NUI Galway is set to make major developments to its campus infrastructure – including a major new innovation space, a library and a sports campus – as part of its new strategic plan.
The new plan, entitled “Shared Visions, Shaped by Value”, will see hundreds of millions spent on an innovation district on Nuns’ Island in the city centre as the university bids to strengthen Galway’s reputation in medical technologies, data science and culture.
NUIG, now in its 175th year, also hopes to develop a new cultural and performance space and create what the plan calls “affordable” on-campus accommodation for students.
While the university has not put a definitive price on the plan, the Irish Times has reported that it’s expected to cost hundreds of millions – the development at Nuns’ Island is reportedly expected to cost around €200 million.
On the issue of funding, the plan states: “We cannot achieve our ambitions alone. We will also launch an investment programme encouraging our friends, supporters and philanthropists to join us on this journey.”
NUIG currently has more than 19,000 students and set out its spending plans from 2020 to 2025 following a consultation process with students, staff and the wider Galway community.
In a press statement, Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, the president of NUIG, said the strategy reflected the fact that NUIG is a “public good, belonging to the people”.
“In this strategy and in these times we will use our location for the benefit of Ireland as an institution formed by values”, he said.
This investment comes at a time when Irish universities are preparing to deal with increasing numbers of students. Ó hÓgartaigh said NUIG has no intention of capping the number of undergraduate students and will “do better with the numbers we have” through better retention and by improving the quality of the student experience.
Other universities around Ireland have recently launched five-year strategic plans, with University College Dublin and the University of Limerick pledging expansion and growth in the coming years despite an ongoing crisis in higher education’s funding.
Trinity is set to release its own strategic plan this month.