A NEW €50 million engineering school is to be developed at NUI Galway, Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe announced last night. Tendering for the new school will begin shortly.
When the building is completed in 2010, NUI Galway will have facilities for more than 1,100 engineering students and staff.
The project will be funded through a combination of exchequer funding under the National Development Plan 2007- 2013, resources realised by NUI Galway, as well as donor funding.
The 14,000sq m building will bring all the engineering disciplines from across the campus together.
Last night, Mr O'Keeffe said the new development will enhance the number of skilled graduates in the sector and broaden Ireland's appeal as a location for the study and research of engineering.
When this project is completed, it will represent a major Government-sponsored investment in the development and modernisation of facilities at NUI Galway, he said.
The Minister stressed that investment of this nature was not granted lightly.
"Capital projects such as this one are subject to a rigorous assessment under the Government's capital appraisal guidelines," he continued. "In this instance, both my department and the Higher Education Authority recognised the essential benefits of this project and accepted the comprehensive business case made by NUI Galway."
More than €50 million has been invested by the State in capital developments at NUI Galway in recent years. The funding has enabled expansion and growth of research programmes in fields such as biomedical engineering, nanotechnology and marine science.
NUI Galway will also receive €6 million under the research refurbishment scheme, allowing the university to maintain and upgrade its research facilities.