People 2020-2021

DCU's staff and students made waves in 2020-2021, with achievements ranging from Researcher of the Year to Olympic success

DCU is a University with a “People First” ethos, an institution where personal connections and a collegial approach are part of our DNA. We welcome the opportunity to highlight the successes of our students and staff, and the past year has seen many achievements worthy of celebration. 

DCU researchers were honoured with a number of prestigious awards in the past twelve months. Dr Jane Suiter was named the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year for her work in relation to disinformation and democracy at DCU School of Communications and the FuJo research centre. Dr Martin Brown, Director at the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection, was awarded the John Coolahan Award by the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS). Prof John Crown, professor of Translational Cancer Research at DCU, was one of the 27 new members admitted to the Royal Irish Academy. 

DCU students gave us many reasons to be proud during the year. Nine past and present DCU students qualified to represent Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics. Five current DCU students were part of Team Ireland’s Athletics and Hockey teams. Meanwhile, DCU student Eoin Murphy was the winner of the prestigious Mary Mulvihill Award, the science media competition for third-level students commemorating the legacy of journalist and author Mary Mulvihill. Each year the DCU Chancellor’s Medal is awarded to a student for their exceptional academic achievements and contribution to student life. This year it was awarded to Early Childhood Education graduate, Clare O’Keefe.

In September, the DCU Governing Authority welcomed the University’s new chancellor Brid Horan. Ms Horan has been a member of DCU’s Governing Authority member since 2014 and has over 30 years' experience in executive and non-executive roles in leading private and public sector organisations. Meanwhile, the authority also announced the appointment of Zainab Boladale - a Journalist, TV Presenter and a graduate of DCU School of Communications.

In May, DCU conferred the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) on Annette Kennedy, Vice President, Irish Council of Nurses, and Vivien Lusted of the Irish Red Cross. They joined noted figures from politics, sport, literature and industry in receiving this award. 

A number of significant appointments were announced during the year. Professor Noel O’Connor of the School of Electronic Engineering at Dublin City University was appointed CEO of Ireland’s largest data research centre, the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. International expert on Indian politics and foreign policy Prof Jivanta Schottli was appointed as new Director of the Ireland India Institute at DCU. The University also appointed two leading academics in the areas of plasma physics and computer science under the Senior Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI). Prof Deborah O’Connell was appointed to the role of Full Professor of Plasma Physics, while Prof Anya Belz was appointed to the role of Full Professor of Computer Science. The government funded SALI initiative aims to help achieve gender balance at senior levels in the higher education sector.

Each year, the DCU President’s Awards honour the achievements and contributions of staff and students across a range of activities. Projects focused on sustainability, academic accuracy, equine nutrition and artificial intelligence honoured at the 2021 President’s Awards for Innovation. The winners of the President's Awards for Engagement were awarded for initiatives in education, physical activity, neurodiversity and entrepreneurship. Commitment, enthusiasm and enjoyment were the hallmarks of the 2021 President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Meanwhile, Research on school bullying, climate change and Brexit were honoured at the President’s Awards for Research and Impact Awards 2021.