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New Technological University (TU) for the Midlands

Published: 15th October 2019

Athlone Institute of Technology has today, Tuesday, 15th October, confirmed that it is forming a consortium with Limerick Institute of Technology to develop a new technological university (TU) for the Midlands and Mid-West.

The governing bodies of both institutions met last week and formally confirmed the formation of a new TU consortium. This is the key governance step opening the pathway to commence work on the new university. It follows the announcement by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor that the government is to make funding of €90 million available for the development of technological universities over the next three years.

Both institutions made a joint application for funding earlier this year to commence work on the TU consortium. A decision on this application is expected to be made by government in the near future.

President of Athlone Institute of Technology, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, welcomed the move calling it “transformative for the Midlands region.”

“Athlone Institute of Technology is home to knowledge creators, innovators and leaders. It is a beacon of collaborative, cross-cutting research and an innovation partner of choice for both industry and academia – central to propelling Ireland’s knowledge economy forward.

“We are an extremely ambitious institute and are fully committed to achieving technological university status – something which is of fundamental importance to leveraging the Midlands region and ensuring it reaches its potential for the benefit of students, staff and the wider community.

“Our partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology will play a pivotal role in helping us achieve our ambitious mission and our forward thinking partnership is key to unlocking the potential of both of our institutes and regions.

“This announcement will signal a unique, disruptive and coherent TU consortium. It positions the two institutions in a unique strategic collaboration that bridges our respective regional partners, maintaining a focus on impact and engagement while at the same time strengthening capacity.

“Underpinning our mission is the formation of partnerships with industry and academia which will help develop and sustain our collaborative, cross-cutting research and further enhance our capacity to enrich civic, social and cultural engagement while providing new and essential access and pathways for all learners.”

President of Limerick Institute of Technology, Professor Vincent Cunnane added: “LIT and AIT are now set on a trajectory towards achieving technological university designation. This approach allows us to develop a unique new technological university that will have a clear regional focus with a national and international outlook. LIT and AIT’s application is aimed at developing a new unique university with a strengthened regional focus that will benefit our staff, our students and the communities we serve.”

An educational powerhouse defined by a commitment to academic excellence, Athlone Institute of Technology has enjoyed considerable successes in the academic arena, most notably being named one of U-Multirank’s ‘Top 25 Performing Universities’ in the world for interdisciplinary research the second consecutive year. Further solidifying its reputational prowess, the institute continues to enjoy the highest ranking nationally in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement – 69% versus 29% national average. These accolades build upon the institute’s success in winning the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ award in 2018 and Runner Up award in 2017.

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