Galway and Limerick universities form an alliance

On Thursday of this week NUI Galway and the University of Limerick will, according to the invitation to the event, launch ‘a major strategic alliance’.  The news of this proposed new partnership was made public yesterday by RTE in a report on its website and in an item on the television news. University presidents from other institutions had been alerted to this development a little while ago, but so far we do not know the exact nature of the alliance. In the RTE report it is said that the two universities want to ‘pool resources’ and develop a ‘combined strategy’ in order to create ‘centres of world class excellence’.

It is highly likely that the Irish higher education system will, over the period ahead, see a ‘clustering’ of institutional partnerships. First of these was the TCD-UCD ‘Innovation Alliance’ last year, and it is known that other inter-institutional talks (also including DCU) are under way. What is perhaps less clear is how the sector as a whole will operate, and the extent to which sector-wide initiatives can be pursued alongside the plans of specific strategic partnerships.

I look forward to hearing more about the NUI Galway/Limerick plan to be launched on Thursday, and I wish them well.

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11 Comments on “Galway and Limerick universities form an alliance”

  1. Vincent Says:

    I could see TCD and NUI,Galway working with a sight more harmony that I see with UL. People in Galway think Limerick as in ‘via’ to Boston. And really they thank God that they don’t get any nearer than Shannon. Ul and NUI,M would be a better match or UL and you.

    • Vincent, the similarities that once existed between DCU and UL (bearing in mind our common origins) are probably now gone. UL, as the only university in a significant catchment area, has become much more of a general university, whereas we (with a number of competitors in the immediate vicinity) have developed along a more focused, specialised route. I suspect there may now be more similarities between UL and NUIG, so that the link is not totally counter-intuitive.

  2. Aoife Citizen Says:

    Whenever I hear of these alliances, proposed or announced, my first thought is always how unnatural they are, how the two institutions involved each have something in there genes, their values, their atmosphere, their culture which is opposed to the other, not complimentary, but opposed. In each case, a real merging of the two institutions would destroy something in each, would prevent one or the other ever becoming itself and would cost us some of the unevaluable something that constitutes part of the value of an institution.

    This is really a great thing, it shows you just how diverse a third level culture this small island has managed to support. In fact, culturally the only two obvious mergers are UCD and UCC and the two NUIs, but in each case geography would make any such plan idiotic.

    Of course, what these alliances are about, or should be about, is finding quasi-autonomous parts of the university that can by fully merged, while leaving everything else separate: the TCD/UCD alliance, centered around a shared Innovation office, is a model and a very promising one. What next though, the obvious thing is to merge medical schools, in the case of NUI Galway and UL this would make a lot of sense but can you really see either institution relinquishing control of that valuable asset?

    • Aoife, I’m not sure that your description of the TCD=UCD alliance is necessarily what I see in practice: there seems to me to be a much broader linkage being attempted there, covering all areas including teaching. On the other hand I am not sure that what you call the ‘innovation offices’ have actually been merged…

      • Aoife Citizen Says:

        It is true that the innovations offices, meaning those structures that promote and support commercialization, haven’t merged, but I understand that to be what is planned. As for the rest of it, I only speak of what I see and my viewpoint doesn’t command much of a vista; I understand that we have a number of schemes for shared PhD teaching, again very sensible, but I don’t know of what beyond that has happened in practice.

        I have a few guesses as to what your own plans, hinted at above, might be: don’t do it!

  3. John Says:

    Personally I view the abolition of the NUI as progressive — particularly if it was the blockage that prevented these alliances from forming previously. I have yet to hear anyone argue for its retention or even to quantify its loss.

    That fact that (reformed) NUI membership or Senate voting rights were never expanded to include DCU and UL is shameful.

    Vincent’s slur of UL (and Limerick) is embarrassing to read. Intelligent readers will appreciate there is no need for a laborious rebuttal.

