Professor David FitzPatrick has been appointed the first head of the country's soon-to-be newest university.

He will become president of Technological University Dublin when it formally comes into being on 1 January.

TU Dublin, which is comprised of Dublin Institute of Technology, and the Blanchardstown and Tallaght ITs, will be the largest higher education institution in the State with almost 28,000 students and over 3,000 staff.

It will be a multi-campus university with campuses in Grangegorman, Blanchardstown and Tallaght.

Professor FitzPatrick is currently head of UCD's College of Engineering and Architecture, and Dean of Engineering.

He is also Provost of the Beijing-Dublin International College, a joint venture between UCD and Beijing University of Technology.

Professor FitzPatrick's term of office will begin on January first when Technological University Dublin is formally established by law. 

The Minister for Education Joe McHugh said Professor FitzPatrick would bring a wealth of knowledge, skill and experience to the new TU Dublin. 

He said his leadership would be critical in delivering on "the distinct mandate for Technological Universities", and that he looked forward "to working closely with TU Dublin, the other consortia currently working to apply for TU designation, other Institutes of Technology and their representative body THEA to ensure that that the technological higher education sector as a whole achieves the high level of ambition which it is setting for its future."

Students currently on courses in DIT, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Institute of Technology Tallaght will become the first graduates of a technological university in the State.

The new technological universities have been given a mandate which includes supporting innovation and engaging with local enterprises in their regions, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises.

There are currently three other consortiums seeking designation as technological universities. They are; the Munster Technological University (MTU), consisting of Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee; the Technological University for South-East Ireland (TUSEI), consisting of Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow; and the Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA), consisting of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Each consortium is at a different stage in the process.