I thank Deputy Burke, again not just for the question but for his very significant and sustained support for this project and his interest in the developments in higher education in the Cork area. We have had many conversations on this and I look forward to continuing to work with him on this and visiting Cork Institute of Technology, which will then be Munster technological university after an official commencement in January.
The creation of technological universities is an important part of the Government’s higher education and regional development policy, and both should be seen together. There should be as many opportunities as possible for people to access the full range of qualifications on the national qualifications framework, but the regional development policy should ensure that people in all parts of our country can access education and that jobs and investment come to those regions as well.
The establishment of Munster technological university on 1 January 2021, now just days away, will lead to us having a second technological university in the country following the establishment of the Technological University of Dublin on 1 January 2019. This shows the advances we are making in a new and exciting era in Irish higher education.
The establishment of technological universities creates institutions of sufficient size, capacity and critical mass to strengthen educational offerings greatly and attract greater investment for regions, as I have said. The benefits of becoming a successful technological university are significant in terms of increased reach, international recognition, research capacity building, foreign direct investment attraction, skills retention and creation, regional development, enhanced staff and student experience and opportunities, and socioeconomic progression.
I have no doubt technological universities will help retain talent in regions by strengthening the offer available to students who will be able to continue to masters and postgraduate level, including PhDs. A key mission is the building of research capacity and the promotion of innovation.
I commend Cork Institute of Technology, and I know the Deputy has worked closely with it, on its proud track record in the delivery of education in the Cork region. I thank the people involved for taking this very exciting step forward. I know when I had to sign the dissolution order for Cork Institute of Technology, it was a day for remembering all the good it brought but it was also an exciting day and a new dawn.