Cork's €9m hub links industry with universities to produce graduates with the right skills

UCC and MTU join forces with leading health and life sciences enterprises to form the high-level iEd Hub consortium
Cork's €9m hub links industry with universities to produce graduates with the right skills

The iEd Hub consortium of Cork's two universities and key industries was launched earlier today. It is led by Dr Matt Cotterell, Head of School Mechanical & Process Engineering, MTU; CIT President Dr Barry O’Connor; Prof Helen Whelton, Head of College of Medicine and Health, UCC and UCC iEd Project Lead; UCC Interim President Prof John O’Halloran; and Dr Mark Tangney, Interim Head, iEd hub. Picture: Gerard McCarthy

A new €9m third-level education hub has forged links with industry to produce graduates with the right skills.

The iEd Hub, a partnership between Cork City’s two universities and key health and life science industries, will see the partners working together to design and deliver specific courses to ensure that the next generation of students have the skills that companies need now, and into the future.

And, thanks to Covid-19, the planned use of VR technology in the learning experience has been accelerated.

Virtual student placements

It will be used to ‘place’ students in a virtual company lab or cleanroom so they can experience what life in the workplace is like before they actually go to work.

Details of the iEd Hub were announced by University College Cork’s (UCC) College of Medicine and Health today.

It’s a partnership between UCC and the Munster Technological University (MTU), and enterprise partners and leading industries in the health and life sciences sector, including Boston Scientific, Janssen, Pfizer, Sanmina, Stryker, Laya Health, DPS, Vodafone, and the venture capital firm SOSV which helps startups.

It has been awarded €8.7m under the Government’s Human Capital Initiative Programme (HCI) to develop and deliver new approaches to education for enterprise.

Universities work together

The hub will be led by Professor Helen Whelton, head of the UCC’s College of Medicine and Health, Dr Mark Tangney, interim head of the iEd Hub, Tim Horgan, MTU’s head of faculty of engineering and science, and Matt Cotterell, head of MTU’s school of mechanical, electrical, and process engineering.

Dr Tangney said it made sense to establish such a hub in Cork, given the presence of two universities and the concentration of health and life sciences companies in the region.

“Typically, people are thought of as being either within academia or within industry," he said.

We prefer to take the approach that industry and academia are one — together, we develop people and technology.  

Public expenditure minister, Michael McGrath, also said Cork is the ideal home for the initiative.

“Pharmaceutical and medical goods account for 31% of Ireland’s total exports and the Cork region is Ireland’s largest foreign direct investment (FDI) cluster in this sector,” he said.

“The iEd Hub will contribute significantly to the growth of the Cork region as an internationally renowned hub for health and life science enterprise, by providing uniquely skilled human capital to grow both the scale and scope of indigenous and multinational company activity.” 

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