The establishment of technological universities, including one in the south east, is an important part of the Government's higher education policy.
Under the statutory framework detailed in the Technological Universities Act 2018, it is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant institutes of technology participating in a technological university development consortium to progress their plans to seek technological university designation.
In this context, Waterford Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Carlow, which form the Technological University for South East Ireland consortium, TUSEI, are currently working towards submission of an application for technological university designation under the 2018 Act.
In addition to the 2018 Act, the Government has put in place a number of very important supports enabling the establishment of technological universities.
The technological university research network, TURN, established by my Department completed a report, which I launched recently, Technological Universities: Connectedness and Collaboration through Connectivity. That report details the case and requirements for a State change in higher education reform whereby technological universities will assist in the delivery of national strategic objectives for regional socioeconomic development, higher education access, research and skills progression.
The report makes recommendations for the strategic development of technological universities in a structured system-wide approach and identifies the need for investment in integrated multi-campus digital infrastructure.
In response Government announced in budget 2020 the provision of €90 million over the next three years under a new technological university transformation fund to support consortia such as TUSEI to achieve technological university designation and the further advancement of established technological universities. This is in addition to the €31 million in Exchequer funding invested in technological university development to date, of which the TUSEI project has received €3.72 million.