Prof. Philip Nolan, President, Maynooth University said: "Formalising the cluster will allow us to enhance current and future provision at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It will, in particular, help us to improve the quality of postgraduate education, especially at PhD level, by providing for joint teaching and supervision. We can connect specialised areas of research thus enhancing the sustainability of this expertise in our organisations, and better linking it to enterprise.”
“The formation of a Regional Cluster Strategic Partnership provides exciting opportunities for the development of higher education across the Midlands-East and North Dublin Region,” declared President of DCU, Prof. Brian MacCraith. Creation of this cluster is in line with the HEA “Towards a Future” report which sets out a vision for the higher education landscape in Ireland.
The 4 parties to this agreement have distinctive yet complementary visions for higher education across the region. Each organisation will continue to function independently but will collaborate on activities that are mutually beneficial to help them achieve national educational objectives.
Prof. Ciarán O Cathain, President, Athlone Institute of Technology explains “Each of our organisations have clearly demonstrated a leadership role in our local environments. Maynooth University and Athlone Institute of Technology already have a shared history of successful collaboration on bi-lateral projects, as have DCU and DkIT. This next step, in formalising collaborative efforts between all 4 parties, will strengthen the educational offering to students across the Midlands-East and Dublin North region.
The Memorandum of Understanding commits the 4 parties in the agreement to working collaboratively on 3 key areas. President of Dundalk Institute of Technology Denis Cummins expounds “By establishing a shared academic planning process, a regional approach to transfer and progression and a shared approach to enterprise and community engagement we will further enhance the learning environment and educational opportunities for both full and part-time higher education students. This strategic cluster will also create greater academic supports for staff and students and will enhance effectiveness and provide opportunities for greater efficiencies.”
“The Midland-East and North Dublin Region Cluster stands as an exemplar in clustering. Our long history of successful collaboration, strategic working groups and continuous and dynamic innovation will serve the future of education in this region well.” concluded Prof. MacCraith.