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LIT and AIT want to join up to create a River Shannon-linked technological university

The goal is to create a new unique, disruptive technological university.

Students on the first day of term in Athlone IT.
Students on the first day of term in Athlone IT.
Image: Twitter/AthloneIT

ATHLONE INSTITUTE OF Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology are seeking to join together to form a new Technological University (TU) for the region.

The institutions say the intention is to create “a new type of networked university with the River Shannon forming its spine”.

The two campuses are about 90 minutes driving distance apart.

The move comes following last year’s Technological Universities Act which made it possible for two or more ITs to come together to seek technological university status.

The new law provides for this to happen subject to eligibility criteria and an assessment by an international advisory panel.

The governing bodies of both AIT and LIT met last week and formed a new consortium that will work towards the goal of governing the new TU.

Both institutions jointly applied for funding earlier this year to commence work on the TU consortium and will ultimately apply to the Minister for Education for TU status.

Athlone IT said it would create “a new unique, disruptive technological university for the for the midlands and mid-west regions”.

In a statement today, President of LIT Professor Vincent Cunnane said the move puts both institutions on the course to be designated as a technological university.

“LIT and AIT’s application is aimed at developing a new unique university with a strengthened regional focus that will benefit our staff, our students and the communities we serve,” he said.

Our intention is to build a new type of networked university with the River Shannon forming its spine. We will enhance our regional focus and our collaboration with partners here in the mid-west.

Cunnane added that the location of the technical university across the two campuses will make it accessible to “a large portion of the country’s population”.

Last year, Ireland got its first ever technological university after a merger between DIT and institutes of technology in Tallaght and Blanchardstown.

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Rónán Duffy

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