Universities unite to boost investment


NUI Galway and the University of Limerick have announced a strategic alliance which they say will boost enterprise and foreign direct investment and strengthen research and industry partnerships.

The universities have a combined student population of more than 27,000 and almost 4,000 staff.

The alliance will focus on areas such as the biomedical device industry, software development and the 'green tech' sector. Its 'Link to Learn' student exchange programme will allow students at either university to choose modules from the other institution as part of their programme.

The universities will create a new medical academy at Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals and they are establishing a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US.

Welcoming the initiative, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said increased collaboration among our universities was "vital to upping our game in the intense ongoing global competition to come up with new ideas, new products and new services".

He said universities working alone were limited by their relatively small size in comparison with competitor institutions. "However, by working together they can begin to have a much bigger impact."

The alliance was also welcomed by the Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan, and Minister for Education, Batt O'Keeffe.