€23.47m in Transformation Funding for Technological Universities announced
By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 14 November, 2022
The Higher Education Authority has today (9 November 2022) announced its latest allocation of funding (€23.47m) for the technological sector to support the development of Technological Universities (TUs). This funding builds on the first two years of the Technological University Transformation Fund (TUTF) where a total of €60m has already been awarded since 2020. The TUTF is a 3-year €90m funded project that is designed to assist the development and progression of technological universities (TUs).
The role of TUs is an important one. With support from the TUTF, it is intended that TUs will significantly advance national priorities, especially in the areas of access to higher education, research-informed teaching and learning, supporting enterprise, and enhancing regional development.
This year has seen the establishment of the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and the South East Technological University (SETU). Following on from the establishment of TU Dublin (2019), Munster Technological University (2021) and the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (2021), this brings the total number of TUs in Ireland to five.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Over the past year Atlantic Technological University and South East Technological University have been established and are taking their place at the heart of our higher education landscape.
“This funding is part of the Transformation Funding, which has seen €60 million already invested in making our Tus a reality. The funding today will help build on that important work and ensure TUs have the capacity to grow.”
CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr. Alan Wall, together with the Chair and Board of the HEA, also welcomed the recent expansion of the sector and the support of higher education institutions through the Technological University Transformation Fund. “The successful establishment of five TUs attests to the transformational development of the technological sector and the positive impact of the TUTF. The HEA supports Technological Universities and the ongoing reform of the higher education landscape, recognising the role of TUs at a regional level and in making significant contributions to national objectives and internationally,” Dr Wall said.
In addition to the allocations announced today, the HEA is currently engaging with DkIT and IADT to understand and support their continuing development within the technological sector. DkIT has made significant progress on its three-year developmental pathway with the support of a special advisor appointed by the HEA, and IADT continues to advance exploration of its options under the TU Act, 2018.
The HEA meets regularly with TUTF recipients to oversee the use of the fund and to encourage consultation and best practice sharing at sector level, and in this way supports understanding of the requirements of institutions at various stages of the TU trajectory.
Considerable advances have been made towards the objectives of the TUTF since initial disbursements were made in 2020, and robust monitoring systems are in place to track progress. This round of funding allocations was determined on the basis of assessed capacity and progress evidenced in meeting the objectives and ambitions outlined in the TURN Report.
Notes for Editors
Background to the Technological University Transformation Fund (TUTF)
In Budget 2020, the Government announced the launch of a major multi-annual transformation fund of €90 million for technological universities over 3 years. The TUTF supersedes and builds upon Landscape Funding, as provided by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) in recent years, towards reform of the higher education landscape, including the establishment of Technological Universities.
The HEA is responsible for the design and implementation of the TUTF and meets regularly with the Presidents of the five TUs (TU Dublin, MTU, TUS, SETU, ATU) and two Institutes of Technology (IADT, DKIT), together with senior representatives from the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA).
TU Dublin was Ireland’s first technological university and was established on 1 January 2019. Munster Technological University was established on 1 January 2021, merging Cork IT and IT Tralee. Ireland’s third technological university was established on 1 October 2021, with the designation of the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, merging Athlone IT and the Limerick IT.
More recently, Atlantic Technological University (formerly the Connaught Ulster Alliance (CUA) consortium, comprising Galway-Mayo IT, Letterkenny IT and IT Sligo), was established on 1 April 2022. A fifth TU, South East Technological University, merged IT Carlow and Waterford IT and was established on 1 May 2022.
TU development consortia currently working towards TU Status include:
- The Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) is committed to becoming a technological university and has made significant progress in advancing this ambition through building its research and engagement capacity.
- The Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire, is in the process of exploring its options under the Technological Universities Act, 2018, with support from the HEA.
In addition, the OECD has been contracted by the HEA to conduct a ‘Review of Technological University Academic Contracts, Career Paths and Organisation’, which will explore the appropriate structures and mechanisms that need to be in place to ensure that the emerging TUs are able to deliver on their mission and wider strategic objectives.
Monitoring and oversight
The HEA holds quarterly meetings with institutions to monitor progress towards results, as set out in the TUTF project plans. Written and financial reports on progress are required bi-annually to assess progress and capture learnings and are considered by the HEA in determining funding allocations. Funding may be removed or redistributed at the discretion of the HEA, where circumstances change or where sufficient progress on projects is not being made in accordance with project plans.
Table 1: Exchequer funding allocations, 1st Sept 2022 – 31st Aug 2023 (€ million)
|HEI / Consortia||TUTF Year 3 Allocation|