University of Limerick reveals plan for new campus and 4,000 extra students

1 Nov 2019

The site of the future UL City Campus. Image: True Media

The University of Limerick has revealed its strategy for the coming years, with plans to bring its student population to more than 20,000.

The University of Limerick (UL) is set to grow in size both in terms of its campus and its student numbers following the launch of a new strategic plan today (1 November) by its chancellor Mary Harney and president Dr Des Fitzgerald.

Under the UL@50 plan, the university aims to bring in 4,000 more students in the next five years. Many of these students will be based at its new UL City Campus, which will be located at the old Dunnes Stores building at Sarsfield Bridge. The aim is to then increase this to 8,000 more students in the following years.

UL said it will target postgraduate and international students to make up a significant amount of this increase, estimating it will bring €30m to the city. Currently, UL’s student population is around 16,000.

To support the increase in students, staff numbers are also expected to rise by around 330 to 1,930. In 2022, UL will mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation as the National Institute for Higher Education.

The university will follow up this latest announcement with the launch of a masterplan for its 360-acre campus in Castleroy, just outside Limerick city.

Higher education shake-up

Speaking of the new city campus, Fitzgerald said: “UL has big ambitions for the transformation of the UL City Campus. We want this building to be transformative for Limerick city and for UL.

“We have already begun identifying all possible sources of funding, including Government funding, philanthropy and our own sources, to get us to a place where we can begin to plan what is possible.”

Fitzgerald added that he wants UL to lead a major change in higher education in Ireland.

“We believe that the teaching model which has characterised universities for a hundred years is coming to an end. We want to put flexible learning spaces and tech-enhanced teaching models at the heart of our education and training,” he said.

“We will develop new curricula, new learning modes and a cross-disciplinary sharing and exchange approach with a particular focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

News of the city campus first emerged towards the end of last year, when it was suggested the location would be on Patrick St and would host 2,000 students and 100 staff.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic