'Boost to the Economy' as €130m Construction Plans Revealed by NUI Galway

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

NUI Galway's new Strategic Plan 2009-2014 was officially launched in Galway today (Wednesday, 16 December) by the University's President Dr James J. Browne. Key elements of the plan include a major €130m construction plan, increased numbers of spin-out companies, and a rise in numbers of mature, international and PhD students. "We are the biggest employer in Galway City, a fast growing and dynamic University, and increasingly recognised internationally for our research and scholarship", President Browne said. "Our strategic plan enshrines not only our commitment to supporting the social, economic, industrial and cultural development of the region, but our national role in supporting economic recovery. The strategic plan also cements our research ambitions which will bring further international recognition in our priority areas of expertise". NUI Galway will be a major contributor to the economy through its ambitious €130m in construction activity, which will ramp up throughout 2010. Five new buildings will be constructed, potentially creating hundreds of jobs in Galway City. Over one third of the funds for construction will come from philanthropic sources, due to intensive and very successful fundraising activity by Galway University Foundation. President Browne said the plans are a significant short-term boost to the economy and also put in place the long-term infrastructure to produce the graduates who will fuel the economic recovery to a Smart Economy. "We will play our part in revitalising the economy and developing the Smart Economy. We will do this by taking advantage of the value now available in the building industry to address our capital deficit and put in place the infrastructure to grow our research effort and our graduate output. Given that in the case of the planned research buildings the University is able to provide close to half of the cost in private philanthropic funding, we are planning significant additions to the nation's vital infrastructure at a minimal cost to the Exchequer, and ensuring the creation or preservation of hundreds of jobs in the construction industry". The new infrastructure requirements on campus stem from the rapid growth of research activity, in biomedical science for example, which directly supports the region's vital medical devices industry. Infrastructure requirements are also being fuelled by dramatic rises in student numbers. In the area of student numbers, NUI Galway's Strategic Plan sets out a target of 200 PhD graduates per year by 2014. By this time, non-traditional students will account for 7.5% of the total student population, international students for 15%, and mature students for 27%. The Strategic Plan firmly commits NUI Galway to leading the Smart Economy in the region and to its becoming a centre of innovation and enterprise for industries. Targets of a four-fold increase in patent filings, a five-fold increase in licence agreements and an average of five spin-out companies per year have been set. Online version of the Strategic Plan is available at www.nuigalway.ie/strategicplan.
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