University Status One Step Closer for Midlands as AIT - LIT Make TU Application

Combined economic impact of AIT – LIT found to be €420 million

A new technological university for the Midlands and Mid-West is on course for 1 September 2021, following confirmation that the AIT - LIT Consortium has formally submitted its application to Government.

The institution is expected to comprise a student population of up to 15,000 and a staff complement of approximately 1,200 people across six campuses in Athlone, Limerick (2), Clonmel, Ennis, and Thurles.

An economic impact study commissioned by the consortium has found that the combined impact of the two institutions on the Irish economy is close to €420 million euros in economic output, while they support more than 800 jobs in addition to their own staff complement.

The consortium – which formally commenced in October of 2019 – has targeted a date of 1 September next year for the new university to open and is today (Monday) also embarking on a broad consultation process to name the new technological university.

Academic unions and the Students' Unions across both AIT and LIT have voted overwhelmingly in favour of measures contained in the technological university project plan.

President of AIT Professor Ciaran Ó Catháin said: “This is a transformational development for the Midlands, and once it comes to fruition, it will provide significant social and economic benefit to communities across the region and beyond. Becoming a TU will broaden access to higher education and create opportunities in areas that have previously been underserved with respect to apprenticeships right through to PhD. I am immensely proud of the progress that have been made since the formation of the AIT – LIT Consortium a little over a year ago and of our staff, who have worked together in the spirit of common purpose to share knowledge and expertise. This has culminated in us reaching and surpassing the substantive TU metrics set out by Government and increasing our research capacity. Our commitment to our technological mission is resolute and will result in a talent pipeline of professionally and technically skilled graduates capable of propelling regional and national growth.”

President of LIT Professor Vincent Cunnane said: “We are on a pathway to deliver a unique new technological university that will cross regions and transcend

geography. While this will be an institution of scale, it will retain the familiarity of local campuses across two significant regions. This enables us to act as a regional development powerhouse into the future, delivering education and research that will benefit students, educators, communities, business and industry in a strategic way. Our approach is based on partnership and consensus, and is indeed underpinned by consultation with staff, students and other stakeholders. The consortium has a strong set of shared values and a shared ethic that provides a firm foundation to deliver on our future strategy.”

Professor Tom Collins, AIT-LIT Consortium project facilitator, congratulated the “management, staff and students of both institutes, who in a short time and through all the challenges of the current year, have re-imagined the future of the two institutions around a compelling vision for a new technological university in the Irish Midlands and Mid-West.”

Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focussed 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 and is on track to open its doors as the country’s next technological university in September 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. For information relating to the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, visit www.ait.ie

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