LIMERICK Institute of Technology along with their counterparts in Cork and Tralee are seeking to form a technological university which could house 24,000 students.
LIT, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee), are seeking to create a Munster Technological University (MTU), which would form the largest higher education institution in the region and bring Limerick’s tally of universities to two.
The trio say the new university would provide “world class education and research, and support the development of enterprise across the region”.
The institutes have been working toward the proposal to form the MTU since January in consultation with international experts who have experience in establishing and managing multi-campus universities and believe they will “meet the criteria for (the award of) technological university status”.
However, this application process is expected to be rigorous and has been sent for approval by the Higher Education Authority to Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn. It is thought the entire process could take up to two years.
In a statement the institutions said they intend to seek the designation “at the earliest opportunity”.
Maria Hinfelaar, president of LIT, said that the institution already had a “track record of collaboration” with both Tralee, through the Shannon Consortium - which includes the University of Limerick - and CIT, with whom it already has a number of research projects in train.
Ms Hinfelaar also noted that the “Munster region quite naturally sticks together as a region and it also is a brand name that is clearly very strong”.
The trio hope that the development of MTU would lead to campuses in Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary, with an enrolment of over 24,000 students and some 2,000 staff.
“The new University will be able to make a major contribution nationally and its activities will assist in economic growth, innovation and job creation,” they said.
There are three other joint applications around the country seeking similar technological university status.