OVER the next five years, the University of Limerick will concentrate on establishing new international research networks and doubling research income from EU funding sources
The university’s ‘Broadening Horizons’ strategic plan, which was launched last Friday, also highlights the fact that more than €130 million has already been raised through industry research partnerships with research awards this year alone reaching €50 million.
The strategy is built around three distinct aims: ‘building on achievements’, ‘accentuating distinctiveness’ and ‘raising international profile’ that will guide UL in achieving ambitious five-year targets.
These include: postgraduate and doctoral students to represent 30 per cent of the student body by 2019, a 60 per cent increase in international full-degree students and a target of 20 per cent of UL students spending at least one semester abroad.
The plan also includes the realisation of UL’s €224 million Capital Development Plan including Phase 2 of the Glucksman Library and plans for an enhanced Limerick city centre presence.
Stating that the plan would build on the excellent work carried out at UL over the years, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said that it not only had very strong connections with the local and regional community but was now also reaching out now to the world.
“It is important that these kind of forward plans are made and that they are ambitious and also that they are realistic. The university has a very strong reputation in relation to research in particular but also in very good teaching so it will be building on that and ensuring that continues and expands.”
“Raising the international profile of the university will have profound positive effects and not just for UL but the entire region,” she added.
Speaking on the plans to move part of the campus into the city centre, UL president, Professor Don Barry said that it is “being led very much by the local authority. We are anxious for it to happen soon as possible and we are ready to go.
“We have begun creating some of the activities that we want to bring into the city already in the Opera Centre site and I guess the major element of our proposal will probably take a little longer when it would be part of the overall development of the Opera Centre.”
Professor Barry added that he wanted to see UL students studying, living and recreating in the city “where they can bring their energy into the revitalisation of the city”.