Limerick Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology have confirmed that they are to form a Technological University.

The governing bodies of both institutions met last week and have now formally confirmed the formation of the new TU consortium.

The announcement opens the pathway to begin work on the new university.

Both institutions made a joint application for funding earlier this year to commence work on the TU consortium.

President of LIT Professor Vincent Cunnane welcomed the move as "generationally significant for the midwest".

"LIT and AIT are now set on a trajectory towards achieving Technological University designation. This approach allows us to develop a unique new Technological University that will have a clear regional focus with a national and international outlook.

"Our intention is to build a new type of networked university with the River Shannon forming its spine. We will enhance our regional focus and our collaboration with partners here in the midwest," Prof Cunnane said.

"This puts us in a position to provide accessible Higher Education to a large portion of the country's population while strengthening our commitment to our regions.

"This is an approach that has increasingly been taken in the formation of new universities in Europe, and we see a major benefit for our stakeholders by adopting it in Ireland," he added.