Impact and Engagement 2020-2021

DCU's continued positive engagement with stakeholders and communities is a key factor in the University's impact on local, national and international challenges

DCU aspires to be ‘Ireland’s University of Impact’, an institution that is known for addressing the real world challenges facing society and the economy. The University’s sustained positive engagement with a wide range of local, national and international stakeholders is vital to delivering this impact. This practical approach is very much part of the DCU DNA, and is reflected in the University’s mission to ‘transform lives and societies’. 

This year, the University’s work received welcome recognition in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, in which DCU ranked 23rd in the world for its approach to widening participation in higher education; 38th globally for its work in reducing inequality, and 89th globally for gender equality. One of the novel ways in which DCU helps to improve the accessibility of Higher Education is through its Access programme - Ireland’s longest established and largest access initiative. A recent addition to the suite of supports is the summer work placement programme, Access to the Workplace, which has attracted a growing number of employers. 

Meaningful engagement with stakeholders and our wider society is key to delivering impact. This has never been more important than since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. A clear example of DCU’s role in engaging the broadest possible public is the Choosing Our Future public forum.  The forum was led by Dr. Jane Suiter and her team at FuJo Institute along with partners SFI and ADAPT. It allowed members of the public to have their voice heard on the direction of our society.

The University is a leading player in terms of its work to address the growing problem of online information. DCU was announced as the coordinator of the new European Digital Media Observatory, a digital network with a mission to challenge online disinformation. Meanwhile, DCU is helping to tackle gender stereotyping, gender-based bullying and gender-based violence in primary and post-primary schools through the Gender Equality Matters (GEM), a new set of classroom resources, launched by former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese. The University also launched a  Race Equality Guide for Hiring, which gives practical advice to employers who wish to ensure greater Equality Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace.

DCU’s growing engagement with the artists and the arts has greatly enriched the cultural landscape of the University. One of many highlights was the unveiling of the six portraits of inspirational female trailblazers in the world of STEM - Accenture’s Women on Walls at DCU was launched to mark International Women’s Day. Meanwhile, DCU and the Arts Council announced Fiona McDonald as the inaugural Artist in Residence in Technology and Innovation at Talent Garden on DCU Alpha campus.  

Arts and Sport played a significant part in the University’s ongoing engagement with its neighbourhoods in north Dublin. It announced it was commissioning three innovative artists to engage with communities in and around the University. The outcomes included a short film, a community-led exhibition, and the creation of a micro pocket park on the All Hallows campus. Meanwhile, DCU and Bohemian Football Club agreed an 18-year partnership, aimed at building deep and lasting connections through sport, with positive outcomes for social inclusion, social outreach and academic programme collaboration.