Thursday, 29 March 2018
Department of Education and Skills
Institutes of Technology
46. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the process and timescale by which the Institute of Technology, Sligo, will become a member of a technological university consortium; the way in which he views IT Sligo will make a greater contribution to the economic development of its region following the enactment of the Technological Universities Bill 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14362/18]
Technological Universities (TUs) will have a strong regional mission to support economic development and innovation. They will be able to deliver a range of disciples and levels of qualification, including apprenticeships, to meet the skills needs of the regions in which they are situated, retain talent in the regions and contribute to national priorities. They will create the capacity for greater engagement with local enterprises, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises and will support innovation, management upskilling and internationalisation of companies.
There are currently four consortia of Institutes of Technology engaged with the developmental process seeking to become designated as technological universities. I am pleased to be able to confirm to the Deputy that IT Sligo is a member of the Connaught Ulster Alliance (CUA) consortium seeking technological university status along with Letterkenny IT and Galway Mayo IT.
The CUA consortium submitted an expression of interest for designation as a Technological University in March 2015 and in October 2015 they were approved to proceed to the next stage of the process which involves the development of a plan to meet the TU criteria.
To date the HEA has provided the CUA consortium with just over €2.1m in funding to advance their TU project. The HEA has recently issued a further call for proposals and it is open to the CUA consortium to apply for further support in response to this call.
The recently enacted Technological Universities Act 2018 sets out the eligibility criteria and the application process whereby consortia of applicant institutes of technology may jointly apply to the Minister for Education and Skills for an order establishing a Technological University. The various consortia are at different stages of development, dependent on their particular circumstances. It is a matter for the Institutes of Technology in a consortium to lead on the progression of their plans to seek designation as a Technological University. My understanding is that the CUA consortium is progressing work in a number of different respects to develop its application for TU designation but that, as yet, no firm date for the submission of such an application has been set.