Minister of State for Further Education and Skills Niall Collins has today (Friday) welcomed the establishment of the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest.
This is the third technological university in the country, following the establishment of TU Dublin and MTU.
Speaking today, Minister Collins said: “The establishment of our newest TU is another important element of the step-change being created in higher education in Ireland.
“This establishment has the potential to significantly transform higher education for the people of the Midlands and the Midwest and drive investment into the area.
“From today, the new Technological University will start its journey to drive higher education access and inclusion, research informed teaching and learning excellence, and assist in more balanced regional development and socio-economic progress. It is education delivered in the regions for people in and of the regions.”
Minister Collins also thanked the management, governing bodies, staff and students of both Limerick IT and Athlone IT, wider regional and local community stakeholders, including business and enterprise leaders, the international advisory panel, Higher Education Authority, Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland and his Department in working to achieve establishment.
Minister Collins said: “The staff and students of both Institutes had the foresight and wisdom to see the enormous benefits a technological university presents in terms of teaching and learning, research, engagement and qualifications. They threw their combined weight into this project and their unity and strength of purpose was key to today’s TU establishment.
“To achieve this feat in such a relatively short timescale demonstrated great ability and drive of all involved. They should be proud to have turned this project into the reality that we are witnessing today.
“Government has made it one of its key priorities, as reflected in the Programme for Government, to ensure that there is a network of TUs across the country so as to ensure balanced regional development and more equitable access to higher education nationally. Together, we are making real strides in achieving that goal.
“The beauty of the model is that students will be provided with the highest quality campus facilities and learning environments. Across the new university’s six campuses and through connected digital infrastructure they will be able to study how and where they choose. “
Inaugural TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane said the technological university will leave a lasting legacy that will bolster these regions from an education, social and economic perspective to benefit for generations to come.
Professor Cunnane said: “Achieving TU status creates momentum that will have a far-reaching positive impact for generations to come. We are incredibly proud of our dynamic student base and our skilled and ambitious staff, across each of our six campuses, whose shared values and ambition we celebrate as we look forward to an exciting ‘new beginning’.
“Not only is today a momentous day for our staff and students, it is also hugely significant for the wider economic landscape of the Midlands and Midwest with an estimated economic impact of approximately €420 million per annum.
“TUS will be a research and innovation hub for enterprises and will foster a wider and deeper skills base that will make the regions more attractive for inward investment. This will help grow future jobs and incomes as well as deeply impacting the social and cultural fabric of the communities we serve.”