Technological universities, including the recently established MTU and TU of the Shannon, will be aided in their future development.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has announced that it will provide €25.67m in ‘transformation funding’ to technological universities (TUs) across Ireland.
This funding will build on the €34.33m already allocated to TUs in 2020 as part of the Technological University Transformation Fund (TUTF).
The funds are designed to help higher education institutions progress to TU status and support new TUs in their post-establishment development.
The highest proportion (€5.9m) has been allocated to the new Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, which is replacing the Athlone and Limerick Institutes of Technology.
Munster Technological University (MTU), which was established in January 2021, is due to receive a €4.55m funding boost for this academic year. TU Dublin has been allocated €5.2m.
The TUTF originated as part of Budget 2020, with the launch of a multi-annual transformation fund of €90m for TUs over three years.
The HEA is responsible for the fund’s implementation, with presidents from the TUs acting together in an advisory capacity. The advisory group, called Technological University Research Network (TURN), issued a report in 2019 containing 12 recommendations for the development of TUs.
It recommended increasing investment in researchers, investment in digital infrastructure, prioritising capital investment in TUs, reforming the grant allocation model to include TUs and the creation of a dedicated TU funding stream.
CEO of the HEA, Dr Alan Wall, said that despite a difficult year, significant strides had been made towards the objectives set out in the TURN report. He said the HEA would support the new TUs to “deliver tangible results for their regions”.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, TD, is currently dealing with applications for TU designation from the TU of South-East Ireland consortium, which comprises IT Carlow and Waterford IT. The Connacht Ulster Alliance, which comprises Institute of Technology Sligo, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, has also applied.
Dundalk IT and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dún Laoghaire are both exploring their options to gain TU status.