IoTs in BMW region in talks on Technological University
The five institutes of technology in the Border, Midlands and West (BMW) region are at an advanced stage in discussions regarding the establishment of a technological university.
Given Government approval, a Border Midlands West Technological University (BMW TU) would create the largest higher education institution in the state with 27,000 students.
A steering group comprising the presidents and senior staff of Athlone Institute of Technology, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and Institute of Technology, Sligo, is directing the negotiations.
AIT President, Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin, said: “We are looking to create a differentiated institution, one that will be known for the excellence of its teaching and learning, and for its close collaboration with industry. Such a technological university will be much more than the sum of its parts, it will be a powerful agent of change in higher education for all the communities and stakeholders involved.”
Michael Carmody, President of GMIT, said: “A BMW TU will be much more attractive to students since it may involve joint programmes between campuses, thereby achieving a deeper level of engagement with local businesses. There is also the possibility of greater levels of specialisation within programmes, giving students a broader range of options. A key part of our current discussions is about creating a coherent framework of programme provision across the five institutions.”
“The innovative use of technology will underpin the success of a BMW Technological University,” said IT Sligo President, Prof. Terri Scott. “We will continue to advance innovations in online learning to meet changing industry needs, to maximise opportunities in the international market and to facilitate learning and up skilling for learners of all ages.”
“How a BMW TU will best serve the needs of this region is at the heart of our discussions,” said DkIT President, Denis Cummins. “Research and innovation that supports indigenous and multinational industry will be central to its operation, which will be a catalyst for job creation. This will build on our substantial track record of supporting enterprise.”
Criteria for the technological universities are due to be published in February. According to LyIT President, Paul Hannigan, the steering group will “assess the status of the five institutes in relation to these agreed criteria, and identify areas where actions are required to meet them, including the implications of different models of collaboration.”
The steering group has committed to ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are aware of developments on an ongoing basis and is drawing up a plan for consultation with relevant parties as appropriate.
The BMW IoTs have a long history of collaboration through the Líonra network, which also includes NUI Galway and St Angela’s College. Líonra was established in 1999 to act as a catalyst for innovation and knowledge-based economic renewal in the BMW region.