Consortium of Technological Universities awarded €18.81m under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan
A consortium of Technological Universities in Ireland has been awarded an initial allocation of €18.81m under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) to support teaching and learning reforms arising from the experiences of digitally enabled education during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility is funded by the European Union and is the largest component of NextGenerationEU – the European Union’s response to the global pandemic.
This is the first tranche of €40m in NRRP funding which will be made available to the technological sector over two years (2022-2024) to support flexible course provision and increase participation in higher education by underrepresented groups alongside innovative approaches to addressing regional skills needs. This funding complements the €90m made available by Government over three years (2020-2023) to support the development and progression of technological universities through the Technological Universities Transformation Fund (TUTF).
The award was made to the NTUTORR (National Technological University Transformation for Recovery and Resilience) consortium consisting of Atlantic Technological University; Dundalk Institute of Technology; Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology; Munster Technological University; South East Technological University; Technological University Dublin; Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest; and the Technological Higher Education Association.
The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, welcomed this investment, saying:
The pandemic has accelerated changes to the way we live, study and work. Our higher education system demonstrated its agility in meeting the challenges of delivering quality education during the pandemic. This funding will enable the technological sector to systematise the learnings from the experience of digitally enabled education and support the provision of digitally enhanced teaching, learning and assessment to meet the needs of staff, students, and enterprise in the regions.
HEA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Alan Wall, said:
This considerable investment in the newly emerged technological university sector is a statement of confidence in its capacity to transform the teaching and learning experience of staff and students and to drive regional economic development. The collective delivery of this national programme by the technological sector is the realisation of the collaboration envisioned in the TURN Report and signals the transition to the next phase in the progression of the sector.
The NTUTORR (National Technological University Transformation for Recovery and Resilience) project is designed to transform learning, teaching and assessment by focussing on transforming the student experience and developing the capabilities of all staff to address a sustainable pedagogical and learning environment with a particular and critical focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and equality, diversity and inclusion.
The project has been informed by sector-wide evidence gathered as part of the “Next Steps for Teaching and Learning: Moving Forward Together” project coordinated by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, which addressed and reflected on, key lessons learned during the pandemic. The project also takes account of the data on students’ experiences during the period of public health restrictions in addition to their overall experiences of higher education gathered as part of the National Student Survey.
The project responds to the TURN Report (TU Research Network), highlighting the importance of digital infrastructure and ICT provisions for Technological Universities and the wider technological sector.