The Letterkenny Institute of Technology has reached a huge milestone after it was given the green light to apply for university status.
The development comes weeks after the Government unveiled its vision of Letterkenny becoming a city region along with Derry and Strabane as part of Project Ireland 2040.
Donegal TD Joe McHugh has welcomed the move.
The Technological Universities Act 2018 was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on Monday March 19.
The key aim of the radical reform of the status of LYIT is to drive regional development and improve job creation in the region.
It builds on the deepened third level education ties that LYIT has developed after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in February along with University of Ulster, the North West Regional College and Donegal Education and Training Board with the aim of improving access to higher and further level education and training to students living and studying in the North West City region planned for Letterkenny, Strabane and Derry.
Deputy McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister for Gaeilge, An Gaeltacht and the Islands, said: “I am delighted that not only Letterkenny but Co Donegal has got the recognition it deserves.
“The production line of highly qualified graduates from the LYIT is testament to the dedication of staff and students alike and with this new progress on university status for the institution the success story will go from strength to strength.
“What this allows us to do is to create a new type of higher education, building on the strengths and mission of LYIT to develop a world class technological university in Donegal.
“Not only that but it will also give us the opportunity to drive regional development and provide more opportunities for individuals, for enterprise and for the community.
“It is an exciting development for the town and county and will help deliver the skilled and talented people the county needs to sustain entrepreneurship, enterprise and investment and spread the influence of Donegal across the north-west, nationwide and around the world.”
Under the legislation, the next step in the process is for applications for Technological University (TU) status to be submitted to the Higher Education Authority for assessment by an international panel of experts.
Letterkenny will form part of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance, alongside the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Sligo, giving the institutions greater pulling power to attract research funding and international students.
Applications will be submitted in the coming months and years by consortia of existing Institutes of Technology, which have come together to seek TU status.Tags: