Athlone IT consortium joins European University alliance

The Athlone IT and Limerick IT consortium announced today (Wednesday) that it has joined a new alliance which aims to increase collaboration between European universities and could allow students to obtain a degree by combining studies in multiple EU countries.

Athlone IT and Limerick IT, whose consortium plans to develop a new technological university for the Midlands and Mid-West, are among the eight members of 'Regional University Network - European Union' (RUN-EU).

Under the European Universities initiative, AIT and LIT will join their RUN-EU partners in creating one of several new European universities which aim to transcend languages, borders, and disciplines.

This ambitious project, involving the Irish institutes and others in Portugal, Hungary, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands, is expected to be completed by 2024.

The European Universities Network is part of an EU-wide ambition to create a centralised European Education Area that will give students an opportunity to study in several EU countries en route to completing their degree.

In a statement, the AIT-LIT consortium said the network would "increase the competitiveness of European universities" and help promote "the kinds of future and advanced skills necessary for social transformation across the EU."

The local consortium said its membership of the European Universities initiative aligns closely with its aim of developing a technological university that reflects the educational and economic needs of the Midlands and Mid-West regions.

"Membership of the European Universities initiative will aid us in achieving our technological university mission by enabling us to leverage international best practice, increase student and staff mobility while facilitating joint degree and research programmes,” explained Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, president of AIT.

“Internationalisation has always been at the heart of our educational approach, as it provides opportunities for growth and learning and gives our student body a well-rounded, holistic educational experience.

"We are looking forward to continuing to collaborate with like-minded higher education institutes across Europe who see, as we do, the value in sharing knowledge for the benefit of all," said Professor Ó Catháin.

AIT and LIT announced their intention to form Ireland’s next technological university last October and subsequently joined the Regional University Network (RUN-EU) - a precursor to their application under the European Universities initiative.

The RUN-EU network consists of Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal), Polytechnic of Cávado and Ave (Portugal), Limerick Institute of Technology (Ireland), Athlone Institute of Technology (Ireland), Széchenyi István University (SZE) (Hungary), Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK (Finland), NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), and FH Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (Austria).

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