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DCU President's News

President's News

February 2020

  1. DCU 40 Celebrations
  2. DCU Kicks Off 2020 With Sporting Success
  3. Jane Suiter named Citizens’ Assembly Fellow
  4. DCU alumna honoured as Aviation Year lifts off 
  5. DCU signs CombiLift MOU
  6. New Female Professor Posts Confirmed
  7. Physical Literacy research makes headlines
  8. Regina Murphy wins Creative Schools funding 
  9. DCU Rooms Supreme Winner in Accommodation Awards 
  10. PhD funded to research Vitamin B12 and Ageing 
  11. Mary Phelan Study ‘Translates’ the History of Irish Justice
  12. Seamus Mallon RIP

DCU 40 Celebrations

Most of you will be aware that this year DCU celebrates 40 years as a Higher Education Institution, having admitted our first students in 1980. To mark the year, a programme of activities has been devised to celebrate the many achievements of staff, students and alumni under four themes: Education, Discovery, Culture and Community.  

The programme will include a number of key events such as the launch of a History of DCU, a special Alumni event, a Gala concert as part of Anam (DCU’s festival of arts and culture), a ‘Connecting Communities’ conference in conjunction with Dublin City Council and a Research Showcase event. The year-long programme will celebrate the many achievements of staff, students and alumni, while also taking the opportunity to engage with important contemporary questions, and look ahead to the next 40 years. 

Details of the various events and initiatives happening across the year will be made available on the DCU website and social media accounts as they are confirmed. Back to Index 

DCU's Sigerson Cup winning team

DCU Kicks Off 2020 With Sporting Success

The start of 2020 has seen a number of great sporting victories and milestone events. DCU Dóchas Éireann ⁦kicked off our winning streak by claiming the blue riband event for intervarsity men’s Gaelic Football, the Sigerson Cup. This is the fifth time in the history of the University that DCU has won the competition. Congratulations to the players and management on an impressive victory over a gallant IT Carlow side.

Our men’s soccer team scored a historic win in the Collingwood Cup intervarsity tournament, the first time DCU has won the competition. 

It ended with a nail-biting penalty shootout after a hard-fought final against Ulster University at Dalymount Park. Congratulations to the team and their dedicated management personnel.

We marked another important milestone in the development of sport at DCU recently, with the signing of a  three-year partnership with Athletics Ireland. The agreement aims to deliver a ‘best in class’ athletics programme that will focus on areas of high performance and participation. Key areas for collaboration under the agreement will include:

  • Provision of an environment that ensures that dual career athletes have access to optimum supports and coaching resources

  • Collaboration on talent identification and talent development programmes

  • Promotion of recreational running to increase participation numbers and enhance wellbeing 

Back to Index 

Jane Suiter named Citizens’ Assembly Fellow

Dr Jane Suiter’s exemplary work in the area of deliberative democracy has been given further recognition with her appointment as Research Fellow for the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality. The award follows an independent peer-reviewed process overseen by the Irish Research Council. 

In this role, Jane will undertake research to help the Secretariat to engage with the Assembly membership and gain a better understanding of the perceived deliberative quality of the body’s work programme and modus operandi. 

Last year, along with her collaborator Prof David Farrell of UCD, Jane was awarded the Brown Medal for Democracy by Penn State University for the global significance of her work on the Citizens Assembly model. Back to Index 

MOU Signed with CombiLift

DCU’s reputation as a University of Enterprise was reinforced last week, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with CombiLift, one of Ireland’s most innovative and successful indigenous companies. 

The agreement with the Monaghan company will focus on delivering staff and student placements, career opportunities for DCU graduates (undergraduate and postgraduate level), curriculum and programme development, industry and manufacturing focused workshops, the promotion of STEM related initiatives and opportunities for employee up-skilling.  

The signing was attended by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD and the CEO of CombiLift, Martin McVicar, at CombiLift’s Global Headquarters in Monaghan. 

By tapping into DCU’s wealth of research and expertise, the company can ensure it remains at the cutting edge of innovation, while the involvement of companies like CombiLift in our INTRA work placement programme and our curriculum renewal activities ensures that our approach to talent development is enhanced and that DCU will maintain its position as one of the world’s top 20 universities for graduate employment. Back to Index 

DCU alumna honoured as Aviation Year lifts off

Last month was particularly positive for DCU with regard to our diversity and inclusion impact. The chief focus of this work was the launch of the ‘Year of Inclusion in Aviation 2020’. The initiative is being delivered by the  DCU Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with the aviation industry. It aims to build awareness around inclusivity, with a specific focus on increasing the representation of women in aviation.

The launch of the initiative coincided with a meeting of the Advancing Women in Aviation Roundtable (AWAR)  and the Airfinance Journal Conference 2020. At the AWAR event, First Officer Lisa Cusack, a pilot with Aer Lingus and a DCU Alumna, was presented with a prestigious AWAR Trailblazer Award. Lisa was chosen for her unwavering determination and self-belief in realising her lifelong dream of becoming a pilot.

