1,937 Graduate from Athlone Institute of Technology

1,937 Graduate from Athlone Institute of Technology

1,937 graduates were conferred with awards ranging from higher certificate to PhD over two days of ceremonies at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). Amongst the graduates we awarded 5 PhD’s in the Faculty of Engineering & Informatics and 2 PhD’s in the Faculty of Science & Health. In addition we also awarded 10 Masters by Research Mode. The ceremonies were held in the AIT International Arena.

In his presidential address, Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that “We have always been as ambitious for our institution as we have been for each and every one of our students. This award is an important inflection point in our near 50 year history as we continue to further solidify our status as an academic centre of excellence.’’ He added, “AIT is a community of like-minded, driven, thought leaders. It is this sense of community that fuels the dynamism and energy you feel at AIT and what allows us to continuously match industry needs and consistently high student satisfaction so seamlessly.”

Professor Ó Catháin added that in October AIT scooped the coveted prize of the “Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year – 2018”. The Institute has also moved up in the ranking and has finished in 8th place, its highest position in the league table this year. Last year, AIT was awarded the “Sunday Times Good University Guide, Institute of Technology of the Year, Runner Up 2017” and ranked in 10th place.

AIT’s strength in identifying areas of skills shortage and working with businesses to improve links between enterprise and academic were among the reasons for the Institute scooping the prestigious award.

Funding for a new STEM building in AIT was announced in October as part of the Department of Education and Skills €200 million investment in Institutes of Technologies. Prof. Ó Catháin commented in his address that, “It was a very significant day for our Institute and indeed the wider midlands region. This capital investment will enable us to build a state of the art STEM building which will have a significant impact on our region. It will create additional capacity for up to 1,000 additional STEM students, enabling AIT to provide for increase student demand on STEM programmes.”

Prof Ó Catháin added “Our announcement of funding for a new STEM building is a very significant milestone in AIT’s trajectory towards a Technological University. It will allow the Science and Health Faculty the space and resources needed to further develop and expand our range of employment-focused academic programmes into the 2020s and beyond. As the Midlands region becomes one of Ireland’s Pharma/Biopharma hubs, AIT’s role in producing industry-ready scientists and technologists at all levels up to and including PhD will be further enhanced with the availability of new STEM facilities that this building will provide.’’

In 2016 AIT was granted authority by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to award PhD’s in the areas of software engineering and network communications. This is a significant achievement and further underpins the Institute’s drive towards achieving the quality targets required to become a Technological University. This is in addition to AIT’s authority to award PhD’s in polymer engineering, microbiology and toxicology.

Dr Niall Seery, Vice President of Academic Affairs & Registrar added ‘’AIT’s graduates also enjoy job success with over 93% of the graduate class of 2016 were either employed, in training or in further study 6 months after graduation, which is a further testament to AITs innovative approach and close links with industry.’’

In 2016, €8.4m was the total spend on research funding for the institute. The Institute’s research capacity continues to grow and develop and is strategically aligned with the Institute’s vision. AIT’s researchers attract competitive funding from external sources across a number of programmes from agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council, Health Research Board, Environment Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture (FIRM), EU Horizon 2020 and INTERREG among others.

Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin, concluded by stating, “on behalf of the staff of AIT, I wish to congratulate all award recipients. For some conferees, graduation herald’s a
departure from the institute; for others it represents a highly significant landmark en route to higher qualifications. I trust that you, the graduates who are leaving to pursue various careers, will retain happy memories of life in Athlone”.

Ends - Notes to the Editor: - For Further Information

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Orla Thornton

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