Key elements of NUI Galway’s new Strategic Plan 2009-2014, which were launched this week, include a major €130m construction proposal, increased numbers of spin-out companies and a rise in the numbers of mature, international and PhD students.
Officially launched yesterday (Wednesday ) by the university’s president Dr James J Browne, he stated the college is the biggest employer in the city.
“We are a fast growing and dynamic university and are increasingly recognised internationally for our research and scholarship. Our strategic plan enshrines not only our commitment to supporting the social, economic, industrial and cultural development of the region but our national role in supporting economic recovery.
“The strategic plan also cements our research ambitions which will bring further international recognition in our priority areas of expertise.”
NUI Galway will be a major contributor to the economy through its ambitious €130m in construction activity, which will ramp up throughout 2010. Five new buildings will be constructed, potentially creating hundreds of jobs in the city. More than one third of the funds for construction will come from philanthropic sources due to intensive fundraising activity by Galway University Foundation.
President Browne said the plans will provide a significant short-term boost to the economy and put in place the long-term infrastructure to produce graduates who will fuel the economic recovery to a smart economy.
“We will play our part in revitalising the economy and developing the smart economy. We will do this by taking advantage of the value now available in the building industry to address our capital deficit and put in place the infrastructure to grow our research effort and our graduate output.
“Given that in the case of the planned research buildings the university is able to provide close to half of the cost in private philanthropic funding we are planning significant additions to the nation’s vital infrastructure. This will be at a minimal cost to the exchequer and will ensure the creation or preservation of hundreds of jobs in the construction industry.”
The new infrastructure requirements on campus stem from the rapid growth of research activity, in biomedical science for example, which directly supports the region’s vital medical devices industry. Infrastructure requirements are also being fuelled by dramatic rises in student numbers.
Regarding student numbers, NUI Galway’s strategic plan sets out a target of 200 PhD graduates per year by 2014. By this time, non-traditional students will account for 7.5 per cent of the total student population, international students for 15 per cent and mature students for 27 per cent.
The plan firmly commits NUI Galway to leading the smart economy in the region and to becoming a centre of innovation and enterprise for industries. Targets of a four-fold increase in patent filings, a five-fold increase in licence agreements and an average of five spin-our companies per year have been set.