Athlone and Limerick ITs join forces to form TU consortium

15 Oct 2019

The Athlone IT campus. Image: Athlone IT

Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology aim to bolster the midlands and mid-west with a new TU consortium.

Following on from last year’s announcement that Dublin Institute of Technology, IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown were to merge to form Technological University (TU) Dublin, a similar plan is underway for the midlands and mid-west.

Today (15 October) Athlone IT and Limerick IT confirmed they have both applied to form a consortium to create a new TU for the regions. The deal was formally agreed between the two institutions last week and a joint application for funding was made earlier this year.

Both hope to have a decision made on the application by the Government in the near future. Athlone IT’s president, Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin, said the move will be “transformative for the midlands region”.

“Our partnership with Limerick IT 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.

“This announcement will signal a unique, disruptive and coherent TU consortium. It positions the two institutions in a unique strategic collaboration that bridges our respective regional partners, maintaining a focus on impact and engagement while at the same time strengthening capacity.”

Limerick IT president Prof Vincent Cunnane added: “Limerick IT and Athlone IT are now set on a trajectory towards achieving technological university designation. This approach allows us to develop a unique new technological university that will have a clear regional focus with a national and international outlook.”

Earlier this week, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, announced an increase in funding worth €153m to tertiary education. This included €90m to assist in the development and progression of new TUs.

“Having piloted the TU legislation to a successful conclusion last year and witnessed the establishment of the State’s first TU in Technological University Dublin at the start of 2019, I consider this to be another pivotal moment in the development both of the existing TU and a number of other consortia endeavouring to attain TU status,” she said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic