As you are aware, I endorsed the framework for system development laid out in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 which outlines a developmental pathway towards designation as a Technological University for merged institutes of technology who seek to apply.
In relation to the evolutionary pathway laid out in the National Strategy for institutes of technology, the implementation process is well underway. The Landscape document published in February 2012 lays out a clear four stage process and criteria for institutes of technology who wish to apply for designation as a technological university. The process for designation is designed to ensure educational quality, objectivity, international expertise, fairness and transparency. The process will consist of four stages overseen by HEA, with an independent international panel of experts to advise the Authority in the final stages.
The first stage requires institutes of technology to submit a formal expression of interest in merging and seeking designation. I understand from HEA that three such expressions of interest have been received including one from Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee. The Higher Education Authority are considering all proposals and their advice on system configuration will include their advice on the progress of institutes of technology interested in seeking designation to the second stage of the designation process. I am expecting to receive their advice for my consideration shortly.
Having regard to the process that has been put in place to assess proposals for designation as technological universities I do not propose to comment specifically on any potential applications for designation by any group of Institutes of Technology.