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Achieving re-designation as a Technological University will ensure that the region maintains a high standard of education provision within a soon-to-be restructured national higher education landscape.

The specific areas for collaboration between the Alliance partners include:

  • Enhanced flexible learning delivery, including online and blended delivery, to provide greater access to programmes and specialist knowledge to those in full-time and part-time work.
  • Greater collaboration on joint applied research, development and innovation activities between the three Institutes and other universities and institutes under a new common Research, Development and Innovation Strategy.
  • Working with the new Local Education and Training Boards to provide enhanced access, transfer and progression opportunities from further to higher education.
  • A common International Strategy for the Connacht Ulster region to drive international student recruitment.

The changing Higher Education Landscape in Ireland

The publication of "The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030" (link) in January 2011 has initiated a period of major change across the higher education landscape. The report and its recommendations were accepted by the then Government and subsequently by the current Government, and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has the responsibility for implementing the strategy.

The National Strategy has created an opportunity for merged Institutes of Technology to achieve Technological University status, subject to fulfilling a set of exacting criteria. The Connacht-Ulster Alliance was form to seek to establish a Technological University (TU) in the Connacht-Ulster Region.

The Alliance partners set out the case for a TU at a meeting with Oireachtas Members in September 2012 (PDF) and subsequently to the HEA in February 2013.

Collaboration between the three Institutions continues to deepen as the Alliance begins to respond with one voice to implementation of the National Strategy.

The drafting of Performance Compacts between each HEI and the HEA in late 2013 saw the CUA Partners making substantially similar submissions based on agreed plans, whilst still incorporating the unique and particular individual objectives of each institution.

The National Strategy has mandated the establishment of regional clusters of higher education providers to improve access for students whilst increasing the efficiency of delivery of programmes. The CUA Alliance is becoming a partner with NUIG in a Regional Cluster of HEIs for the West / North West Region. Initial objectives for the cluster have been agreed (click here for pdf) and funding has been provided by the HEA to support the achievement of these objectives.