Efforts to create the much needed South East University have stepped up a gear with the formal announcement by the two institutes of technology in the region of their intention to submit a detailed business plan for the Technological University to the Higher Education Authority early next year.
The establishment of a multi campus Technological University in the south east is a key recommendation of the programme for government and is seen as a critical component of the infrastructure required to ensure sustainable economic development in the region.
The Institutes, following consultations with Government Ministers, have also appointed Mr Colin Browne, Senior Director, Online Operations with Microsoft Ireland, former graduate of both institutes, and native of the South East, living in Wexford, to the Project Implementation Board. Mr Browne will chair this board, which will be tasked with the development of the business plan for the Technological University as well as working on the practical aspects of creating a multi-campus technological university.
The detailed business plan will set out the approach necessary to meet the criteria for university designation and the process to formally merge the two institutes. A joint technological university office is being established to oversee and deliver on the business plan and the consolidation.
Speaking at a meeting of the Implementation Board Mr Browne said; “I want to acknowledge the great work of the two Institutes to date in progressing the Technological University agenda and I look forward to working with the board to develop and implement our plan to create an enduring and important asset for the South East.”
Mr Browne will be joining a board which includes the two Chairpersons of IT Carlow and Waterford IT, the two presidents and a range of external experts including Prof Pat Fottrell, President Emeritus NUIG, Mr Michael McGrath, former CEO of the Irish Universities Association and Prof John Davies, an international consultant.
The appointment has been welcomed by Ministers in the region. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Mr Brendan Howlin T.D. said;
“I am pleased to see somebody of Colin Browne’s status and reputation appointed to the Project Implementation Board and I wish him and his colleagues well in this important endeavour. The establishment of a technological university for the South East is a key programme for Government commitment and developing a business plan to merge the existing institutes is a critical step in that direction.”
The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Mr Phil Hogan T.D. said:
“I welcome the appointment of Colin Browne to the Implementation Board. The establishment of a Technological University in the south east is critical for the economic development of the region. I am delighted with the spirit of co-operation being shown by both Institutes in working to achieve university status.”
The Technological University will become a key component of the infrastructure required to drive sustainable regional economic development and its scale and impact will be significant;
It will be a regional multi-campus university and will operate campuses in Waterford, Carlow, Wexford and Kilkenny.
It will have over 15,000 students and produce more than 4,500 graduates per annum to meet the needs of industry and enterprise across all disciplines including business, engineering, science and the humanities.
It will employ over 1,300 staff and is estimated to be worth €250m to the regional economy.
Its focus on research development and innovation, resourced by a €25m per annum budget, will drive the creation of new knowledge and business in key economic activities such as agriculture, information technology, engineering, tourism and the environmental, biological and pharmaceutical sciences.
The University through its multi-campus structure will house and nurture up to 100 new and emerging enterprises as well as creating strategic working partnerships with multinational and indigenous business focussed on job creation activities.
It will also function as a university of international reputation realising up to 1000 international enrolments through the creation of partnerships in 35 countries across all continents.
Photo L – R:
Mr. John Moore, Chairman of the Governing Body, Institute of Technology Carlow, Mr. Colin Browne, Senior Director, Online Operations with Microsoft Ireland and newly appointed Chair of the Technological University Project Implementation Board, Mr Brendan Howlin T. D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Dr. Donie Ormonde, Chairman of the Governing Body, Waterford Institute of Technology, Mr. Phil Hogan T. D., Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government. Photo by Lafayette Photography.