President of LIT, Vincent Cunnane said the new Technological University 'will cross regions and transcend geography'
LIMERICK is on course to become a county and city with two universities as early as next September.
It follows confirmation that the consortium involving Limerick Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology has formally submitted its Technological University application to Government.
The new Technological University for the Mid-West and Midlands is expected to comprise a student population of up to 15,000 and a staff complement of approximately 1,200 people across six campuses – two in Limerick, with one also in Athlone, Clonmel, Ennis, and Thurles.
An economic impact study commissioned by the consortium has found that the combined impact of the two institutions on the Irish economy is close to €420million in economic output, while they support more than 800 jobs in addition to their own staff complement.
The AIT-LIT consortium – which formally commenced in October of 2019 – has targeted a date of September 1 next year for the new university to open, and is this Monday embarking on a broad consultation process to name the new Technological University.
President of LIT, Professor Vincent Cunnane said they are on a pathway to deliver a unique new Technological University that will cross regions and transcend geography.
"While this will be an institution of scale, it will retain the familiarity of local campuses across two significant regions. This enables us to act as a regional development powerhouse into the future, delivering education and research that will benefit students, educators, communities, business and industry in a strategic way," he said.
"Our approach is based on partnership and consensus, and is indeed underpinned by consultation with staff, students and other stakeholders. The consortium has a strong set of shared values and a shared ethic that provides a firm foundation to deliver on our future strategy," added Professor Cunnane.
Welcoming the progression of the initiative, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins said: "This is very positive news and is a significant step forward for Limerick, the Mid-West, Midlands and for the Technological University agenda in Ireland. It is a project I fully support and endorse."
He continued: "The creation of a Technological University incorporating LIT will greatly add to the educational offering here in Limerick and the Mid-West. When the Technological University status is achieved Limerick and the Mid West as a region will have a significant competitive advantage.”
Minister Collins said he and Minister Simon Harris will meet this Monday with the Presidents of AIT and LIT to discuss the application and thank them for the work in bringing us to this point.
"I am also pleased to confirm the staff of both institutions have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Technological University.
"On October 7, we announced the first tranche of funding under a new Transformation Fund overseen and administered by the Higher Education Authority to assist the creation and development of technological universities. The Limerick and Athlone Institutes of Technology consortium was allocated €5 million under this tranche, bringing to €7 million in total the Exchequer funding provided to date to progress their proposals. Government has committed to providing total Exchequer funding of €90 million under the Fund in the period to 2023," said Minister Collins.
Professor Tom Collins, AIT-LIT TU Consortium Project Facilitator congratulated the “management, staff and students of both institutes, who in a short time and through all the challenges of the current year, have re-imagined the future of the two institutions around a compelling vision for a new Technological University in the Irish Midlands and Mid-West.”
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