status and the new infrastructure will support them in that aim. The move towards Technological Universities is a game changer for the sector. It’s a significant, welcome structural change. And is an example of the kind of vision and big thinking we need to progress our society.”

3D image of the proposed STEM building at GMIT Galway

3D image of the proposed STEM buidling at GMIT Galway

3D image of the proposed STEM building at GMIT Galway