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Minister Harris welcomes establishment of South East Technological University and its first president

1st May 2022



Minister Harris welcomes establishment of South East Technological University and its first president


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (May 1st 2022) welcomed the establishment of the South East Technological University (SETU).


From today, Waterford Institute of Technology and IT Carlow will be dissolved and a stand-alone university presence in the region will be created.


Professor Veronica Campbell will become the first president of the new Technological University, subject to her formal appointment by the first governing body of SETU. The governing body is to be chaired by Dr Paddy Prendergast.


Minister Harris said: “This really is a red letter day for the South East. I am tremendously proud to be a part of the team of many, many people, staff, students and wider regional stakeholders who after a journey of some 10 years or more have arrived at this point.


“Now for the first time a university stands in the South East. This new university can build on the enormous strengths of both institutes and really put a mark on the quality of higher education, employment, enterprise and skills creation, expanded research, socio-economic and regional development in the vibrant South East. The new university will be building on and with very firm foundations.


“Today would not be happening if it were not for the hard work put in across the past decade by staff, management, students and the people of the South East. While today is the start of a brand new journey, it is only one step on the road. This will be matched by investment, investment in infrastructure and new buildings, investment in education, investment in research.”


Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins said: “I, too, wish the new TU, Professor Campbell and the incoming governing body and the staff and students of SETU all the very best as they take their rightful place in an Irish higher education landscape that has changed immeasurably in the last four years.”


“I am sure the new TU under Professor Campbell’s stewardship will bring immense drive and ambition in overseeing the delivery of SETU’s strategic objectives and missions not least in advancing the regional development agenda.”


The Chairperson of the Governing Body, Prof Patrick Prendergast said: “The creation of South East Technological University is a momentous day for the south east of Ireland.


“It marks a new dawn for the region, and we in the Governing Body share an immense pride with the staff and students of SETU in all that has been achieved to make our new university a reality.”


Prof Campbell added: “We are ambitious for our new university and for our region. We want to become a leading European technological university, transforming lives, and driving growth through excellence in learning, research, collaboration and innovation. SETU will play a pivotal role in regional development, attracting talent, inward investment and research opportunities to the south east.”


On 1 May the South East Technological University (Ollscoil Teicneolaíochta an Oirdheiscirt), will officially open its doors, and students graduating in the current 2021/2022 academic year will do so with university level qualifications.





Notes to the Editor


South East Technological University

The establishment of South East Technological University (Ollscoil Teicneolaíochta an Oirdheiscirt) follows the submission of an application by Waterford and Carlow institutes of technology on 30 April 2021, the assessment by an international advisory panel of the application and a report thereon by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) report, and thereafter the designation by the Minister of the new technological university (TU) on 11 February 2022. Students of the predecessor institutes who graduate this academic year of 2021/2022 will do so with university qualifications.

The first president designate is Professor Veronica Campbell, a professor of neuropharmacology andwas the first person in Ireland in the modern era to investigate the pharmacology of cannabinoids. She is a TCD Fellow, former dean of graduate studies and served as the College’s Bursar and director of innovation from 2015 until 2021. Professor Campbell has a proven track record of strategic project delivery during the time at Trinity.

In February 2022, Minister Harris appointed the first governing body to the new TU. The governing body, which comes into effect upon the appointed day of establishment of the new university on 1 May, will be chaired by Dr Prendergast, the former Provost of Trinity College. He will be joined by Mr Jim Bergin, CEO of Glanbia, and Ms Ruth Beadle, who holds a key leadership role at Sanofi, which has a manufacturing facility in Waterford and Mr. Kevin Lewis, Chief Executive of Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board. This first governing body has 6 months from the date of establishment to fill out the entirety of the governing body of between 14 - 22 members through legislatively prescribed election and appointment procedures.

The new TU has total student population of some 18,500students at 4campuses. This is the fifth TU to be created since 2019 and represents a milestone in higher education provision for the South East which has never had its own university rooted in the region.

Providing higher educational programmes across all levels of the National Framework of Qualifications including both apprenticeships and doctoral degrees, the new TU will play a pivotal role in the strategic development of the South East.

The new TU aims to ensure growth in education provision and enhanced research opportunities, as well as dynamic community and industry engagement across the region. Through its support for industry and communities, the new TU can make its region more attractive for indigenous Small Medium Enterprises (SMI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by linking to opportunities in knowledge creation and innovation. This in turn contributes to the development of viable and vibrant communities that can offer an economically and socially desirable regional counterbalance at national level.

The new TU in the South East presents an opportunity to enhance, accelerate and amplify the ambition to contribute to the sustainable development of the region it serves reflected through teaching and learning excellence, research, development, innovation and engagement activities including in a cross-border collaborative context.


Programme for Government Commitment

Advancement of the TU agenda is a commitment in the Programme for Government 2020. TUs will significantly enhance progress towards national priorities in the areas of access to higher education, research-informed teaching and learning, supporting enterprise and enhancing regional development.

TUs, acting as catalysts for innovation and regional development, bring a range of benefits to their regions and hinterlands including increased FDI and capital investment, research funding, international recognition and enable students, staff, enterprise, business and the wider community to avail of increased opportunities in their own areas which, in turn, stand to reap the rewards of further socio-economic progress.


The Technological University Agenda:


The development and progression of technological universities (TUs) is an established policy objective of Government in the context of higher education landscape restructuring, research capacity building and socio-economic regional development. It has its genesis in recommendations contained in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 published in 2011.

Government announced in Budget 2020 the provision of €90 million over three years under a TU Transformation Fund to support Institutes of Technology to jointly achieve TU designation and to further the advancement of established TUs. This dedicated funding is additional to the €31 million in Exchequer funding invested in TU development and progression since 2013. To date some €60 million of the Transformation Fund has been allocated to relevant Higher Education Institutes through the HEA with the final funding tranche of €30 million to be allocated later this year.

To date the former TUSEI consortium of WIT and IT Carlow has received over €14.3 million in Exchequer funding to advance its TU proposals, made up of TU Transformation Fund and Landscape Funding.

In addition, €40 million is being allocated to a sector wide TU education and reforms project under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan in the period to 2024.

Minister Harris’s Department, working in conjunction with the HEA, is also advancing a further TU oriented research funding application worth some €83 million under the auspices of the European Regional Development Fund 2021-2027.






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