President's News Archive 2019
PRESIDENT'S NEWS ARCHIVE 2019
I was delighted to welcome An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD and DCU Alumnus Noel Rock TD to our ‘DCU in the Community’ outreach facility in Ballymun recently.
Founded in 2008 by DCU, in partnership Dublin City Council, ‘DCU in the Community’ acts as a bridge between the university and the local and regional community. Led by Joanna Ozarowska, Manager of ‘DCU in the Community’, and Ruth Lynam coordinator of DCU Volunteer, the facility’s activities focus on lifelong learning, adult education, equity of access to third level education (among groups underrepresented in higher and further education), student volunteering, community-based learning, and community-engaged research.
The mission of ‘DCU in the Community’ is to promote social regeneration through education and to enhance local community development and community resilience through the provision of flexible educational and lifelong learning opportunities. It also seeks to provide meaningful volunteering options for DCU students.
An Taoiseach met graduates of our ‘Bridge to Education’ Programme (a preparatory course designed to build capacity and confidence, as well as the necessary skills to return to education), student volunteers and student social enterprises (Raising & Giving Society, HeadstARTS), staff from DCU Recovery College and recent recipients of the President’s Award for Engagement, Dr Briege Casey, Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, and Prof Deirdre Butler.
We recently had the honour of welcoming Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, to our St. Patrick’s campus to discuss the issue of bullying and online safety.
Her visit coincided with Facebook’s announcement that it was tripling its investment in online safety programmes run by the National Anti-Bullying Centre (ABC) at DCU, bringing the company’s total investment in online safety programmes in Ireland to €1 million. This will have a profound impact on the lives of thousands of students and their families.
This investment will go towards supporting important research conducted by the ABC, expanding the nationwide online safety training programme for teachers and parents of secondary school students, and creating online safety resources for teens in partnership with the youth organisation, SpunOut.ie.
At a workshop in our Institute of Education, Ms Sandberg met with a group of teachers to discuss the issue of bullying in schools and to hear first-hand experiences from those dealing with bullying both on and offline. She reaffirmed the company's commitment to tackling online bullying.
Following the meeting, Ms Sandberg addressed over 100 teachers attending the first anti-bullying training session as part of this programme. In her remarks, she highlighted how Facebook was hiring more people to review content reports, and is investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems for finding and preventing abuse across all their platforms - Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
To mark her visit, I was pleased to present Ms. Sandberg with a copy of ‘100 Poems’ by Seamus Heaney.
In the days leading up to Christmas and in the early weeks of 2019, we were delighted to receive some very good news regarding research, innovation and mobility funding successes for DCU staff across many sectors of the University.
A DCU- led project “DCU Global Online Learning Accelerator”, was awarded funding of €1.36m under the HEA Innovation and Transformation Programme 2018. This project will align strongly with our NIDL expertise and will build on our engagement with FutureLearn. Congratulations to Prof. Eithne Guilfoyle, who leads on this project, and colleagues in NIDL. DCU is also part of a successful bid under an IUA-led project “Enabling Change: Enhancing Digital Capacity in Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities” that was awarded funding of €2.96m.
Six DCU staff members (Aisling Twohill; Cathal Gurrin; John Gallagher; Brien Nolan; Sithara Sreenilayam Pavithran; Greg Hughes) were successful in their applications for support under the Government of Ireland International Academic Mobility Programme 2019. DCU received more than 20% of the funding allocated and was also the most successful HEI in terms of the number of grants awarded for the second year running. Congrats to all!
In January, two early-stage DCU researchers had significant successes under Science Foundation Ireland’s ‘Starting Investigator Research Grant’ (SIRG) Programme. The largest award of €425k was made to Dr Konstantinos Gkrintzalis (School of Biotechnology), while €421k was awarded to Dr Colm Browning (School of Electronic Engineering). Congrats to Konstantinos and Colm!
Our Strategic Plan (‘Talent, Discovery and Transformation’) places Sustainability at the core of the University. Recent announcements have brought good news regarding the impact of our commitment and initiatives in this regard. Just before Christmas, Minister Richard Bruton T.D. commended DCU for its leadership in achieving significant energy savings and reaching 35.3% reduction since 2010, exceeding the 33% energy efficiency target set for 2020. This achievement was highlighted in the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) annual report on the energy efficiency performance of public bodies in Ireland.
Also in December, we were pleased to learn that DCU has been ranked 12th in the world for Sustainability in the latest Green University league table. The Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Rankings compares the performance of 719 universities across the globe by measuring their commitment and action towards environmental sustainability. The rankings assess 6 indicators (setting and infrastructure, energy and climate change, waste management, water management, transportation and education). This new ranking for DCU represents an increase of 3 places on its ranking in 2017.
