Connacht-Ulster Alliance gets go-ahead to work towards becoming a Technological University

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 Press Office
Press Release

Presidents of GMIT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT welcome decision of the Minister for Education & Skills

The Connacht-Ulster Alliance [CUA] has been granted approval by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., to proceed to the next stage of the process of building a Technological University for the West/North-West of Ireland.

The Minister today congratulated the consortium on its success in reaching Stage 2 of the process for Technological University designation and wishes the CUA the best in its future endeavours in the process.

In March 2015, in accordance with the stated ambition of the Governing Bodies of the three Institutes, the CUA submitted a formal Expression of Interest to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for consideration by the Authority. The Minister’s decision today has been informed by the advice of the HEA board.
Stage 2 of the process involves the preparation of a plan to meet the criteria, Stage 3 is an evaluation of this plan by an external panel and Stage 4 is the application to become a Technological University.

It is the firm ambition of the CUA, established in 2012 and comprising Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology, Sligo, to build a Technological University that will stimulate and support the development of the region and best serve its future needs. The decision today of the Minister provides approval at national level for the CUA to pursue this goal.

The CUA believes that the proposed regionally-based multi-campus Technological University will be a strong institution with the capacity to stimulate economic growth across the most geographically dispersed region in the country:

(i) by enhancing the provision of higher education to students;
(ii) by providing flexible delivery of education;
(iii) through collaborative research, development and innovation activities with the objective of growing local enterprises and building stronger communities;
(iv) by fostering business networks and developmental clusters, and
(v) by enhancing the ability of the region to attract inward investment.

A strong diverse Technological University with a focus on regional enterprise and innovation will have a positive impact on the attractiveness of the region as a location for new companies to innovate and grow. Companies requiring highly skilled innovative workers typically locate close to a university, particularly one which has active links with industry.

The three Institutes have been working closely together with the aim of building a Technological University since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2012. A strong working relationship and level of trust exists between the three partners as the Presidents, the Registrars, Senior Coordinators and many staff who have already worked together in advancing this project. Support for this initiative is strongly endorsed by the Students’ Unions of the three Institutes.

“We have been working closely together to lay the foundations for this project and we are delighted with this recent approval from the Minister. We are committed to working together for the greater good of the region and to building a Technological University that will provide enhanced services to students and will make a strong contribution to the further development of our region” said the Presidents of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance Steering Group.

The Presidents went on to say that, “The Technological University for the West/North-West will have a focus on building a vibrant, attractive and sustainable economic, social and cultural environment which will generate and retain graduate talent capable of growing the economic base in our region and providing a better society for all.”

Following from the stated ambition of the Governing Bodies of the three Institutes to achieving Technological University designation, the Presidents of the Alliance are committed to leading the achievement of a Technological University for the Region.