The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, has announced a further €0.8 million in funding to four Institutes of Technology as the final element of the HEA 2018 call for funding submissions in relation to the development of technological university projects and other restructuring projects in the higher education landscape. Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) will receive €0.25 million of this allocation. The other institutions to receive funding are Limerick Institute of Technology, Athlone IT and Dundalk IT.
The final €0.8m allocation announced by the Minister of State for Higher Education will fund three unique projects across four institutions, which have linkages to technological university development but also strengthen collaborative regional clustering and co-operation between higher education and further education and training institutions, including on a cross-border basis, and multi-campus integration.
The President of LYIT, Paul Hannigan on behalf of LYIT and its partner institutions, Ulster University, North West Regional College and Donegal ETB warmly welcomed the Minister's announcement regarding this funding. This is a significant endorsement from the Irish Government for the work of the partner institutions following the launch of the Cluster earlier this year. It also supports the significant work being done by the local authorities on both sides of the border through the North West Strategic Growth Partnership in developing the North West City Region.
This project provides for new student entry routes, co-ordinated academic plans and a matrix of course provision and mapping which will also, over time, strengthen the cross-border reach of the current Connacht-Ulster Alliance technological university consortium in which Letterkenny is partnered with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology, Sligo.
Minister of State Mitchell O’Connor said, “There is a strong emphasis on the ‘skills ladder’ progression approach from Further Education and Training to Higher Education and on the opportunities afforded pre- and post-Brexit with a strong, dynamic, regional skills focus which I am very supportive of.”
In relation to the cross-border dimension of some of the projects being funded the Minster of State said, “Two of the projects being funded have strong cross-border regional development synergies in the North-East and North-West.
"I am particularly pleased to say that these projects focus on the student and in opening up pathways for young people as well as those from non-traditional routes to progress through further education and training into higher education, including on a cross-border basis.
"The linkages and relationships that are being built in further and higher education through HEIs and FE colleges in both northerly corners of the island, are a timely reminder of the common objectives and strengths we have in building a bright future for our young people and for ensuring mutually beneficial and aligned regional development and educational policies”.