NUI Galway leads the field with investments of more than €100 million in researc

Friday, 14 May 2004

The University outlines key achievements in the first year of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008) -

Key Achievements 2003-2004 include:

* A total of €68 million raised through PRTLI funding and €27million through CSETs to develop research programmes

* SFI awards amounting to €11 million

* Plans to develop €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre

* Introduction of new structures to sustain Irish medium education

* Alliance with IDP Australia to recruit international pool of students

* Continued focus on access based initiatives including development of web based programmes

Key Priorities 2004-2005:

* Physical development and reorientation of Campus

* Essential priority remains securing funding to develop a new €53m engineering facility

* Completion of new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences Building by September 2005

* Development of innovative programmes to attract High Quality Irish and International Students

One year on, following the launch by the National University of Ireland, Galway of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008), which outlined seven Strategic Priorities to form the strategic direction of the University and to tackle the challenges facing NUI Galway and the third level sector as a whole, The President of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, today, (May 14th 2004) updated on progress following the implementation of the priorities set out for completion in the first year of the plan.

The most significant development has been made in enhancing the University's strengths in the Research area. NUI Galway is one of only three universities to have had success in all three cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). A total sum of €68 million has been awarded to the University under this initiative. In addition, NUI Galway is the only university in Ireland to have been awarded two CSETs. The first of €12 million was awarded to establish the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the second of €15 million, to establish the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Funding of €11 million has also been awarded in all other Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) programmes. The second priority in the first year of the Plan has been to introduce a number of initiatives to improve student life. Part of this involves the development of the Physical Infrastructure on campus. Developments are well advanced to commence the construction of a €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre and architects have been appointed to draw up plans. The student body has agreed a levy that will contribute towards the Centre while €18 million has already been raised towards the project through private philanthropy. Plans are also underway to reorientate the campus and to develop a new entrance to the University. A new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences building are due for completion by September 2005.

Commenting on the developments to date, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, The President of NUI Galway said, "This has been a year of development for NUI Galway in what has been a very challenging time for the University sector as a whole. We have witnessed a year in which we have had to broaden our thinking and develop new ways to forge ahead with the implementation of this Strategic Plan. Despite these challenges, we have made significant progress in proceeding with our aims and objectives of developing a University which has, at its core, the ability to attract high quality Irish and international students and is also one of the leaders in the research field both in Ireland and internationally, as evidenced by the quality of the research programmes underway here.

This Strategic Plan (2003-2008) is a blueprint for change. This management team will continue to meet the strategic aims of this University by responding to this changing landscape within the third level education sector in Ireland. We will witness, not just a changing physical infrastructure within this campus over the next number of years, but we will also be adapting by developing new and innovative ways to respond to a competitive marketplace both for students and research.

Significant challenges lie ahead. We will attempt to face these head on by delivering on each of the seven strategic priorities outlined in this plan. Delivery of these will result in a University that is on the national and international radar for its accomplishments in the Research field and in the development of a University that is student focussed and is producing a calibre of student that is amongst the best in Ireland. Our key priority for next year will be to secure funding to develop an engineering facility to enable us to accommodate a growing number of students and retain our status as one of the leading engineering faculties in the country."

The third priority for the first year of the Strategic Plan has been to introduce new structures for the sustainable development of Irish medium education. To this end, Acadamh na hOllscolaiochta Gaeilge has been established to develop University courses through the medium of Irish, both on campus and at the University's three Gaeltacht centres. Appointments to senior positions including those of CEO, Academic Co-ordinator of an tAcadamh and Head of Management, have been made.

Amongst other achievements in the year under review include the establishment of an international office to coordinate admission of overseas students. In addition, NUI Galway has engaged the services of IDP Australia to recruit students from Asia, Middle East and South America. With these initiatives underway, it is hoped to increase the number of international students to 5% in 2005. Student retention has also been enhanced through the development of programmes in study skills, learning skills and time management.

Ends

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