Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology welcome €200m announcement of investment in Institutes of Technology
The Presidents of Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Dr. Patricia Mulcahy and Professor Willie Donnelly respectively, both welcomed the announcement today (16th October) of a single major capital investment in higher education. The announcement, made jointly 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.
Amongst the 11 projects announced by the Minister is an Advanced Science and Technology Building for Institute of Technology Carlow and an Engineering, Computing and General Teaching Building for Waterford Institute of Technology.
The Advanced Science and Technology Building at Institute of Technology Carlow is expected to provide facilities to accommodate the ongoing expansion of higher education opportunities, research and innovation across the science and health disciplines. The ultra-modern facility will be located on the Kilkenny Road adjacent to the Institute’s Dargan Centre for Research and Innovation.
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.
Both projects have been selected for inclusion in the Programme following a detailed assessment undertaken by the Department of Education and Skills and the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which took account of factors such as projected enrolments, capacity to deliver on skills requirements, the potential to contribute to regional development, and an economic analysis of the costs and benefits. The relevant circumstances of each institution and the objective of achieving maximum impact from the limited capital envelope were also key considerations.
Welcoming the announcement, President of Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, said, “This investment announced today for Institute of Technology Carlow by Minister Bruton and Minister Mitchell O’Connor is very significant for our region and country and is underpinned by an experienced and ambitious faculty who have established strong national and international networks, and a track record of new innovative offerings across areas as diverse as Biopharma, Medtech, Environmental, Agri-Food and Health Sciences.”
“At this transformational time in our history, we are working determinedly towards Technological University designation. Our vision prioritises a strategic focus on meeting the technological needs of the economy and society. Consistent with this, full-time learners pursuing STEM programmes continues to increase across a broad range of Science, Health, Engineering and Technology disciplines. We thank the Ministers for this investment in our Institute and look forward to working with the HEA, the NDFA and the Department of Education and Skills to bring the facility on-campus as soon as possible”, added Dr. Mulcahy.
“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.
“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 lifelong learning”, added Professor Donnelly.
Speaking at the event, 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.”
In the next stage of the process, the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) will procure technical advisers on behalf of the Department to bring the projects through planning and to procurement stage. It should be noted that value for money aspects will continue to be monitored as projects are progressed, including updating economic appraisals where necessary, and undergoing the value for money tests that form part of PPP assessment. A project may be removed from the Programme if value for money requirements are not met.
The total floor area in new infrastructure to be delivered through the PPP programme will be over 70,000m2. The floor area of each building will be confirmed as part of the detailed technical design process, review of Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBAs), and engagement with each Institute of Technology. Costs for each building will not be announced as is the norm in such a PPP procurement process. The total capital envelope for the programme amounts to approximately €200 million ex VAT.