CUA consortium welcomes €90m allocation to support TU development
Funding will assist work of IT Sligo, GMIT and Letterkenny IT in achieving TU status
Date Article Written:
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
The Presidents of GMIT, IT Sligo 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.
Dr Michael Hannon, Acting President of GMIT, speaking on behalf of Dr Brendan McCormack, President of IT Sligo and Mr Paul Hannigan, President of Letterkenny IT, says: “This is an important funding announcement that will assist GMIT and its CUA partners in realising its ambition of becoming a Technological University. I would like to acknowledge the leadership shown by the Minister and her officials in supporting this national strategic objective. A key principle underpinning the establishment of TUs is connectedness and collaboration with their region. This collaboration has been evident for some time across the higher education technological sector and more recently in the development of the Technological University Research Network (TURN) report that provided the evidence base for this €90M investment.”
“From a GMIT perspective, our new strategic plan, launched by the Minister earlier this year, fully supports the institute’s ambition to be designated as a TU. Fundamental to becoming a TU is the impact of digitalization to enhance the student experience in a multi-campus environment. The CUA partners are collaborating on a separate €3m iNOTE project to roll out digitalisation across the west and north west region. Recently GMIT approved its own Digital Transformation Framework, the impact of which will be experienced by students this academic year.”
“Collaboration across the CUA has recently resulted in the CUA being awarded significant funding to extend the delivery of the successful Empower programme to all CUA partners. EMPOWER is a programme to support women entrepreneurs and GMIT welcomes this additional funding as a support to addressing gender equity, a key government priority. These examples demonstrate the impact of collaborating with equal partners and give a glimpse to the future when we are fully designated as a TU.”
Dr Joseph Ryan, Chief Executive of THEA 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”.
Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor says: “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 endeavoring 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.