The presidents of NUI Maynooth and Athlone Institute of Technology have announced the formation of a new strategic partnership between their institutions. The partnership will facilitate collaboration in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes; student access and progression; research, commercialisation, and entrepreneurship; and internationalisation.
Building on the success of collaborative work between the institutions in recent years, the new formal partnership will bring developments in complementary research areas such as biosciences and chemistry. The institutions are currently exploring the possibility of offering joint programmes in biotechnology, sport, and health science.
The institutions together provide an extensive range of courses from levels 6-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ ). In 2010/11 they accounted for 26 per cent of the total numbers of students from counties Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Offaly, and Longford enrolled in higher education. The institutions already have an established record of collaboration specifically in relation to academic staff development, student access, and technology transfer, where the NUI Maynooth Commercialisation Office has established a partnership with AIT under the Enterprise Ireland National Technology Transfer Initiative.
President of Athlone Institute of Technology, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin said: “We are developing this formal strategic partnership for the benefit of our students and the wider economic and social development of the Midland and Mid-east regions. Together we can enhance the current and future provision of education and opportunities for progression of our students. By collaborating on specialist areas of research we can enhance our collective expertise and achieve efficiencies within the educational system.”
AIT and NUI Maynooth have been working together since 2011 in development of the strategic partnership. A Joint Working Group was set up by the institutions to identify key areas where collaboration will be most effective. The initial phase of the formal partnership is set to begin in September 2013.