Limerick IT and Athlone IT to merge and form new university
Limerick and Athlone, together at last.
On Tuesday, Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology announced that they have taken the first steps to partner up and form a technological university (TU).
A joint application for funding has been submitted, and a formal consortium has been formed, with a view to changing the status of the institutes.
The new university would be designed to serve the Midlands and the Mid-West.
President of Athlone Institute of Technology, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, has said that the move could transform the midlands region.
"Athlone Institute of Technology is home to knowledge creators, innovators and leaders. It is a beacon of collaborative, cross-cutting research and an innovation partner of choice for both industry and academia – central to propelling Ireland’s knowledge economy forward.
"Our partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology will play a pivotal role in helping us achieve our ambitious mission and our forward-thinking partnership is key to unlocking the potential of both of our institutes and regions.
Limerick IT president Prof Vincent Cunnane also said: "Limerick IT and Athlone IT are now set on a trajectory towards achieving technological university designation. This approach allows us to develop a unique new technological university that will have a clear regional focus with a national and international outlook."
TUs are a becoming a bigger part of Irish education, with the government announcing a multi-annual fund of €90 million to assist the development and progression of TUs in last week's budget.
The merger would echo the dissolution of Dublin Institute of Technology, which became the Technological University of Dublin (TUD) on 1 January, 2019.
Currently, the Republic of Ireland is home to eight universities.