The allocation of €5.1 million in funding to Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow to assist with progression towards technological university status has been welcomed.
Announcing the funding, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said the creation of technological universities is a key commitment within the Programme for Government and will deliver significant advantages to national priorities in relation to higher education access, research-informed teaching and learning, as well as supporting enterprise and regional development.
“The unparalleled Government investment of €34.33 million this year and €90 million over the lifetime of the Technological University Transformation Fund will deliver on national strategic objectives in accordance with the TURN report vision. This investment will help deliver for our regions, communities and Ireland internationally,” Minister Harris said.
The TURN report Connectedness and Collaboration enabled by Connectivity was published in October 2019 and sets out the case for a State change in higher education reform for the delivery of national strategic priorities. This is to be achieved through the connectedness (particularly at regional level), collaboration and connectivity of technological universities and their unique delivery of programmes across the full range of the National Framework of Qualifications, from apprenticeships to doctoral degrees.
Waterford’s Senator Cummins said the creation of a university in the South East is of the utmost importance. “Thankfully it now appears that momentum exists to realise the ambition of creating a higher education institution of international repute here in the South East. The skills and talent to realise that goal has always been here, but unfortunately the drive to ensure it happened has been lacking in some quarters. It is great that both institutes are working towards a defined timeline of designation in January 2022, with the application being submitted in late spring/early summer next year,” Senator Cummins said.
A cross party group of South East Oireachtas members met with Minister Harris on Tuesday, with a further meeting organised for early November with the chairpersons and presidents of both institutes and project lead Tom Boland.
“The funding announced today is further evidence of the Government's commitment to seeing this project delivered for the young people and businesses of the region,” Senator Cummins added.