Midlands in line for a university through a new alliance

Reporter

Reporter:

Reporter

Athlone institute of Technology Limerick Institute of Technology

Athlone Institute of Technology

The Midlands region is in line to get a university through an alliance between colleges in Limerick and Athlone.

Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology are joining forces to develop a new technological university for the Midlands and Mid-West.

The governing bodies of both institutions met last week and formally confirmed the formation of a new consortium. 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 consortium. A decision on this application is expected to be made by the 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," he said.

President of Limerick Institute of Technology, Professor Vincent Cunnane said LIT and AIT partnership would lead to a unique third level facility.

"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,” he said.

Prof Cunnane said that their intention is to build a networked university with the River Shannon forming its spine.

"We will enhance our regional focus and our collaboration with partners here in the Mid-West. 

“This puts us in a position to provide accessible Higher Education to a large portion of the country’s population while strengthening our commitment to our regions.  This is an approach that has increasingly been taken in the formation of new universities in Europe, and we see a major benefit for our stakeholders by adopting it in Ireland.

“Collaboration is at the heart of this networked university – a collaboration with our partners in Higher Education, in industry, our communities and government," he said.