Ireland’s South East is experiencing a period of significant change through a rapid population increase, an economy that is diversifying in the light of shifting national, European and global environments, and a changing socio-cultural landscape marked by increased diversity, new patterns of population distribution and a new demographic profile. The South East Institutes of Technology in Carlow and in Waterford are committed to the creation of an engaged, ambitious and proactive multi-campus Technological University of international standing which will be a key component of the infrastructure required to drive sustainable regional economic and social development.
It will provide leadership as the cohesive force at the centre of knowledge, research and innovation in the region and will also facilitate an external focus allowing the region to capitalise on other economic drivers, nationally and internationally. It will cultivate future generations of active and engaged citizens across the South East and will be a driver of social inclusion, social justice and of cultural and artistic activity in the coming decades. We are creating the Technological University of the South East (TUSE).
Why a Technological University of the South East?
Where we are now
● The Irish government is planning for the future, preparing for significant population changes that will occur (> 1 million by 2040) and envisaging a superior national infrastructure.
● Irish higher education is central to this planning. Today over 40 higher education institutions cater for 225,000 learners. The latter will rise by a further 30% by 2030. National policy envisages a smaller number of larger institutions in the future. The indications are that a small number of TUs will develop through merger/consolidation from existing IoTs in the short term, with unmerged institutes eventually assimilated into one or other of the new universities.
● Currently there are four consortia working towards merger/consolidation and designation comprised of ten of the fourteen IoTs. These are South East TU (two IoTs), TU4Dublin (three IoTs), Munster TU (two IoTs) and Connacht Ulster Alliance (three IoTs).
● The combined profile of the two South East Institutes of Technology is over 15,000 students and 2,000 staff, generating over 5,000 graduates annually. The South East is one of just two regions that does not have a university. This is currently a significant plus for the project.
Where we want to be
- The overall goal is to build on the respective histories and distinctive strengths of the two Institutes, leveraging the ideas and resources of both, to create a unique and distinctive institution of higher learning of international repute, serving the whole of the Greater South-Eastern Region (over 1.6 mn population and 18,000 km2), offering wide-ranging opportunities to learners, and collaborating with a broad range of civic, academic and industry partners for improved socioeconomic development. The Technological University has the capacity to transform the fabric of the region and the nation. Potential benefits include:
- Greater academic value in terms of broader, deeper and more diverse programmes of study, research and modes of delivery; and greater faculty development opportunities.
- Greater faculty and student diversity (expertise and demographic make-up) empowering a greatly enriched learning environment.
- Enhanced reach empowered by the multi-campus configuration, the leveraging of combined resources and enhanced image / branding of the new university.
- Stronger competitiveness resulting from new and expanded programmes; stronger student and faculty profile; greater administrative quality and depth; greater national and international footprint; new legislative functions; a larger student body facilitating greater economic stability.
- Enhanced reengagement with external regional, national and international constituencies across all university activities generating substantive new developmental opportunities.
How we get there
- Achievement of the goal will require strong leadership; cultural awareness; short and long-term informed strategic planning and risk management; collaborative and decisive thinking / actions.
- The immediate objective is creation of a new fully integrated entity, with physical campuses in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford, creating a different and better whole that will broaden and deepen the academic, research and engagement activities across the new unified institution, while ensuring a strengthened platform on which to build an internationally recognised and nationally relevant Irish Technological University.
- The modified TU legislation earmarked for enactment in Q1 2018 removes many of the perceived obstacles heretofore and enables the creation of TUs in a much faster timeframe and without having to satisfy pre-conditions for merger envisaged in the original 2015 Bill.
- The South East project must now submit a joint application to the Minister as a matter of priority that details how it meets relevant eligibility criteria and demonstrating that the necessary plans and arrangements are in place for managing the merger and transition to a TU. An Advisory Panel appointed by the Minister will assess this.