    • Vincent Says:

      Get over yourself, John. With Limerick it’s Cork or Dublin. Galway it’s Dublin. You actually have to think about going to Limerick from Galway and vice versa. Neither City is on the horizon of the other.
      And as to casting slur on Limerick, how about reading traffic into my comment and the circle of hell it is getting into Limerick from Shannon.

  4. iainmacl Says:

    what’s all this travel stuff, Vincent? You mean you still use your physical self and not your avatar?

    Some of us have been successfully running joint courses with videoconferencing systems for yonks (and now in HD, surround sound, telepresence and soon, 3D!! bring your glasses to the lecture theatre!) and even if we do want to travel don’t we have the new rail-link to look forward to?

    • Vincent Says:

      I’m sure Iain that is all grand. But nothing will convince me that any good for NUI,Galway can come of closer contact.
      Some years ago I sat in the O’Flaherty listening to Ed Walsh go on for 90min about his vision. In the intervening years I’ve heard nothing that causes me to think anything has changed. And while some of UL’s ideas might be useful, its ethos is not NUI,Galway.

      As to my avatar, much as I might like to descend as Kali I don’t ever attempt snide. Attempts at amusement that collapse, well yes. But then Iain we are all guilty of that, eh.

  5. John Says:

    18/02/2010 11AM


    I am delighted to share with you an announcement which will be made public later today. The University of Limerick and NUI Galway have entered into a Strategic Alliance across all key areas of our activity. Our two Universities are committed to working together to deliver a better service to our students, to our business and industry partners, to our region and to our various stakeholders.

    Later today, An Taoiseach Mr Brian Cowen T.D. will launch the new Alliance in the company of An Tánaiste and Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment, Ms Mary Coughlan T.D., and the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O?Keeffe T.D. in the RoyalIrishAcademy, Dublin.

    This Alliance will make a real difference ? a difference to our students, to our faculty and staff, to our researchers, to our industrial and business partners, and a difference to the Shannon Region and the West of Ireland.

    We believe that together we are stronger. In a time of unprecedented economic upheaval, we must look at alternative ways of delivering a quality service to our students. By working with NUI Galway, we will be able to protect and optimise student choices.

    The Alliance will extend across all areas of our activity including teaching and learning, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and service provision. A number of projects are set for immediate launch, including:


    We are collaborating with NUI Galway in key areas of research, including:

    * Biomedicine and biomedical devices

    * Energy research

    * ICT, including software development and semantic web research

    Technology Transfer

    We will promote the services of both Technology Transfer Offices as a single offering, particularly in the areas of our collaborative research.

    We are also working with the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US to establish a joint Translational Research Institute. Georgia Tech is a recognised world leader in translational research and we are excited about the prospects of working with them.

    Teaching and Learning

    There are many collaborative projects planned in the area of teaching and learning, across all Faculties. One new development is the ?Link-to-Learn? student exchange programme which will facilitate students at either university who wish to avail of specialist opportunities at the other institution on a module or even semester basis.

    Lifelong Learning

    Strong links already exist between UL and NUI Galway in the area of adult and continuing education. These links will be extended as both units work together to provide programmes focused on upskilling the national workforce and meeting the needs of the newly unemployed.

    Shared Services

    Our two Universities will also collaborate on service provision, through a shared services model. In addition, we will use our combined buying power to collaborate in the joint procurement of goods and services to ensure maximum efficiency in our purchases.

    More details of all of these projects can be found on the website from noon today:

    I want to pay tribute to all at UL who have worked to make today?s announcement possible and I look forward to the benefits this strategic alliance with our colleagues in NUI Galway will bring to both our institutions and the communities we serve.

    Professor Don Barry

    Uachtarán / President
    Oifig an Uachtaráin / Office of the President
    Ollscoil Luimnigh / University of Limerick
    Guthán / Phone: + 353 61 202020
    Ríomhphost / Email:
    Facs / Fax: + 353 61 330027
    Gréasán / Web:

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