Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today (6 November 2019) welcomed the report of the TU Research Network (TURN): Connectedness and Collaboration enabled by Connectivity, which was presented to the department by the TURN high level working group.
Minister McHugh said: “Technological universities are a core part of this government’s plan to meet the challenges facing us as an economy and a society.
Speaking at an event to launch the report at the department’s Marlborough Street campus, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “As Minister for Higher Education I am deeply committed to supporting the development of technological universities in the State and established the legal framework for Technology Universities in Ireland in the Technological Universities Act, 2018.
Properly resourced and empowered TUs will provide a more diverse, flexible and dynamic tertiary education system.
TUs will marry both an attractive physical multi-campus presence with state-of-the-art digital connectivity, providing new modes of learning where the student and learner is placed centre-stage and can access course content and avail of first-class tuition irrespective of location or circumstance. This will be achieved by focusing on the three main themes identified in the TURN report: reforming the policy and funding framework for TUs; investing in their digital infrastructure; and building and strengthening their research capacity.
Each TU will serve as an anchor institution in the development and advancement of its region. Drawing frontier technological developments to regions through intensive collaboration, engagement with and connectedness to national and international researchers will be fundamental to TUs acting as regional knowledge hubs. These hubs will, in turn, act as major catalysts for further direct investment, research, innovation and employment growth in a self-generating virtuous circle.
The report correctly emphasises that Government must continue to support TUs both in their pathway to establishment and in their vital formative years. There are critical actions that must be taken to ensure this happens as set out in the TURN report.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor concluded: “The higher education multi-campus, digitally enhanced and research-oriented model and accompanying regional development transformation envisaged by TURN will be achieved through significantly increased levels of funding and through appropriate policy development, to give TUs the optimal conditions to succeed. Success for TUs is success for Ireland, regionally, nationally and internationally. It is success writ large for students, staff, employers and local communities.