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The collaborative efforts of Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Ulster University (UU), North West Regional College (NWRC), and Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) are aimed at helping the North West City Region grow and become a significant growth centre for Ireland and Northern Ireland on the European and global stage.

North West Tertiary Education Cluster (NWTEC) announces the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to bring greater coherence to the education and skills provided by the four tertiary education partners and also further develop the research and innovation capacity of the North West City Region. The MOU will be signed next Thursday November 30, 2023, in An Grianán Hotel, Burt, Co. Donegal.

NWTEC in conjunction with the North West Strategic Growth Partnership (NWSGP) and key stakeholders, aspire to create a Shared North West—a connected, high-performing region through Smart Growth, Sustainable Growth, and Inclusive Growth. The MOU builds on the previous collaboration with a renewed emphasis on the provision of a comprehensive regional tertiary education portfolio with clear study pathways and increased joint initiatives on access, programme provision, research development, innovation supports, and community engagement.

In February 2018, NWSGP in partnership with the four tertiary education partners announced a new agreement in education, training and innovation to establish the now titled North West Tertiary Education Cluster. NWSGP is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council and is a unique interjurisdictional structure endorsed by both Governments through the North South Ministerial Council.

Dr. Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University, stated; "The re-signing of the MOU confirms ATU's commitment to cross-border collaboration. This forward-focused cluster, working closely with industry representatives, responds to skills gaps, boosts the local economy, and strengthens the skills base for current and future jobs through pathways and progression routes.  NWTEC's renewed commitment reflects a shared dedication to shaping the future of the North West City Region through education, innovation, and collaboration.”

Professor Paul Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor, Ulster University said, “The North West Tertiary Education Cluster is borne out of longstanding collaborations and strong links between all four institutions, bringing together Further Education and Higher Education partners in the North West city region to form a strategic alliance. This updated agreement reaffirms the commitment to the shared endeavours of Ulster University, North West Regional College, Donegal ETB and the region’s newest institution, Atlantic Technological University. “Indeed we were delighted to join representatives from ATU in Boston recently for the annual Golden Bridges Conference, alongside Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council delegations.  “Since the initial agreement in 2018, the North West Tertiary Education Cluster (NWTEC) has evolved as a brand and a meaningful partnership. We look forward to further developing this collaboration in the years ahead, focusing on Region and Place, Programmes and Pathways, Postgraduate and Research Capacity, Enterprise Engagement and Community Supports.”

Leo Murphy, Principal and Chief Executive of North West Regional College, emphasized the NWTEC agreement's significance in driving skills, innovation, and investment. He sees it as a shared vision for a regional strategic alliance that delivers coordinated cross-border tertiary education.

Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh welcomed the re-signing of the MoU stating, "Donegal ETB places great value on its work with our education partners in the North West Tertiary Education Cluster as we can see the benefits of collaboration for our county and region. We have worked well together on a range of initiatives since 2018 and we look forward to building upon the achievements to date and to further strengthening the bonds in the years to come."

NWTEC and NWSGP are committed to further developing the profile of the North West as an attractive location to work, live, study, and invest; and to support the development of sustainable new enterprises that have the potential to offer high-quality employment.