WIT to receive funds for new building as part of €200m investment in institutes of technology

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) President Prof Willie Donnelly has welcomed the announcement today (16 October) of a single major capital investment in higher education.

The announcement, made by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, promises funding for 11 major capital investment projects which will deliver brand new state of the art facilities to institutes of technology across the country.

In line with the Government’s strong focus on STEM, including ICT, engineering and life sciences to drive regional development, the project at WIT will consist of the construction of a new Engineering, Computing and General Teaching Building at WIT’s Cork Road Campus. The 12,900 square metres building will provide students access to state of the art infrastructure and a modern student environment.

“WIT welcomes this major investment,” stated Waterford Institute of Technology President Prof Willie Donnelly. “The facilities on offer will be integral to the transformation of education in the South East, positioning WIT at the forefront of defining the 21st Century University environment,” he said.

The facilities available will prepare graduates for a future which sees the convergence of STEM and creative arts. It will also act as a 'shared space' which will see industry and students working side by side in the same environment.

“The new facility enables the institute to realise its philosophy of creating an integrated creative, entrepreneurial and connected learning environment which allows greater interaction between the undergraduate, postgraduate and industry to deliver a unique learning experience to our students whether traditional undergraduate students, postgraduate or life long learning,” he added.

The world class teaching facilities will enable WIT to deliver new flexible modes of learning based on face to face, online and blended learning environment.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. stated: “I have set the ambition to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. State of the art facilities are key to realizing this ambition. These projects will be delivered in every province, in locations extending from Letterkenny to Waterford, and from Galway to Dublin.

The delivery of these projects, together with the additional €257m over three years capital funding which we secured last week in the Budget, mark a turning point for State investment in the higher education sector. They demonstrate the commitment of the Government to supporting the sector in catering for demographic growth, responding to skills needs in the economy and improving the campus environment for students and staff.”

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D. Stated “Institutes of Technology have been disproportionately affected by the fall-off in capital investment in higher education over the past decade. And yet they have still shown a level of flexibility and innovation that rivals any other sector. In recent times the infrastructure hasn’t evolved or improved quickly enough to match their dynamism. We’re starting the process of changing that today.

Many of our Institutes are working towards the attainment of Technological University status and the new infrastructure will support them in that aim. The move towards Technological Universities is a game changer for the sector. It’s a significant, welcome structural change. And is an example of the kind of vision and big thinking we need to progress our society.”

The Chief Executive of the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), Dr Joseph Ryan welcomed the announcement.

“We are delighted to acknowledge this, the first major capital investment in the technological sector in ten years,” stated Dr Ryan.

“The sector has consistently out-performed itself despite core funding per student dropping by 22% in the seven-year period to 2015. Government has committed to address the current spending challenge and that work is underway; this complementary injection of capital funding into our Institutes of Technology will greatly enhance the student experience and will support the delivery of highest class education and training throughout the technological sector. 

This technological sector has been central to regional and national economic development in ensuring an ongoing stream of employment-ready graduates, and in supporting innovation and product development through impact-focused research. It is work that is catalytic for each region and community and it is key to delivering on the current suite of Government policy that is designed to sustain our economic recovery.

Today's announcement supports and will enhance the valued relationship that exists between the Institutes of Technology and local enterprise; it supports Government policy on regional development and Integration with the identified needs of local industry; and is timely as we transition towards the introduction of Technological Universities.”


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