A formal application has been sent to the Minister of Education by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee) to request permission for the two institutions to merge and form the country’s second technological university.
The application comes two weeks after a large majority of members of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) at both institutions voted in favour of the merger. 80% of TUI members at CIT and 68% of members at IT Tralee voted in favour of coming together to form the new university.
This vote of confidence in the merger came despite an independent report commissioned by the Higher Education Authority into IT Tralee which found the college to be overstaffed and expressed concern about a growing deficit, which CIT would likely absorb in the process of a merger.
The application from the two institutions will now be considered by an independent advisory panel, which will carry out out an evaluation including visits to the campuses of each college, before reporting a recommendation to the Minister of Education. This process is expected to be completed by July in order to allow the institutions to open in the next academic year under new branding as Munster Technological University (MTU), if the application is successful.
IT Tralee President Dr Oliver Murphy expressed hope that MTU might “serve as a catalyst for the future development of the region.” Murphy suggested that MTU would “be a centre of excellence in education, research and engagement” and that “supporting entrepreneurial activity will be central to the MTU mission”.
Similarly, CIT President Dr Barry O’Connor explained: “Our submission envisions a technological university with a national and international profile, providing profession-focused programmes of education and training, along with leading edge multi disciplinary research together with national and international partners.”
Earlier this year, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) became Ireland’s first technological university with the amalgamation of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) and Institute of Technology Tallaght (IT Tallaght).