The Government wants to encourage the development of an expanded campus by an American university which has opened an international centre in Co Waterford, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said.
Mercyhurst University, which is based in Pennsylvania, has established its first international base in Dungarvan where it will be tapping into the estimated €1.8bn European market in ‘intelligence studies’.
A number of students and faculty will now spend spring term in Dungarvan every year, while Mercyhurst also hopes to use its first international centre to establish links with Irish and European academic institutions.
Opening the new facility at the weekend, Mr Noonan said while the link was starting on a small scale, he was impressed that the Dungarvan campus will form Mercyhurst University’s European Centre for Intelligence Research, Analytics and Training.
“From the Government’s point of view we would like to encourage the development,” he said,
“And if the authorities at Mercyhurst bring forward a blueprint or a detailed plan setting out the way forward over the next number of years we would be interested in appraising that plan and seeing what assistance we could give to further developments in that area,” he said.
It’s understood a site which is in public ownership in Dungarvan has been identified as a suitable location for an expanded satellite campus.
The newly-opened international centre is based on the town’s Lower Main Street. Among the alumni of Mercyhurst University, which is located in the Pennsylvanian city of Erie, is Fine Gael TD for Waterford John Deasy, who was involved in establishing the link.
Mercyhurst was founded by the Sisters of Mercy and the relationship with St Augustine’s College in Dungarvan began in 1985, since when many Irish students have travelled to Mercyhurst to study.
The town has already twice hosted the college’s Global Intelligence Forum, in 2010 and 2011, bringing together intelligence practitioners and experts from across the US and Europe to address the world’s strategic intelligence challenges.
University president Dr Thomas Gamble said the new centre will provide “a permanent home for our study-abroad students and faculty” as well as serving as a venue for developing “innovative academic partnerships” in Ireland and the rest of Europe.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved