WIT response to Michael Kelly report re: Technological University for the South East

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Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has today (July 27) welcomed the publication by Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education & Skills, of the report prepared by Michael Kelly, former chair of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), following extensive consultation with stakeholders in the southeast region.

Prof Willie Donnelly, President, WIT said: “Mr Kelly did a comprehensive job in engaging with the two Institutes of Technology in the southeast as well as with all of the various interested parties who reinforced the huge social and economic importance to this region of having an internationally-recognised technological university established here.

“It is also clear from Mr Kelly’s report that he was satisfied that Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow are capable of meeting the criteria to apply for technological university designation within a reasonable timeframe.

“WIT fully support the report’s finding that the focus should be on the creation of a technological university of international standing rather than the merger process itself. We also recognise an agreed vision for the technological university is vital to its successful delivery and that the academic community will play a critical role in developing and implementing this vision.

“In looking at the next steps, it is important – as Mr Kelly does – that we address the need for investment to support the development of the Technological University for the South East. This requires a sustainable funding model with adequate resources at the planning stage but also during the transition and – especially – when the new university is operational.”

Looking at the wider context following the publication of the Kelly report, Prof Donnelly said: “WIT remains wholly committed to the creation of a university of the southeast and is ready to provide leadership in the delivery of the region’s technological university – a long-standing and legitimate aspiration. Our primary focus remains the creation of an internationally-competitive university with an earned reputation for its leadership in teaching, research and innovation.

“The Technological University criteria require a merger of at least two institutes prior to seeking designation for the newly-created entity. Any merger of institutes must come in the context of a shared vision of a technological university, the merging institutes’ ability to deliver on that vision and their commitment to the creation of a new entity which will be a credible university of international standing. Success will require vision, honesty, leadership and commitment.

“In practical terms, we will now engage with our colleagues at IT Carlow on the proposed process of facilitation recommended by Mr Kelly and supported by Minister O’Sullivan when we met her last week.”

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