AIT and LIT have been awarded €1 million for their leading role in RUN-EU, a new pan-European university alliance intended to tackle the EU’s future and advanced skills needs and help shape a “resilient, green and digital future”.
The progressive project forms part of an EU-wide ambition to create a centralised European Education Area by 2025, where students, academics and researchers can move more freely between partner universities in different countries.
The funding, announced today by Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, was awarded to AIT and LIT on the basis of an impact case study, submitted to the HEA last March.
RUN-EU director for AIT Jane Burns, who co-authored the case study, welcomed the funding and said it was indicative of the project’s value to society, the environment and to the economy on a local, national and international level.
“Our mission under RUN-EU is to secure the sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental progress of our regions and stakeholders,” she explained, emphasising the project’s importance in ensuring Europe’s capacity to deal with substantive societal challenges, such as climate change, food security and digital transformation.
“By pooling our knowledge and resources, we are stronger and can meaningfully and positively impact the future that our students will inherit. That is how we will actually change society – through education, and this aligns to what we aim to achieve as a new technological university.
“We will disrupt future ways of living, learning and working and build new partnerships that strengthen innovation and create new and exciting opportunities, all of which will ultimately offer our students a richer and more beneficial higher education experience.”
Dr Niall Seery, the director of the AIT – LIT Consortium TU project and co-author of the RUN-EU case study, also welcomed the funding and said it showed great confidence in AIT and LIT’s partnership and what could be achieved, even before the two institutions merge to become the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest on October 1, 2021.
“This is something that brings immediate benefit to our researchers, staff and students. These funds will support researcher mobility, for example, connecting people with other experts in their field to apply for more competitive funding, or to build degree programs that we hadn't access to prior to this,” he explained.
“Things are already happening in a tangible way; we have a number of PhD students registered from our consortium partners, and we already have teams of supervisors across different parts of this European university. Moving beyond research, we have also developed a number of short, advanced programmes to help transfer knowledge to industry quickly in areas such as ICT, biotechnology and materials science.”
Membership of RUN-EU also brings increased benefits for undergraduate students, who will have the opportunity to study at multiple partner universities across Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, the Netherlands, Finland and Austria.
Congratulating the award recipients earlier today, Minister Harris said that the high-quality case studies had provided a snapshot of some of the exciting and innovative initiatives ongoing in higher education:
“The institutions receiving awards today are clearly making a positive and significant impact on Irish society, in areas such as inclusion and gender equality, leadership and sustainability, and are helping create an Ireland that is progressive, and one in which every person has the same opportunities to reach their potential.”
MTU, NUIG, IT Carlow and UCC also received funding in recognition of their positive performances. Learn more about the RUN-EU impact case study here.
Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focused offering, world-class research and development capabilities, and state-of-the-art facilities. Winner of The Sunday Times Institute of the Year 2020 and 2018, AIT is Ireland’s top-ranked institute of technology and is on track to open its doors as the country’s third technological university on October 1, 2021. AIT tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research in 2018 and 2019. Visit www.ait.ie to learn more.