Senator Maria Byrne (FG) welcomes Limerick’s share in higher education funding

Fine Gael Senator, Maria Byrne has welcomed Limerick’s share in higher education landscape funding of €14 million which has been allocated to higher education institutions.

The funding, which will have an emphasis on the development of Technological Universities, is set to benefit both Limerick IT and Athlone IT in their application for TU designation to the tune of €2 million.

As part of the Government’s allocation, the Shannon Consortium of University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College is also set to receive €200,000.

“The announcement of higher education landscape funding is a much-welcomed boost for third-level education institutions in Limerick,” said Senator Maria Byrne.

“It is vital that this Government continues to invest in education in the region if we are to achieve balanced regional development in line with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.

“The substantial funding of €2 million will benefit both Limerick IT and Athlone IT in their joint bid to form a Technological University, a move which is generationally significant for the Midwest region.

“Funding of €200,000 of the highly regarded Shannon Consortium of University Limerick, Limerick IT and Mary Immaculate College will help further promote innovation in higher education and drive regional development in Limerick and the Midwest,” she added.

The funding of €14 million to higher education institutions was today (18 October 2019) announced by Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D. and Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education, May Mitchell O’Connor T.D.

The €14m fund was allocated under the Higher Education Authority 2019 call for submissions for higher education landscape restructuring, consolidation and collaborative projects.

The majority of the Government investment, €11.8m, is geared to progress the creation and expansion of Technological Universities.

The remaining funding of €2.2m is aimed at other collaborative projects in line with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan and Initial Teacher Education policy.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “Once more in accordance with established Government policy in relation to the higher education landscape, the bulk of funding this year is going towards Technological University development. In this context I am allocating a total of €11.8 million to TU Dublin, the 3 existing TU development consortia and also for the first time to a newly proposed TU consortium formed by Athlone IT and Limerick IT, which is an exciting new development.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor added, “I am delighted that Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology have decided to come together as a Technological University consortium. This merging of their respective strengths and attributes will be transformative for the Midlands and Midwest regions, for their communities, regional economies and will provide new and exciting pathways to higher education for students.”

The funding allocation comes after the announcement that Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology publicised that they have taken the first steps to partner up and form a technological university (TU).

Both Limerick IT and Athlone IT are to receive funding for proposals which will see the two institutions jointly forming a consortium with a view to making an application for TU designation.

The Shannon Consortium was formed in 2006 in the context of HEA Strategic Innovation Funding, and has grown since then into a collaborative framework for the three Higher Education Institutions, University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College, to promote innovation in higher education and drive regional development.

The overall funding allocations will be disbursed by the Higher Education Authority subject to requisite conditionality on a case by case project basis and will be subject to ongoing monitoring, reporting and evaluation by the Authority in line with stipulated timelines and milestones.

ENDS

Contact

Maria Byrne

0868300951 `

Photo Caption: Senator Maria Byrne, LIT President Professor Vincent Cunnane, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD at Limerick Institute of Technology.

Photo Credit: Kieran Ryan Benson Free Repo.

Notes for Editors

The majority of funding in 2019 is directed at TU development and progression. However, landscape funding has also been allocated to a number of non-TU related proposals including two North-South cross border strategic alliance building projects, one by Letterkenny IT in the North-West and another by Dundalk IT in the North-East and both of which are in keeping with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan. In tandem, with these allocations Dundalk IT will also receive related funding of €250,000 for its North–East cross-border project bringing its total funding to €550,000.

Funding has also gone to the ongoing process which will see completion of St. Angela’s College Sligo incorporation into NUI Galway in the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) area as well as another ITE and regional clustering project involving the Shannon Consortium of University Limerick, Limerick IT and Mary Immaculate College and, finally, to a collaborative consolidation project between IT Carlow and St. Patrick’s College Carlow.

The full 2019 Higher Education landscape restructuring funding allocations are as follows:

2019 Funding allocations (€ million)

Project Allocation
TU Dublin 3.8
MTU (Cork IT / IT Tralee) 2.0
TUSEI (IT Carlow / WIT) 2.0
CUA (GMIT/ IT Sligo/ Letterkenny IT) 2.0
Athlone IT / Limerick IT 2.0
Letterkenny IT 0.5
Dundalk IT 0.3
Shannon Consortium (UL /LIT /MIC) 0.2
IT Carlow/St. Patrick’s College Carlow 0.06
NUIG/St. Angela’s College Sligo 1.14
Total 14.0

 

TU Dublin was established on 1 January 2019 and is the largest Higher Education Institution in the State with over 28,000 students. TU development consortia currently include

  • The MTU consortium comprising Cork IT and IT Tralee. Their application for TU designation was submitted in February 2019. The Minister for Education and Skills  postponed the granting of the application until no later than the end of Qi 2020 subject to compliance by the consortium with specified conditions to achieve the required eligibility criteria under the Technological Universities Act 2018.
  • The TUSEI consortium, comprising IT Carlow and Waterford IT, is developing an application which it is expected will be submitted in the coming months.
  • The Connaught Ulster Alliance consortium, comprising Galway-Mayo IT, Letterkenny IT and IT Sligo, is in the earlier stages of developing its proposals with a view to submitting an application in the course of the 2020/21 academic year.
  • Athlone IT and Limerick IT are to receive funding for proposals which will see the two institutions jointly forming a consortium with a view to making an application for TU designation.

 

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