Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE)

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Department of Education and Skills (2019). Connectedness & Collaboration through Connectivity. Report of the Technological Universities Research Network to the Department of Education and Skills. Dublin, Eire : Department of Education and Skills.




The economic and social challenges and choices Ireland faces are set out and addressed in a wide range of Government strategies. The performance of the education system as a whole, and higher education, in particular, is critical to responding successfully to them. The introduction of Technological Universities into the higher education landscape in Ireland is a bold and important step towards meeting the challenges that we face. Though already part of the education landscapes of other countries, the Irish Technological University concept is distinctive in its rootedness in regional and local communities and economies, reaching out internationally from those roots and drawing international education and research practices directly back into the regions. The development in Ireland of this new university sector substantially enhances the capacity of the higher education system while also responding to Government priorities and societal challenges through: • providing a major opportunity for a fundamental re-evaluation within the Irish education system and Irish society of the role and value of core higher vocational, technical, technological and professional skills and qualifications to meet the demands and opportunities of the future world of work; • building a strengthened and deepened research capacity, in comparison with their antecedent bodies, with a focus on the needs of the economy and society, underpinned by a robust theoretical base. A strategic framework for these new universities, underpinned by clear statements of ambition and support, is essential to ensure the realisation of the full potential of technological universities. This report aims to set out that vision and ambition and how it can be achieved. It emphasises, in particular, the scope for these new universities to make a distinctive national and international contribution through connectedness and collaboration, enabled by digital connectivity throughout the regions in which they are rooted, enhancing opportunities for learners, employers and society, through: • research, teaching and learning informed by societal challenges to meet the employment and skills needs of Ireland’s regions, sourced through well-established and embedded links to employers and local communities, and benchmarked internationally; • provision across the full range of Levels 6-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) enabling the delivery of a comprehensive talent and skills pipeline to regional employers with an emphasis on STEM and other higher vocational, technical, technological and professional skills programmes; • high quality research concentrations, developed with a particular focus on industry collaboration and innovation; • universities of scale, operating on an international level and enabling a wider spectrum of provision and access through, for example, digital provision, allowing learners to progress beyond previous boundaries complemented by the continuation of the provision of the broad range of programmes at Levels 6-8 on the NFQ that already provide important educational pathways for many learners; and • operational autonomy and flexibility, as required by all universities, allowing for the efficient and effective development of teaching and learning, research and the associated facilities to meet the needs of future learners and employers and changing regional and national economies.

This report seeks to identify key actions and the next steps for the technological university sector to optimise its contribution to national economic and social development including:- • realigning and reshaping the policy and regulatory environment to accommodate a new type of university including, for example, accelerated reform of funding models and the establishment of university career frameworks to build capacity and scope for higher research and enhanced academic performance; • creating collaborative networks between technological universities and with other HEIs to jointly address key shared challenges and opportunities, building sectoral capacity and cohesion and reinforcing their role as drivers of regional investment; • building research capacity to secure the transformation of research performance required for technological universities to function as major engines of innovation and economic growth; and • investing in leading edge digital infrastructure, so that technological universities can connect with learners and other organisations effectively and consistently across their regions, prepare their learners for the changing digital economy, and collaborate seamlessly across the spectrum with regional, national and international research and training partners. The Technological University Research Network (TURN) Working Group has brought together this sector to identify their particular distinguishing characteristics as well as the key actions and projects required to enable their development and success. Our discussions have convinced me that the emergence of technological universities will provide a more diverse and successful national higher education system for Ireland, and add to its international standing. I believe this work provides the strong foundations upon which each technological university can deliver on its own distinct, unique and individual mission, values and purposes. It respects the potential diversity of each individual university as an inherent strength for the emerging sector and encourages each one to use the shared vision set out in this document as a framework for its own developmental journey. TURN’s work sets out a matrix of actions, within and across institutions, through which the potential of technological universities can be fully realised and harnessed for the benefit of Ireland and its regions. The recommendations at the end of this report set out the most critical enabling actions to attain this potential identified by the Group. It was a great pleasure and privilege for me to have had the opportunity to chair the work of this Group. I wish to pay tribute to the great commitment, energy, imagination and substantial expertise demonstrated by all members of TURN, its various working groups and wider contributors, and not least the Secretariat, for the quality of their contributions culminating in the completion of this report. 


Logos des universités associées au CRIFPE

Adresse civique

Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
90, avenue Vincent d'Indy
Pavillon Marie-Victorin – C-536
Outremont (Québec) H2V 2S9

Adresse postale

Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
CRIFPE – C-543
C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville
Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7