NUI Galway has set out a five-year investment strategy that will see the development of an innovation district, a new performance space, a library and a new sports campus.

The university, which is 175 years in existence, wants to be a driver of transformational change for Galway and the region.

The strategy wants to build on Galway's reputation as a centre of excellence for Medical Technologies, Data Science, Culture and Creativity, Climate and Oceans, and Public Policy.  

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said the strategy "is coming out of the values we would like to espouse as a university; values of respect, excellence, openness, sustainability, and as part of that we are really keen to work closely with the region."

The university wants to develop a new innovation district and a 'City Lab'.

"There's significant research expertise in the university in many areas - one of which is around planning, geography, public policy and we're keen to offer those facilities and that expertise to the city and the region more generally, in an area that would be a neutral space to think about the development of Galway more generally," Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The cost of implementing the strategy has not been revealed by NUIG, but Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said there's a certain amount of funding on stream already; the university will finance some of it itself, and it will avail of funding from the Urban Regeneration Fund.

"We cannot do this alone. We'll be working with friends, philanthropists, government," he said.

A recent investigation by the Charities Regulator found that money spent by NUI Galway's fundraising charity on luxury hotels and taxi trips from Galway to Dublin were "inconsistent" with value for money policies. 

The President of NUIG is not concerned that the findings of the report will affect fundraising for the university in future.

"The strategy is looking forward, and the polices that were raised in the regulators report are in the past," he said.

"We have reformed our policies and practices, and those issues raised by the regulator are no longer the policies and practices of NUI Galway.

"Accountability is a very important part of how we see ourselves as a university, and thinking about the future, support for the university is an important part of the community that we serve, and we are conscious of our responsibilities in that regard," the Professor stated.