Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ) has been named ‘Institute of Technology of the Year – 2018’ in the Sunday Times Good University Guide.
AIT has moved up in the rankings since last year, when it was awarded the runner-up position, finishing in 10th place. AIT’s strength in identifying areas of skills shortage and working with businesses to improve links between enterprise and academia were among the reasons for the Institute scooping the prestigious award.
Sunday Times editor Alastair McCall said that AIT’s rise in rank “further erodes the traditional divide in league tables between the universities and institutes of technology. It makes an attractive offer to students nationally and plays a pivotal role regionally as a centre of excellence in everything from polymer engineering to smart manufacturing,” adding: “Its win this year is thoroughly deserved.”
AIT’s association with polymer engineering is particularly strong, with PhD students graduating every year, as is its involvement in the biopharma and medical technology sectors. The IT offers a unique programme in microbiology that addresses a skills shortage in the midlands region - the only programme of its kind offered through the CAO. The student experience was also a factor in AIT’s win, with the IT noted for its openness and friendliness.
AIT graduates enjoy job success, with over 93 per cent of the graduate class of 2016 either employed, in training or in further study six months after graduation, a further testament to AIT’s innovative approach and close links with industry.
Commenting on the award, president of AIT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin said: “We have always been as ambitious for our institution as we have been for each and every one of our students. This award is an important inflection point in our near 50 year history as we continue to further solidify our status as an academic centre of excellence.”
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin “Boxer” Moran, congratulated AIT, saying that the award was a clear reflection of the progress that the IT has made over recent years. Moran said that “Athlone IT remains an integral part of the town’s social and community life while also successfully matching the needs and requirements of local industry through research and employment opportunities”.