Another high-flying DCU alumna also made headlines for becoming the first female pilot commissioned into the Irish Air Corps in 15 years. Lauren Cusack (no relation!) is a graduate of the  BSc in Aviation Management. She was one of seven new pilots who recently began Air Corps training at Baldonnel Airbase. Back to Index 

New Female Professor Posts Confirmed

Last month saw a very positive development for DCU, with the confirmation of two new posts for female professors, in Physics and Computing. The two positions are funded under the Senior Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI), announced by Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.

It is significant that the two posts are in areas of globally recognised under-representation of women. This development will add further momentum to our DCU Women in Leadership initiative. We will be publishing our annual report on progress in this regard, including data across all categories of employment, in the coming weeks. 

The recruitment process for the two new professorships will get underway shortly. Back to Index 

Physical Literacy research makes headlines

DCU research relating to the fitness levels of Irish schoolchildren drew national attention following its publication in the Journal of Sports Sciences. The findings from the ‘Moving Well - Being Well’ project (based on a study of over 2,000 primary school children) indicate that one in four cannot run properly, one in two cannot kick a ball properly, and less than one in every five can throw a ball.

Dr Stephen Behan and colleagues are using the study to develop an intervention in primary schools targeting all elements of children’s physical literacy that will involve teachers, coaches and parents.

‘Moving Well-Being Well’, is a collaboration between the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at DCU, the School of Health and Human Performance at DCU, the GAA (Gaelic Games Athletic Association) and Dublin GAA. 

Meanwhile, Dr SaraJane Belton, Head of the School of Health and Human Performance,  has scored a number of recent successes in securing funding for further research in the area of health and fitness in children and young people. Her “Adolescent Health Literacy Demonstration Project”  has been awarded €271,000 by the Irish Heart Foundation, while Mayo Education Centre has awarded her €24,898 for a project evaluating the impact of the Active School Flag on physical activity in children at disadvantaged (DEIS) primary schools. A project to develop a National Physical Literacy Consensus Statement was  also awarded €12,600 by Sport Ireland. Back to Index 

Regina Murphy wins Creative Schools funding

Creativity is one of the key focus areas in our Strategic Plan and it has implications for all faculties. It was great to see the recent announcement of significant research funding to Dr Regina Murphy,  to carry out an evaluation of the Creative Ireland ‘Creative Schools’ programme for Irish primary schools.

Dr Murphy, Head of the School of Arts Education and Movement, was awarded €400,000 by The Arts Council for a project titled “Evaluation of Creative Schools 2019-22”.  

Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme aimed at supporting and promoting the arts and creativity in schools.  Back to Index 


DCU Rooms Supreme Winner in Accommodation Awards

DCU Rooms, a unit of DCU Campus Residences, has received another well-deserved honour. It won the Gold Award and was named Supreme Winner in the university accommodation category at the recent Irish Accommodation Services Institute Awards. 

The Gold Award indicates a score of above 94% across all areas during the inspection phase, with the Supreme Winner accolade awarded as a result of superior standards being delivered throughout all areas of the residences. 

Congratulations are due to John Caffrey, Dana Tunde Illes and all of the DCU Rooms team for their consistently excellent work. Back to Index 

PhD funded to research Vitamin B12 and Ageing 

Congratulations to DCU PhD student Darren Walsh on securing $92,000 funding from the US Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS-NIH) to investigate the effect of vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency on ageing.

Darren already holds a Wellcome Trust-National Institute of Health PhD scholarship that is co-supervised by Professor Anne Parle-McDermott (DCU School of Biotechnology) and Dr. Lawrence Brody (NIH) and is supported by their respective research groups at DCU and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI-NIH) in the US. 

Darren hopes that this research will uncover some of the poorly understood molecular mechanisms that drive the phenotypes that arise as a consequence of the interaction between various levels of vitamin B12. Back to Index 


Mary Phelan Study ‘Translates’ History of Irish Justice

The fascinating historical intersection between the Irish language and the justice system is wonderfully illuminated in a new book “Irish Speakers, Interpreters and the Courts 1754-1921” by Mary Phelan (SALIS). The book, published by Four Courts Press in association with the Irish Legal History Society, was launched by Ms Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh last month in the O'Reilly library on our Glasnevin campus.

Drawing on extensive research on grand jury records held at national and local level, supplemented by records of correspondence with the Chief Secretary’s Office in Dublin Castle, the book provides definitive answers on where, when, and until when, Irish language court interpreters were employed. 

It includes an examination of the famous Maamtrasna murders trials, where, unusually for such a serious case, a police constable acted as court interpreter. The book explains the appointment process for interpreters, discusses ethical issues that arose in court, and includes microhistories of some 90 interpreters. Back to Index 

Seamus Mallon RIP

It was with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of Seamus Mallon, the former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister. 

In 2013, DCU conferred an honorary Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) on the former SDLP deputy leader, along with former Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble. 

Seamus was a courageous champion for peace and social justice in Northern Ireland. His tireless work was pivotal in securing an end to the violence of the Troubles and in establishing a lasting settlement on the island of Ireland. As Deputy First Minister, he helped consolidate the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement, by demonstrating his belief in reconciliation and a shared future for all communities in the north. Back to Index