It is expected that the proposal will be on the desk of Minister Simon Harris very soon
LIT, in conjunction with Athlone IT, is on the brink of formally applying to the Higher Education Authority for technological university status, approval of which would be a massive boost to the local economy and to the prospects of attracting major employers to the area.
It is expected that the proposal will be on the desk of Minister Simon Harris very soon, and the former Health Minister has told Deputy Michael Lowry that such partnerships and initiatives are in line with the Government's third level policy - and as such is likely to be viewed very favourably.
“The Minister expects that analysis by his department and external independent evaluation should be completed over the coming months. It is anticipated that the necessary approvals for the proposal would be granted by March 2021 and implementation of the merger with technological status will become effective in September,” Deputy Lowry told the Tipperary Star.
A huge body of work has been underway for some time by an umbrella group representing all the stakeholders, under the chairmanship of Professor Tom Collins - this detailed process involved scoping out structures, governance issues, programmes and staffing.
Deputy Michael Lowry TD
“The total funding required for enhancing the educational offering in the new entity is €23.8 million, to be shared between AIT and LIT. I have been promoting this project and I will continue my involvement with a view to ensuring that Tipperary receives the desired proportion of this fund, which will be earmarked to increase the number with doctoral qualifications, grow masters numbers, and develop and expand research. This will have the consequence of substantially increasing student numbers at both Thurles and Clonmel,” Deputy Lowry said.
Separately, a capital budget required over the next five years to put in place the necessary infrastructure and additional facilities for the new entity is estimated at €48million. This physical development of all the current satellite campuses will enable them to respond to specific regional needs. This will include reflecting the business, enterprise and community needs of the region, as well as ensuring that the campuses contribute to the entire organisation.
“This is a ground breaking initiative for LIT and the campus at both Thurles and Clonmel. It will have a transformative effect on the educational and enterprise landscape of the county. It is fantastic news for Thurles. The Tipperary Institute has travelled a long way. With the vision, creativity and dedication of staff, it has overcome turbulence and diversity. It is now on the brink of a bright new future as an intergal part of a new identity and plan,” said Deputy Lowry who played a key role in the
establishment of the college known as the TRBDI (Tipperary Rural Business Development Institute) back in 1999, and also in saving the college from closure through the amalgamation with LIT almost a decade ago.
See story right for more reaction to this breaking news.