The government has today announced €14.25 million of new funding for higher education, primarily to go towards new technological universities.
€11.8 million of the new fund is to go towards technological universities with TU Dublin, Ireland’s first fully established technological university receiving €3.8 million, a portion of which will go towards promotion of cross-border third level level projects. TU Dublin is now Ireland’s largest higher education institution, with over 28,000 students.
Four other consortiums, each made up of institutions that wish in the future to merge into new technological universities have also received funding. It is the first time newly proposed consortium of Athlone IT and Limerick IT have been allocated funding. The two institutions announced their intentions for a merger earlier this week.
Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh said that “this funding package will be significant for these third level institutions to develop and align courses, push on into the field of research and ultimately progress to technological university status”.
The additional €2.45 million in the fund is aimed at collaboration projects in line with objectives of Project Ireland 2040 and the initial teacher Education policy.
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor stated: “With these landscape allocations government will to date have provided some €38 million in Exchequer co-funding to those institutes of technology seeking to develop proposals leading to designation as technological universities and to other important higher education landscape projects in furtherance of national strategic priorities.”
She added that “TU development and cross-border strategic alliance building, will help us respond to diverse regional and sectoral issues and impacts, including the challenge Brexit presents to us”. The minister described the emergence of new technological universities as “the single most important development in the higher education landscape of recent years and a very significant element of the national research agenda”.
Mitchell O’Connor also welcomed the announcement from Athlone IT and Limerick IT of their intentions to merge. She stated that the “merging of their respective strengths and attributes will be transformative for the Midlands and Midwest regions, for their communities, regional economies and will provide new and exciting pathways to higher education for students”.