Ireland’s newest technological university will be called Atlantic Technological University (ATU), as announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris.
Galway-Mayo IT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT are to form the first technological university in the west and north west region, and the fourth TU in Ireland. The institutes of technology pursued TU status under the name Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA) before their official naming.
According to a press release from the CUA, the name Atlantic was chosen due to the “distinctive geography, rich history and shared heritage” it conveys.
“This is a hugely ambitious name for a TU with an international reach without borders on the edge of Europe, spanning thousands of kilometres of coastline including the Wild Atlantic Way, a gateway to the rest of the world.”
The name was chosen following consultation with over 3000 staff, students and stakeholders across the region and nationally. Stakeholders involved included public bodies, government agencies, alumni and schools’ guidance counsellors.
ATU will be officially established on 1 April 2022, and will be located across eight campuses stretching from North Donegal to South Galway. Graduates of the class of 2021/2022 will be the first from the former institutes to graduate with university degrees.
The three CUA presidents expressed their support for the new name and their plans to cultivate creativity and innovation in the west and north west region. They stated that the name appropriately reflects the new TU’s “deep connections to the region and our ability and ambition to impact at a national and international scale”.
“Our university will significantly contribute to the transformation of the educational landscape of this region, driving innovation, research and development and propelling the region on to an international stage.”
The plan to establish more technological universities in Ireland was first declared in the 2011 National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, and was consolidated in the Technological Universities Act 2018.
Technological University Dublin was formed in 2019 from several ITs across the counties, while Cork IT merged with IT Tralee to form Munster Technological University in January 2021. Athlone IT and Limerick IT established the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest in October 2021.
Minister Harris has also announced plans to approve the merging of IT Carlow and Waterford IT in the south east. Applications for TU status have also been put forward by Dundalk IT, and Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) Dun Laoghaire.