GMIT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT form new Connacht-Ulster Alliance

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

An Taoiseach attends formal signing of agreement in GMIT Castlebar

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and Institute of Technology, Sligo (IT Sligo) have formed a new strategic partnership, the Connacht-Ulster Alliance, with the aim of achieving Technological University status.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, attended the formal signing of the agreement by the Chairs of the three Institutes' Governing Bodies and their Presidents at GMIT Castlebar this afternoon.

All three Institutes will work together on areas such as flexible learning delivery, research and innovation, bespoke delivery for industry, links to local Education and Training Boards, international student recruitment and staff development in order to meet the rigorous criteria required to achieve re-designation as a Technological University.

The three Institutes currently have a combined population of just over 16,000 students and offer a wide range of programmes from Level 6 to 10 of the National Framework of Qualifications. The new alliance focuses on delivering wider educational opportunities in addition to enhancing the economic and social development of the Connacht-Ulster region. The alliance will form part of a cluster of higher and further education providers in the region and include collaborations with cross-border institutions.

Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: "I am delighted to be here to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding cementing the Connacht-Ulster Alliance between these three higher education institutions. The building of such partnerships is the key to the delivery of many of the most important objectives of the National Strategy for Higher Education. This partnership will allow networks to be built between individual institutions through shared undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It will also facilitate the greater connection across borders to raise Ireland's international profile."

"I cannot overstate the importance of the benefits that institutes of technology have brought to their communities. I know that this alliance will reflect the needs of students, enterprise and the wider community in the Connacht-Ulster region."

The three Presidents, Michael Carmody (GMIT), Paul Hannigan (LYIT) and Professor Terri Scott (IT Sligo), said the agreement is an exciting development for the region and they look forward to working together towards achieving re-designation with Technology University status, which will benefit future students and the Connacht Ulster region as a whole.

Specific areas for collaboration between the three HE institutes include:

  • Enhanced flexible learning delivery, including online and blended delivery, to provide greater access to programmes and specialist knowledge to those in full-time and part-time work. This will include a focus on bespoke deliver to meet the needs of industry.
  • Greater collaboration on joint applied research, development and innovation activities between the three Institutes and other universities and institutes under a new common Research, Development and Innovation Strategy.
  • Working with the new Local Education and Training Boards to provide enhanced access, transfer and progression opportunities from further to higher education.
  • A common International Strategy for the Connacht Ulster region to drive international student recruitment.