The Department of Education has announced the allocation of funding aimed primarily at the creation and expansion of technological universities.

TU Dublin, which comprises the former Dublin, Blanchardstown and Tallaght Institutes of Technology, has received €3.8 million from the almost €15m fund, a portion of which also goes towards the promotion of cross-border third level projects.

Four other consortiums, made up of groups of Institutes of Technology that are working towards the creation of new four new technological universities, have received €2m each.

Announcing the funding under the Higher Education Landscape fund, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said it would help the third level institutions to "develop and align courses, push on in the field of research and ultimately progress to technological university status".

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, said the emergence of the technological university sector was "the single most important development in the higher education landscape of recent years and a very significant element of the national research agenda".

She said their development was pivotal in assisting in the delivery of national strategic priorities, including widening higher education access and increasing regional development and socio-economic progress.

TU Dublin was established at the start of this year and is now the largest Higher Education Institution in the State, with over 28,000 students.

Technological University development consortia currently include:

  • The Munster Technological University consortium, comprising Cork IT and IT Tralee, which submitted an application for TU designation last February.
  • The TU South East Ireland grouping, made up of IT Carlow and Waterford IT, which is developing an application.
  • The Connacht Ulster Alliance, comprising Galway-Mayo IT, Letterkenny IT and IT Sligo, which is in an earlier stage of proposal development.
  • Athlone IT and Limerick IT are in the process of forming a consortium with a view to making an application for TU designation.