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Plans to create a technological university in BMW region

The five institutes of technology in Ireland's border, midlands and west (BMW) region are thrashing out the idea of creating a technological university, which would also ignite greater linkages with local industry.

If it goes ahead, the steering group behind the initiative says such a university will be the largest higher-education institution of its kind in the State, with the capacity to take in up to 27,000 students.

The steering group comprises presidents and senior staff of Athlone Institute of Technology, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and Institute of Technology, Sligo.

One of the aims of the steering group is to interact closely with industry via the technological university.

Michael Carmody, president of GMIT, said such a university might also involve joint programmes between campuses and allow local businesses to engage with the programmes.

Criteria for the technological universities are due to be published in February.

The institutes of technology in the BMW region already collaborate closely via the Líonra network, which also includes NUI Galway and St Angela's College.

Líonra was set up in 1999 to spark innovation and knowledge-based economic renewal in the BMW region.