10 Years at the Forefront of Family Business Research in Ireland

The Dublin City University (DCU) National Centre for Family Business (NCFB) is one of Europe’s leading family business research centres. Since its founding in 2013, the NCFB has engaged with more than 1,500 family businesses in Ireland and internationally, providing practical business insights informed by best practice and cutting-edge research.
Prof Daire Keogh

Professor Dáire Keogh, President, DCU

Professor Dáire Keogh, President, DCU

Since its founding, the DCU National Centre for Family Business (NCFB) has demonstrated how vital family businesses are to Ireland’s economy and society. DCU commends how the Centre expertly engages, enlightens and propels family businesses to excel. Facilitating family business continuity using creative and impactful research, the Centre’s education and engagement has been a phenomenal success. 

“Dublin City University and Irish family businesses are kindred spirits. Our shared mission to put enterprise at the heart of what we value has helped us adapt, survive and even thrive when faced with stark realities, especially in this past decade.”

The Centre has succeeded in producing world-class family-business research both at home and internationally. Having introduced and attended the NCFB’s Annual Conference, I have experienced firsthand the eagerness and enthusiasm for insights relevant to the sector. The progress set out in this ten-year anniversary report is impressive in both its scale and impact.

None of these achievements would have been possible without the steadfast dedication of the NCFB team, led by Dr Eric Clinton with guidance from the Centre’s Advisory Board. I have no doubt that their achievements provide an excellent foundation for the years ahead and I look forward to their future success!

Catherine Faherty NCFB, Jim O_Keefe former AIB, Maura McAdam NCFB, Daire Keogh DCU, Annual Conference 2022

Catherine Faherty NCFB, Jim O'Keefe former AIB, Maura McAdam NCFB and Daire Keogh DCU, Annual Conference 2022.

Prof Dominic Elliott, Dean DCU Business School

Professor Dominic Elliott, Dean DCU Business School

Professor Dominic Elliott, Dean DCU Business School

Since its founding, the NCFB has generated research with impact, supporting family businesses to remain both internationally competitive and locally buoyant. I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of the NCFB’s network that consists of leading academics in entrepreneurship, transgenerational learning and innovation.

Working in partnership with and guided by an internationally informed Scientific Committee, the NCFB draws upon a wide range of cutting- edge expertise from DCU Business School.

NCFB staff have also won many prestigious awards, including teaching awards for an agile curriculum. I am particularly delighted that DCU Business School was recognised this year at the first-ever Small Business Charter (SBC) Excellence Awards. Our work at the DCU Business School with the small and medium-sized business community is among the most rewarding things that my colleagues, students and I do. Through the SBC we’ve undertaken initiatives that have really stretched the imagination and insight of the students and helped them gain an unparalleled understanding of how businesses operate and the challenges they face. This ‘real-life’ experience sets them up brilliantly for life after university.

Winning the category of Outstanding Support for Student Enterprise and Entrepreneurship for its ground-breaking initiative, Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE): Supporting the LIFE of an Entrepreneurial Student, the NCFB was also shortlisted in the Outstanding Stakeholder Engagement category for its All- Island Engagement Campaign Enabling and Promoting the Survival and Recovery of Family Businesses Following the Covid-19 Pandemic. Moreover, I was delighted to hear about their recent Best Paper Award at the 2023 STEP Global Family Business Summit for their work on family business innovation.

Many teaching and learning programmes at DCU, including DCU Executive Education programmes, have benefited from the NCFB’s expertise these past 10 years. I look forward to learning more about what they plan for future generations of students and the curriculum and wish them all the best for the next 10 years!

Dr Eric Clinton

Dr Eric Clinton, NCFB Director

Dr Eric Clinton, NCFB Director

Almost 10 years ago, we founded a centre for family business research in Ireland, and it is wonderful to have an opportunity to reflect on our success in this 10-year anniversary report. Our vision then is a reality now: the NCFB is achieving national and international recognition for excellence in research, education and engagement.

It has been a joy to watch the NCFB’s research and impact grow through our publications in top-tier international journals, presence on editorial boards and hosting of family business scientific conferences. Through our PhD programme, we are fostering future thought-leaders in the family business field. Our educational offerings, including at undergraduate and executive levels, provide current and next-generation family business members with the knowledge and tools required to successfully implement governance structures, navigate succession and enhance competitive success across generations. We continually engage in a knowledge dialogue with industry partners through high-impact service and outreach activities, including workshops, webinars, podcasts, and conferences, in order to increase awareness of the unique nature of family businesses.

Given their prominence, Irish family businesses have a central role to play in the success of the Irish economy. The reality is that Irish economic stability depends on family business success, and in a complex world, research-led insights are necessary to help family businesses address their unique circumstances and thrive. The profound achievements of the NCFB outlined in this 10-year anniversary report will no doubt set the pace for what promises to be a highly productive next 10 years.

I would like to thank those who supported the NCFB in realising its ambition. The ongoing development of the NCFB would not have been possible without the backing and steadfast commitment of many supporters, whose achievements this report lists and celebrates. Recognition must also be given to the dedication of the NCFB team, its alumni, visiting family business academics, and participating family businesses. I thank you all.

Download and view the PDF report here: