Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Education and Skills
79. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when he plans to approve the technical university for the south east with the same investment per capita in the region as per the rest of the country and parity in third level financing with existing universities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43272/17]
The Technological University for the South-East (TUSE) consortium, comprising of Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow, has been developing proposals for the establishment of a technological university for the south east for a number of years. The Kelly report, published in 2015, involved an extensive process of consultation and engagement with stakeholders in the South East, summarised the challenges and difficulties encountered by the TUSE project and articulated a rationale for a new type of higher education institution to support a step-change in the economic and social development of the South-East region. Following the publication of the Kelly Report, a preliminary facilitation process was completed with a report of the process being delivered in May 2016.
The TUSE consortium made a presentation and submission to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in 2016 and were allocated €1.45m in funding to support the next phase of development of the technology university project. To date the HEA has provided the consortium with €0.57m in funding for the project development. The HEA has this week launched a new call for the funding of technological university development projects and other higher education landscape restructuring to which technological university consortia may make submissions. Institutes in the relevant consortia lead on the progression of their plans to seek designation as a technological university. Funding has also been ringfenced in budget 2018 to support consortia to progress their projects.
The enactment of legislation is required to provide for the establishment of technological universities and work is ongoing on the Bill at present and I plan to reintroduce to the Houses of the Oireachtas at the earliest opportunity. Once the legislation is enacted, the timing of applications for designation are a matter for the relevant consortium.