Further €6.8m funding allocation to support Technological University development and other higher education landscape restructuring

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister of State for Education,
Joseph Ryan, THEA.
Iain White – Fennell Photography.

Following on from the announcement made on 17 July at an event held at the Grangegorman campus of Dublin Institute of Technology in the presence of An Taoiseach, of a significant 2018 funding allocation of €4.4 million to the three Dublin based Institutes of Technology – Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown and Institute of Technology, Tallaght – who are seeking designation as the State’s first technological university, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., today ( September 2018) announced the allocation of a further €6.8 million in funding in support of the ongoing restructuring of the higher education landscape this year.

Including the earlier Grangegorman announcement, this brings funding allocations in 2018 to a total to €9.2m alone for the ongoing development of the four Institute of Technology consortia seeking to progress to designation as technological universities. Further funding of €2m is being allocated to two key higher education restructuring projects in the west and south in the area of initial teacher education.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said, “There has been a sea-change in the landscape of Irish higher education with the signing into law of the Technological Universities Act 2018 this March, followed by Minister Bruton’s granting of the application by Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown and Institute of Technology, Tallaght seeking to be designated as the first technological university under the Act. We announced in July that €4.4m of 2018 funding is being allocated to the Dublin consortium and there are some procedural matters we are still working on, including the approval of an order setting the appointed day for the establishment of the new technological university by the Oireachtas, before the new university can open its doors in early January 2019”.

She went on to say, “In total we are announcing €11.2 million in funding this year to date which will support six significant restructuring projects on the higher education landscape. These projects will build national capacity including in the vital area of research, enhance inter-institutional co-operation to improve teaching and learning and further strengthen the pipeline of skills supply and the interface between higher education and industry which are so important to Ireland’s continued economic recovery”.

“In relation to the technological university development projects, this is another tranche of significant Exchequer funding and follows on from the €10 million provided by Government to consortia to date. It will bring the total to over €19 million and now we are within touching distance of the first technological university in the State becoming a reality for students, staff and the wider community interests and civic society of the Dublin region. Those students who are now in their final year at DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght will, upon graduation, receive university qualifications, making them a unique cohort in the history of the State and part of what is destined become the single largest Higher Education Institution in the State”.

The 2018 funding will also assist three other consortia which are progressing their development proposals, with further applications for TU designation being anticipated later this year.

• The Technological University for the South East consortium (TUSE), comprising the Waterford and Carlow Institutes of Technology, is seeking to deliver the first university in the south-east region and is aiming to make an application for designation to TU status later in 2018.

• The Munster Technological University (MTU) consortium is seeking to ensure the Cork and Tralee Institutes of Technology combine to become a major regional development hub and catalyst in the south and south-west. MTU is also endeavouring to make an application for designation to TU status during 2018.

• The Connacht Ulster Alliance consortium representing Institutes of Technology in the west and north-west, aims to meet the relevant eligibility criteria required to make an application for technological university designation in 2020.

In addition to the four Technological University development consortia, two further landscape restructuring projects were allocated a total of €2m in funding. Both these projects reside in the Initial Teacher Education area. Funding is being allocated to facilitate the completion of the ongoing incorporation process of St. Angela’s College, Sligo with the National University of Ireland Galway. Funding is also being allocated to the enhanced partnership between University Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College to develop and deliver a Joint Bachelor of Arts programme and collaborate on pedagogy planning and resource development to enhance the quality of teacher education provision through the National Institute for Studies in Education.

Three further landscape restructuring submissions for funding were received from Athlone IT, Dundalk IT, Letterkenny IT and Limerick IT. These submissions are currently under consideration by the Department and announcements will be made in relation to the further funding allocation of €0.8m shortly.

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