Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, will announce his decision on the Technological University for Dublin Alliance (TU4Dublin) application to become Ireland’s first Technological University by the end of this month.
Bruton, alongside Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has welcomed the application from TU4Dublin to become a Technological University. If the application is approved, TU4 Dublin will become the first Technological University in Ireland.
Bruton commended TU4Dublin for reaching its current stage in the application process, explaining that “Technological Universities are a crucial part of this government’s drive to build strong regional hubs, which will be the engine of our economy.”
“I welcome this application, as a key stage in the process and I will now consider the submission,” continued Bruton. “It is my intention to communicate my proposed decision to TU4Dublin by the end of July.”
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) produced a report and recommendation for TU4Dublin to seek designation as a Technological University. Ministers Bruton and Mitchell O’Connor announced they have received and welcomed the report and recommendation alongside TU4Dublin’s application.
Mitchell O’ Connor explained that the application “represents a significant milestone for TU4Dublin and all those involved, whose extensive work and commitment over the last few years has brought the project to this point”.
TU4Dublin is an amalgamation of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) and Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT). TU4Dublin’s objective is to combine the three institutions’ “ideas and resources to create an incomparable institution of higher learning for the Greater Dublin Region, offering wide-ranging opportunities to learners and collaborating with civic, academic and industry partners”.
By establishing Technological Universities, the government hopes to drive regional economic growth and development. They are part of the government’s plan to make Ireland the best education and training provider in Europe by 2026.
Bruton will consider several factors when making a decision on TU4Dublin’s application, including whether students’ needs will be more effectively met by the proposed technological university and if the university would be financially viable.
Currently, there are three more consortia of Institutes of Technology seeking to become technological universities alongside TU4Dublin. Each consortium is at a different stage in the developmental process, with TU4Dublin being the first to submit an official application.
The Munster Technological University (MTU) comprises of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee). The Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA) includes Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Institute of Technology Sligo (IT Sligo) and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). Finally, the Technological University for the South-East (TUSE) comprises Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow).
€10 million in Exchequer funding was provided to the four consortia between 2013 and 2017, with TU4Dublin receiving nearly €5 million. The Department of Education and Skills estimates that €8 million will be allocated to the development of Technological Universities and other landscape higher education restructuring projects in 2019 and 2020.