Efforts to create the much needed South East University have stepped up a gear with a formal announcement yesterday.
This was made by the two institutes of technology in the region. Waterford IT and IT Carlow will submit a detailed business plan for the Technological University to the Higher Education Authority early next year.
The establishment of a multi campus Technological University in the south east is a key recommendation of the programme for government and is seen as a critical component of the infrastructure required to ensure sustainable economic development in the region.
It is expected that a site in the centre of the city, possibly Smithwicks brewery (which will close in December), will be included in the blue print located as it is, mid-way between Carlow and Waterford.
Colin Browne, Senior Director, Online Operations with Microsoft Ireland, a former graduate of both institutes, and native of the South East, living in Wexford, becomes chair of the Project Implementation Board for the university.
The Technological University will be a regional multi-campus university and will operate campuses in Waterford, Carlow, Wexford and Kilkenny. It will have over 15,000 students and produce more than 4,500 graduates per annum to meet the needs of industry and enterprise across all disciplines including business, engineering, science and the humanities.
It will employ over 1,300 staff and is estimated to be worth €250 million to the regional economy. Its focus on research development and innovation, resourced by a €25 million per annum budget, will drive the creation of new knowledge and business in key economic activities such as agriculture, information technology, engineering, tourism and the environmental, biological and pharmaceutical sciences.
A joint technological university office is being established (possibly in Kilkenny) to oversee and deliver on the business plan and the consolidation.
Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan welcomed the appointment of Colin Browne to the Implementation Board.
“The establishment of a Technological University in the south east is critical for the economic development of the region. I am delighted with the spirit of co-operation being shown by both Institutes in working to achieve university status. The University through its multi-campus structure will house and nurture up to 100 new and emerging enterprises as well as creating strategic working partnerships with multinational and indigenous business focussed on job creation activities. It will also function as a university of international reputation realising up to 1000 international enrolments through the creation of partnerships in 35 countries,” he said.