TU of the Shannon becomes Ireland’s third technological university

1 Oct 2021

Athlone bridge on River Shannon. Image: © Bruno Biancardi/Stock.adobe.com

Bringing together Athlone IT and Limerick IT, TU of the Shannon is expected to contribute €420m to the region’s economy annually.

Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS), officially opens today (1 October) to boost higher education and development in the midlands and mid-west region.

A result of the merger of Athlone IT and Limerick IT, this is the third technological university (TU) Ireland, following the establishment of TU Dublin in 2018 and Munster TU earlier this year.

TU status was awarded in May, after the two institutes of technology applied to the Government last year to form a new university by September 2021.

TUS will host more than 14,000 students and 2,000 full-time and part-time staff across six campuses in Athlone, Moylish, Limerick, Clonmel, Ennis and Thurles.

The university is expected to boost the region’s post-pandemic economy by giving its 850,000-strong population access to high-quality education and research.

‘Momentous’ for the midlands

Former Limerick IT and Sligo IT president Prof Vincent Cunnane was recently appointed as the first president of TUS. He hailed the opening as “hugely significant” and “momentous” for the midlands and mid-west region, where TUS is expected to contribute around €420m to the local economy annually.

“TUS will be a research and innovation hub for enterprises and will foster a wider and deeper skills base that will make the regions more attractive for inward investment,” he said.

“This will help grow future jobs and incomes as well as deeply impacting the social and cultural fabric of the communities we serve.”

The pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of work and resulted in a pivot towards remote working – with the Government trying to attract workers to rural Ireland. TUS is expected to meet the demand for upskilling and reskilling in the region and work with industries to contribute to local economic growth.

“As we emerge from an incredibly challenging period as a result of Covid-19, the future for our education sector and regional development has never been more positive and promising,” said Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins, TD.

“The launch of TUS here today is a celebration of what can be achieved through collaboration and connectedness across regions, which is key to growth and prosperity at a micro and macro level.”

Earlier this month, the Higher Education Authority announced it will provide €25.67m in ‘transformation funding’ to TUs across Ireland, with the highest proportion (€5.9m) allocated to TUS.

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic