A formal application is due to be made today for GMIT, Sligo IT, and Letterkenny IT to form a new Technological University for the west of Ireland.
The presidents of the three Institutes of Technology are due to present the formal application to Minister Simon Harris this afternoon.
The three IoT’s have been working together under the banner of the Connacht/Ulster Alliance on this joint venture.
It would amalgamate the facilities and service of the three IoTs to create a university with strong ties to local industry, SMEs, and micro-enterprise.
It will also provide a single pathway for students to go from a pre-bachelors qualification through the top levels of higher education.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said that Technological Universities are an important part of the higher education landscape.
“They are embedded in their regions with strong links to local enterprise, business and community stakeholders.”
Creating greater access to higher education will also help to drive “balanced regional engagement and development” in the west and northwest Minister Harris said.
“Today, three institutions have come together to make this application and in it the case for a new TU with campuses encompassing Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.”
“Such a TU would have the potential to further drive the development of higher education and regional growth in the West and North West with strong cross-border links.”
Galway Senator Aisling Dolan said that this is fantastic news, which will make it simpler for students to go from a diploma, all the way to a PhD, and put university education within reach of more people.
“The Connacht Ulster Alliance will be a university for our community and responding to what we need in the West, to supporting agriculture, tourism, our environment, our unique culture and incentivise regional development in our towns”
“Having a university in the Western region will mean that we can attract investment and support innovation from Irish based start-ups and entrepreneurs to European and international industry. “
Minister Harris will now appoint an advisory panel including international experts to assess the application and to be furnished with their report.
This, along with the opinion of the Higher Education Authority and other relevant information will be considered in making decision.
Subject to the Minister’s approval, it is that the three applicant institutes could potentially be legally dissolved and a new TU established in early 2022.