Athlone based Senator, Gabrielle McFadden (FG ) has welcomed the decision this week of cabinet to approve progression of the Technological Universities Bill.
The Bill includes provisions to put in place a process for institutes of technology to apply to become Technological Universities (TUs ).
“As the only third level institution in the Midlands, Athlone Institute of Technology is a key element in the jigsaw of future growth and development of the region,” said McFadden. “It is a leader in the education sector, having recently been awarded the Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year.”
This award, coupled with the recent announcement of funding towards a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ) facility, marks an important milestone in AIT’s progress towards Technological University status.
“If Athlone IT were to be designated as a Technical University, it would represent a significant boost for the Midlands,” Senator McFadden continued. “I have campaigned on this issue for many years as I see it as a step change for Athlone and the surrounding counties. The IDA and Enterprise Ireland have identified that having a University is essential to delivering significant investment to the region.”
Achieving TU status has long been AIT’s ambition. Speaking on the matter earlier this year, president of AIT, Ciarán Ó Chatháin, said: “Since this process was set out, AIT has met all of the metrics and has been at the forefront of the Institute of Technology sector in terms of percentages of staff with PhDs, research activity, and the diverse nature of our student population. This excellent performance, including our ability to award PhDs in four areas, strengthened our justification to have a Technological University status.”