University of Limerick to broaden horizons with new strategy

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

Minister for Education and Skills, Jan OSullivan, TD and UL president Prof Don Barry today launched Broadening Horizons', the Universitys new Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2019. Picture: Alan Place/Fusionshooters
THE University of Limerick has launched a five-year strategy that aims to make a “significant impact” on research and education on a global level.

THE University of Limerick has launched a five-year strategy that aims to make a “significant impact” on research and education on a global level.

The Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan, Chancellor of the University of Limerick, the Hon. Justice John Murray and UL president Don Barry launched the Broadening Horizons strategy this Friday morning, also highlighting the university’s success in raising €130m in funding for its industry research partnerships.

The 2015-2019 strategy outlines UL’s aim to have 30% of its student body made up of postgraduate and doctoral students by 2019; to enhance its city centre presence and the development of the Glucksman Library through its €224m capital development plan; and to increase the number of students studying abroad.

It also aims to extend its outreach to campuses around the world, adding to the list of more than 400 institutions in 38 countries worldwide.

President Don Barry said that one of the main aims of the strategy is for the people at the university to “bring the UL story to the world”.

“I think that it’s a very ambitious and challenging plan,” he said. “It has three themes. One of them is building on our achievements as a university. The second one is about accentuating our distinctiveness, especially in terms of graduate employability, the student experience, the quality of the campus, and the impact of our research in the real world.

“And the third, and perhaps, newer element of the plan is that we want to reach out to the world,” he added.

Minister O’Sullivan said the university was making a “significant global contribution” to research and development, and that UL has a “very strong reputation” in relation to teaching and research at a local and regional level.

“UL has recently been ranked inside the top 6% of universities worldwide and that has been achieved an a very short 43 years,” she said. “The sense of ambition to push further and constantly improve its international standing is very evident each time I visit the campus and I have no doubt that the ambitious goals laid out in this new strategy will be achieved,” she added.

Mr Justice John Murray welcomed the new strategy, and said that the future of research lies in collaboration between universities and the industry.

“As we look to the future of higher education institutions, we must understand that international borders are no more and students now think more globally about their third level education,” he said.

“By 2020, eight million students, representing 4% of the global student population will be international students. Broadening our Horizons also means reaching further with our research.”

When questioned at the launch about a recent Limerick Leader article which stated that two UL employees, who are currently suspended, had made allegations about financial mismanagement at UL, Prof Barry urged the Higher Education Authority to “move rapidly” to investigate the matter.

“These allegations cause me concern because they have the potential to damage the reputation of the university. The reputation of the university is very important for everyone who works and studies in the institution, and indeed for everyone living in the Mid-West region,” he said.

- For more see Monday’s Limerick Leader tabloid edition and the broadsheet editions later next week

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