Funding support for restructuring of the higher education landscape
The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today (Tuesday, 14 November) announced the allocation of €6.3 million in funding in support of the ongoing restructuring of the higher education landscape including the development of consortia projects seeking to progress to designation as Technological Universities.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said “The landscape of Irish higher education is significantly evolving. The Government continues to back this progressive evolution in higher education by all available means not least in a practical funding manner. The latest funding allocation includes €4 million in ring-fenced funding secured in Budget 2017 for the development of technological universities and further significant funding has been secured in this regard in Budget 2018 also.”
She went on to say “The total €6.3 million in funding announced today will continue to support six significant projects. These projects will build national capacity, improve teaching and learning, the student experience, build skills supply and further strengthen the interface between higher education and industry that has been so important to Ireland’s economic recovery.
In relation to the Technological University development projects, this significant funding is of very practical assistance to consortia seeking Technological University designation. Taken together with the progression of the Technological Universities Bill, which I am bringing to Committee Stage in the Dáil tomorrow, this is further testament to the Government’s committment to make the long-sought concept of Technological Universities a reality”.
In addition to the four Technological University development consortia, the other landscape restructuring projects to which further funding has been allocated comprises the incorporation of Dublin City University, St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute and Church of Ireland College of Education. This landscape project has created a “New DCU” pluralist teacher education centre of international relevance and scale. Finally, there is the ongoing restructuring project which has seen the successful integration of Shannon College of Hotel Management with NUI Galway and the progression of an agreement between NUI Galway and St. Angela’s College Sligo, whereby these institutions aim to create an internationally recognised centre of excellence in teacher education on Ireland’s western seaboard.
The National Strategy for Higher Education provides for substantial changes to the landscape of Irish higher education. The HEA, with the support of the Department of Education and Skills, recognises that such reforms carry some additional costs and has provided funding to support HEIs with these costs. The fund is not expected to be able to cover all costs arising, but to make a contribution to those costs. In October 2017, the HEA invited submissions for funding support in respect of the costs arising from landscape reform.