GMIT and NUI Galway Collaborate On Driving Knowledge Region

Monday, 25 February 2008

NUI Galway and GMIT have formed a strategic alliance to develop Galway and surrounding areas into a recognised "Knowledge Region".

Together they have secured funding of €824,000 under the Strategic Innovation Fund, which supports Higher Education reform. The funding will be used to stimulate economic development, provide a greater range of services to communities, business and industry, and enable people to avail of higher education in the region.

This concerted collaborative approach to regional development will deliver greater benefits than could be achieved by implementing parallel programmes.

Professor Jim Browne, Registrar and Deputy-President of NUI Galway, welcomed the announcement saying; "The concept of a 'Knowledge Region' is an emerging phenomenon involving the interaction of governmental agencies, knowledge based enterprises and third-level institutions to combine efforts and define common agendas to the benefit of the region. NUI Galway and GMIT, with their history of cooperation and interaction with industry, development agencies and social and cultural organisations in the Galway area, are well placed to act together as a catalyst for further development".

Marion Coy, President of GMIT, said: "This strategic alliance is timely in view of the recent push to pour more investment into the eastern region, particularly as there is concern at the lack of focus, and a sense of urgency, around the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy."

"Together we will seek to identify services we can offer, look at the expansion of our academic programmes and engage in the joint promotion of higher education in international markets which has potential in relation to the development of tourism. We will also seek to identify how we can promote the region as a centre for new business development and growth."

"Developing a knowledge region is the only way to ensure that community life will continue to thrive. This approach harks back to the 'Meitheal' and the belief that we will all be stronger and more successful when we work together, share a vision and drive forward the good of the region," added the GMIT President.

The NUI Galway and GMIT collaborative project is one of a range of proposals approved for SIF funding. GMIT was also approved SIF funding worth over €4m for two further projects, both of which will be led by the Institute - "Student-Led Learning" and "Curriculum Reform", which is also a joint collaborative project with NUI Galway.

The Strategic Innovation Fund allocated a further €3 million to NUI Galway for the continuation of its academic reorganisation and the development of graduate schools. NUI Galway expects to be a major beneficiary of funds reserved under the SIF initiative for major IT systems development towards transforming the student experience in a cohesive and integrated manner.

Professor Browne added that the funding provided to NUI Galway in support of its new academic structures and graduate education was evidence of the progress being made by the University in both areas.

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