Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor announces further funding allocation to support technological university development and other higher education landscape restructuring
The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, today (12 October 2018) announced a further €0.8 million in funding to four Institutes of Technology as the final element of the HEA 2018 call for funding submissions in relation to the development of technological university projects and other restructuring projects in the higher education landscape. Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) will receive €0.25 million of this allocation. The other institutions to receive funding are Limerick Institute of Technology, Athlone IT and Dundalk IT.
The final €0.8m allocation announced today by the Minister of State for Higher Education will fund three unique projects across four institutions, which have linkages to technological university development but also strengthen collaborative regional clustering and co-operation between higher education and further education and training institutions, including on a cross-border basis, and multi-campus integration.
The President of LYIT, Paul Hannigan on behalf of LYIT and its partner institutions, Ulster University, North West Regional College and Donegal ETB warmly welcomes the Ministers announcement regarding this funding. This is a significant endorsement from the Irish Government for the work of the partner institutions following the launch of the Cluster earlier this year. It also supports the significant work being done by the local authorities on both sides of the border through the North West Strategic Growth Partnership in developing the North West City Region.
This project provides for new student entry routes, co-ordinated academic plans and a matrix of course provision and mapping which will also, over time, strengthen the cross-border reach of the current Connacht-Ulster Alliance technological university consortium in which Letterkenny is partnered with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology, Sligo.
Minister of State Mitchell O’Connor said, “There is a strong emphasis on the ‘skills ladder’ progression approach from Further Education and Training to Higher Education and on the opportunities afforded pre- and post-Brexit with a strong, dynamic, regional skills focus which I am very supportive of.”
This follows her announcement on 21 September of €11.2 million in funding allocations under the 2018 higher education landscape restructuring funding call administered by the Higher Education Authority. The majority of the projects for which funding has already been announced of €9.2million relate to the ongoing development of technological universities, with a further €2 million being allocated to prioritised Initial Teacher Education projects.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said, “The Government has shown its commitment to landscape restructuring in higher education on a consistent basis and in particular to the development of technological universities. The 2018 funding, including this final tranche, is further evidence of our practical support to TU development, Initial Teacher Education and to collaboration and co-operation between Higher Education Institutions, including on a North-South basis, in the wider landscape.”
In relation to the cross-border dimension of some of the projects being funded the Minster of State said, “Two of the projects being funded have strong cross-border regional development synergies in the North-East and North-West. I am particularly pleased to say that these projects focus on the student and in opening up pathways for young people as well as those from non-traditional routes to progress through further education and training into higher education, including on a cross-border basis. The linkages and relationships that are being built in further and higher education through HEIs and FE colleges in both northerly corners of the island, are a timely reminder of the common objectives and strengths we have in building a bright future for our young people and for ensuring mutually beneficial and aligned regional development and educational policies”.