Today, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Research Simon Harris confirmed the establishment of Technological University (TU) of the Shannon: Midlands and Midwest from October 1.
This will be the country’s third Technological University, following the establishment of Technology University of Dublin and Munster Technological University. These universities opened in January 2019 and January 2021 respectively.
Harris also signed an order dissolving Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology as of 1 October 2021.
As the new TU will be established from October 1, any students graduating from next year will do so with university qualifications.
Speaking on the announcement today, Harris highlighted the importance of the new TU saying “this is a really significant day in the reform and step change development of our higher education sector and an important milestone for the people of the Midlands and Midwest”.
Harris believes the new TU will “drive regional development and socio-economic progression” and “will facilitate local and regional higher education access and course choice with university level qualifications for students in their own areas”.
He also hopes the university will offer benefits in “attracting enterprise, skills retention and creation and increased direct investment” in the region.
Speaking on the announcement today, Minister of State Niall Collins said that “this is a transformational event for the people of the Midwest and the Midlands”.
“This will allow people across the Midwest and the Midlands and beyond to obtain a university degree in their home places” he continued.
Harris has previously stated his vision for a “network of TUs” around the country to serve as “key drivers of a wide range of national strategic policy objectives relating to higher education access, skills retention and creation, research capacity building and research led teaching and learning excellence, regional development and socio-economic progress”.
In the future, the Institutes of Technology in Galway-Mayo, Sligo, and Letterkenny are also expected to apply for TU status, in line with the Connacht Ulster Alliance, and the Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology are expected to apply for status to serve the Southeast.