Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has appointed Tom Boland, a former Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), as the new programme executive director for the Technological University for the South East (TUSE) consortium.
In his new role, Boland will push forward government plans to establish a technological university in the South-East.
The TUSE consortium comprises the Carlow and Waterford Institutes of Technology, which will merge to form the new technological university.
In a press statement, Harris said that the former chief executive of the HEA “is a highly regarded and high reputation leader within the Irish higher education sector with huge experience and expertise in higher education”.
“It is a priority for me as Minister on behalf of the Government and representing the interests of all in the South-East wishing to see the early establishment of a university in the region that his work with the consortium should be a success.”
The Technological Universities Act was passed in 2018, putting measures in place for the transfer of functions, assets, liabilities and staff from institutes of technology to technological universities.
Harris said that “the South East is the only region in the State that does not have the benefit of a university presence”.
“This Government recognises the urgency attached to the requirement for a technological university for the South East of Ireland and is committed to delivering on our Programme for Government commitment.”
“A TU in the South East will re-energise the region and bring significant benefits in terms of increased reach, international recognition, research capacity building, FDI attraction, skills retention and creation and intensified regional development”, he added.
In 2015, both institutions published their plan for the technological university and received funding under a HEA Scheme for the project.
Earlier this month Harris said that he was “eager to push forward with the technological university agenda”. In a tweet, Harris said that technological universities were a “priority for government”.
At the time, Labour councillors hit out at the government for delays in establishing the TUSE.
The councillors said that if progress hadn’t been made on TUSE by September, the government should support Waterford Institute of Technology’s application for university status.