Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has welcomed the enactment of the Technological Universities (TU ) Bill. The Bill paves the way for the development of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance which could create a new type of higher education institution to meet enterprise needs and drive regional development.
However, it has warned that the TUs will require significant public investment if they are to reach the scale needed to attract top academic talent and compete in the challenging international research environment.
John Brennan, Ibec West regional director, stated: “It is critical that that the new TU designation is not a re-labelling exercise of existing institutes of technology. The change of status should drive improved performance while stimulating the development of a new type of institution with a distinct mission and character that differentiates it from existing universities. These include a strong regional and enterprise focus.
“The TU offers considerable scope to improve how business and education institutions work together on a range of issues, including the development of more ‘work-ready’ graduates, employee upskilling, more effective knowledge transfer and an emphasis on close-to-market research. This will require a step-change in scale and capability.”