THIS afternoon (May 1), a day that has been spoken about, written about and speculated upon finally came to be – the establishment of a university in the South East, to be called the South East Technological University (SETU).
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris officially signed the order under the Technological Universities Act 2018 to establish South East Technological University (SETU) on the first day of May.
Red Letter Day
“This really is a red letter day for the South East. Now for the first time a university stands in the South East,” Minister Harris said. “This new university can build on the enormous strengths of both institutes and really put a mark on the quality of higher education, employment, enterprise and skills creation, expanded research, socio-economic and regional development in the vibrant South East. The new university will be building on and with very firm foundations.”
Minister Harris committed to investment in the university. “While today is the start of a brand new journey, it is only one step on the road. This will be matched by investment, investment in infrastructure and new buildings, investment in education, investment in research.”
He officially designated the inaugural President of SETU – Professor Veronica Campbell, who spoke after the first official meeting of the Governing Body, chaired by Prof Patrick Prendergast.
“We want to become a leading European technological university, transforming lives and driving growth through excellence in learning, research, collaboration and innovation,” Prof Campbell said. “SETU will play a pivotal role in regional development, attracting talent, inward investment and research opportunities to the South East. For the first time, the South East now has its own university, allowing students from the region to live at, or near to, home while pursuing an incredible breadth of courses up to doctorate level.”
Prof. Prendergast added: “The creation of South East Technological University marks a new dawn for the region, and we in the governing body share an immense pride with the staff and students of SETU in all that has been achieved to make our new university a reality.”
SETU has evolved out of the institutes of technology at Waterford and Carlow and brings together over 50 years of experience in higher education, research, innovation and stakeholder collaboration. It will be a regional university, with campuses across the South East in Waterford, Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow and Kilkenny. Today SETU serves over 18,000 students and employs over 1,500 staff with ambitions to grow our student numbers to 25,000 with almost 2,000 staff in the next 10 years.
SETU brings together over 550 research active staff, nine research centres, one research institute and four Technology Gateways across Waterford and Carlow, expanding the range and quality of research to meet the needs of the South East. Over the five years from 2016 to 2020 alone, researchers from SETU have successfully attracted over €95 million in research funding from a variety of European and national funding agencies, state bodies and industrial partners.
As part of the change, WIT Arena will now be known as SETU Arena.