Machines at the core: LIT gets go-ahead for €14m Coonagh IoT campus

14 Dec 2016

The new Coonagh campus will be an IoT powerhouse. Image: Limerick IT

Planning permission has been granted for a new €14m Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) campus at Coonagh, which will be an internet of things (IoT) engineering and manufacturing centre of excellence.

The new campus is planned to be the location for education and research in engineering from inception, becoming an IoT centre of excellence with first-class engineering facilities.

LIT will now work to deliver the project with the objective of having the first cohort of students in Coonagh, Co Limerick, during the 2017/2018 academic year.

‘As manufacturing moves towards the internet of things, it is crucial that we have access to graduates who are trained in state-of-the-art facilities’

The first phase of development is planned in stages over three years. Construction is expected to create 134 new jobs, with the campus employing a further 100 when fully operational.

Developing Limerick’s core

“This is a critical juncture not just in our development of the Coonagh campus, but in our overall Campus 2030 Capital Development Plan, which is fully integrated with the Limerick 2030 Spatial and Economic Development Plan,” said LIT president Prof Vincent Cunnane.

“We are one step closer to seeing an unused site transformed into a centre of engineering learning, which will have major dividends for Limerick and the region. It will increase the attractiveness of Limerick for continued investment and jobs growth while also directly addressing critical skills needs in industry.”

Cunnane said that developing Coonagh will enable LIT to focus on developing Limerick’s core. LIT has 1,000 students in the city centre at Limerick School of Art and Design, along with two city centre incubation centres.

Denis Doyle, vice-president and general manager in charge of US and Ireland manufacturing operations at ‎analog devices said the new campus will be integral to turning Limerick into a centre of excellence for emerging IoT products.

“As manufacturing moves towards the internet of things, it is crucial that we have access to graduates who are trained in state-of-the-art facilities and who understand the future of manufacturing. We hire graduates locally insofar as we can, and the development of LIT’s Coonagh campus is very important in that regard.

“More than that, however, this is the kind of development that will strengthen Limerick and the region as a location for investment and employment. This is of significance to industry nationally, and emphasises the importance of Limerick4Engineering as a representative industry body for the region,” Doyle said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years