Athlone Institute of Technology
|Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Luain|
|Type||Institutes of Technology in Ireland|
|President||Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin|
|Campus||18 hectares (44 acres)|
Athlone Institute of Technology (also known as AIT) (Irish: Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Luain) is a higher education institution in the midlands of Ireland. Established in 1970 as Athlone Regional Technical College, it has expanded in size, scope, and influence over the period. Its focus in the early years was on providing training in a broad spectrum of occupations ranging from craft to professional level, notably in engineering and science, but also in commercial, linguistic, and other specialities. This has evolved considerably, and at present the institute caters for an educational spectrum that stretches from craft and apprentice training through to doctoral studies and post-doctoral research.
The college operated under the management of County Westmeath Vocational Education Committee (VEC) until 1993, when legislative changes established it as a self-governing entity. Five years later it underwent a name change by statutory order to Athlone Institute of Technology. The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) granted the institute delegated authority in 2004 to develop, design, and validate its own courses, to conduct examinations, and to confer its own academic awards up to and including Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
The student population in Athlone is characterised by a high proportion of learners from overseas. This number is split approximately evenly between European and non-European students, although within that there are large variations. China remains the largest source of international students. Recent agreements signed with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have impacted on the numbers coming from the Middle East.
In the years since 2000, AIT has secured more than €23 million in research funding. This has been obtained from a broad range of national and international funding agencies, including the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Health Research Board (HRB), the Technological Sector Research (TSR) programme, as well as Enterprise Ireland’s Applied Research Enhancement Programme.
Among the new purpose-built facilities introduced are the hospitality, tourism and leisure studies building (2003), nursing and health science building (2005), midlands innovation and research centre (2005), engineering and informatics building (2010), and postgraduate research hub (2010).
AIT International Arena
Athlone Institute of Technology boasts an €10 million international athletics arena which opened in early 2013. The International Arena has a footprint of 6,818m2 and an overall building floor area of 9,715m2. Some 850 tonnes of structural steel and 50,000 concrete blocks went into the construction of the facility which can house 2,000 spectators.
- Education in the Republic of Ireland
- List of higher education institutions in the Republic of Ireland