Regional Assemblies: 'NUIG and UL Strategic Alliance A Catalyst for Greater Regional Development'
Press Release, Feb 18th 2010
Ireland’s Regional Assemblies representing the Border, Midland and Western Region and the Southern and Eastern Region have jointly welcomed the launch of a Strategic Alliance between NUI Galway and the University of Limerick. Welcoming the announcement which was made in the presence of An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science, the BMW Regional Assembly Director Mr. Gerry Finn stated, “this framework for institutional collaboration represents a key milestone in the economic and social development of the West and Mid-West Regions. The Alliance can potentially function as a catalyst for economic growth in the wider region through its commitment to encouraging indigenous enterprise and foreign direct investment while also strengthening research and industry partnerships”. This was further emphasised by An Tánaiste Mary Coughlan who highlighted that this agreement was a “platform for growth at regional level”.
One of the Government's key priorities for the next decade is to transform Ireland’s economy into a high income, knowledge-based market economy, which is both innovative and creative, to this end the NUIG-UL Alliance complements the existing Collaborative Research and Innovation Strategy between third level institutions in the BMW Region, as well as a similar partnership agreement developed between UCD and Trinity College. In order for Ireland to deliver knowledge institutions which can fulfil these objectives the importance of developing cognitive connectivity along with traditional infrastructural development between regions and institutions is vital. The presence of the Taoiseach and his senior colleagues is an affirmation of the Government’s support for this type of partnership, Mr. Cowen stated “the Government is very happy to see that Ireland’s universities are coming up to the mark, moving from competition to collaboration on the world stage”.
Mr. Stephen Blair, the Director of the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly and current Chair of the Atlantic Gateway Steering Committee with responsibility for advancing the National Spatial Strategy’s Atlantic Gateway Initiative which seeks to facilitate the development of the Atlantic Gateway cities of Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford as a counterbalance to the dynamic economic corridor between Belfast and Dublin added, “the announcement of this strategic alliance compliments the ongoing enhancement of infrastructural connectivity between Galway and Limerick, which includes the commencement of a direct rail service at the end of March and the continuing work on the M18 bypass of Crusheen and Gort to open in 2011”.
Mr. Blair concluded, “the Regional Assemblies wish to compliment both NUIG and UL in coming together to develop this Strategy and we look forward to working with them through investment in the Priority for Innovation and the Knowledge Economy under the 2007-2013 Regional Operational Programmes in both Regions.”