SETU bolsters commitment to Wexford campus advancement

South East Technological University’s (SETU) steadfast commitment to developing its campus in Wexford was bolstered during a presentation to Wexford County Council on May 13th. 

President of SETU, Professor Veronica Campbell, and Chair of SETU Governing Body, Professor Patrick Prendergast jointly delivered a comprehensive overview of SETU’s evolving plans for its campus development to Wexford County Councillors.

The proposed SETU campus in Wexford will feature state-of-the-art teaching spaces, facilitating the delivery of SETU’s education and training programmes, as well as innovation facilities to drive forward pioneering research initiatives. Additionally, business incubation facilities will be established to support specific strands of economic activity, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within the region.

SETU campus will benefit Wexford town and surrounds

Prof. Campbell stated that SETU’s commitment to developing physical infrastructure on land being acquired by Wexford County Council at Killeens in Wexford forms part of the University’s Strategic Plan (2023-28).

“The new campus will seek to make a wider regional impact while benefiting Wexford town and the surrounding area. It will build on the strengths of SETU’s existing Wexford offering and the expertise of staff while enhancing SETU’s offering in new areas,” the SETU President said.

SETU views the development of SETU’s campus in Wexford as a regional and national development priority with its activities contributing to the University’s overall proposition for the south east. The campus in Wexford will complement the strong educational offering, research, and innovation being carried out across SETU in service to the region as a whole.

Professor Veronica Campbell, SETU President

Active engagement by SETU

Professor Prendergast reaffirmed SETU’s active engagement in progressing the campus development, ensuring that progress is being made in strict compliance with the regulations outlined in the public spending code. He acknowledged the time-consuming nature of navigating governance procedures, but highlighted SETU’s commitment to upholding rigorous standards.

In the meantime, SETU’s Governing Body has endorsed a strategy, recognising the need to continue supporting access to higher education while embracing new opportunities. 

“With the development of the campus in Wexford, we have an opportunity to establish SETU’s presence in Wexford as a destination campus with a focus on topics that address regional needs and present national leadership opportunities,” Prof. Prendergast said.

Arts-related education

In addition to consolidating existing university activities that already take place in Wexford into modern facilities, SETU plans to establish an Arts Imaginarium, building on a strong track record of Art-related education in Wexford and the long-term relationships between SETU, the Wexford Arts Centre and the National Opera House. 

“It will provide a multi-disciplinary lens to reflect on pertinent issues, including Ireland’s green transition and our rural economy,” said Prof. Campbell.

Sustainable focus 

Given the industrial profile, geographical situation, and emerging regional requirements, the SETU campus in Wexford will have a focus on sustainable coastal communities. Towns like Wexford; and villages like Kilmore Quay, Rosslare, and others are dependent on economic renewal and citizen empowerment. A pillar for SETU in Wexford will relate to citizen and community empowerment and engagement.

The development of the offshore renewable energy sector is critically important to the region. As part of its commitment to this vision, SETU is actively working with the South East Offshore Renewable Energy Taskforce, which aims to explore how the region can be established as a pivotal and credible hub for Ireland’s offshore wind energy industry. 

The task force recently participated in the WindEurope Annual Event in Bilbao coinciding with the launch of Ireland’s Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy. Members of the Taskforce, including SETU, recently visited the Catapult Renewable Energy facility, a leading Innovation & Research Centre in the UK. SETU will continue to refine its plans in the context of the work of the South East Offshore Renewable Energy Partnership. 

As part of SETU’s Foundation Day 2024 celebrations across SETU this month, an event on Sustainability with a focus on renewable energy will be hosted in partnership with Wexford County Council on May 28th.