January 2019 was a milestone month for researchers from our Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity (CfAR) with a Nature publication describing their central involvement in a major breakthrough that explains the existence of massive black holes in the universe and that predicts a greater number than previously thought.
The light from the most distant black holes (or quasars) has been travelling towards earth for more than 13 billion light years, allowing us to look back in time to the early universe. However, how these monster black holes formed has remained unknown; until now.
Dr. John Regan and Prof. Turlough Downes, both from the School of Mathematical Sciences in DCU, collaborated with colleagues from Georgia Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, the University of California at San Diego, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and IBM, in the discovery of a new and extremely promising avenue for solving this cosmic riddle.
The team showed that when galaxies assemble extremely rapidly, and sometimes violently, this can lead to the formation of a massive black hole.
The rapid assembly of gas means that instead of normal star formation proceeding, embryonic stars become puffed up by hot gas. This leads to the formation of what is called a “supermassive” star, which only survives for a short time before quickly collapsing into a massive black hole.
The new study turns upside down the long-accepted belief that massive black hole formation could only happen in regions bombarded by powerful radiation from nearby galaxies. This research shifts that paradigm and opens up a whole new area of research.
Congratulations to John and Turlough!
We were delighted to be joined by Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, for the launch of a new entry route into the B.Ed. undergraduate programme. This new route enables deaf people who use Irish Sign Language (ISL) to enter primary teaching.
The first pathway of this nature in the history of the State, the new B.Ed. (Irish Sign Language) is being provided in our Institute of Education from this September - initially on a pilot basis.
The new pathway sees the existing prerequisite for Leaving Certificate higher-level Irish being replaced with an entry requirement at a similar level in Irish Sign Language.
While entry to the course is exclusively for members of the Deaf Community who wish to become primary school teachers working in the deaf education sector, core modules will be delivered along with hearing peers in the B.Ed. programme, while modules specific to deaf education will be delivered as a specialism. The four-year, full-time undergraduate course also includes a 30-week school placement.
Sincere thanks to everyone involved in this important initiative and, in particular, to Dr Elizabeth Mathews from our School of Inclusive and Special Education, who has been unwavering in her commitment over the past eight years towards establishing this pathway.
Congratulations to Prof. Donal O’Gorman of our School of Health and Human Performance, who has been appointed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to its Medical Board.
The Board is responsible for guaranteeing the safety and well-being of humans in spaceflight and for ensuring the ethical conduct of research studies. The Board also establishes and approves the medical and psychological criteria for astronaut selection.
An exercise physiologist specialising in whole-body and skeletal muscle metabolism, Donal is the current Director of the National Institute of Cellular Biotechnology (NICB). Healso leads the 3U Diabetes Consortium, and is chair of the DCU Research Ethics Committee.
His appointment is a reflection of the sterling work carried out by Donal and his outstanding research contributions in the discipline of exercise physiology over a long number of years.
It is also noteworthy that this is the first time that Ireland has been represented at this level and it is a powerful endorsement of the international significance of Donal’s research.
In his work with the ESA, Donal has been investigating the changes that take place due to inactivity. During spaceflight, astronauts experience changes in their bodies that are similar to accelerated ageing. This work is helping us understand how metabolism can be regulated in the microgravity of space and this information is also being used to learn about ageing and age-related diseases on Earth.
The DCU Brexit Institute and Dublin Airport Central recently announced a new partnership that will see the airport's new and expanding commercial quarter sponsor the Institute.
Dublin Airport Central joins Arthur Cox, AIB and Grant Thornton as an official sponsor of the Institute.
At every stage of negotiations on the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the DCU Brexit Institute has been very active in analysing developments, in providing a platform for international speakers and sectoral experts, and in serving as a key resource for objective and informed commentary. I am confident that, with this new partnership, the Institute's influence will continue to grow through the critical journey ahead.
A new research institute focussing on digital technologies and their transformation of business has been launched at DCU. The Irish Institute for Digital Business (IIDB) takes over from the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing & Commerce (IC4), a national technology centre funded by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA since 2011.
A core part of the new centre will be DOTLAB, a dedicated space in DCU Business School for applied digital optimisation and transformation research. DOTLAB will host Irish and international researchers from industry and academia to pursue research on six key themes: The Future of Finance; The Future of Work; The Future of Sales and Marketing; The Future of Information Systems; The Future of Operations & Logistics; and The Future of Governance.
The IIDB comprises over 28 faculty members and full-time researchers, making it the largest concentration of digital business researchers in Ireland. Led by Professor Theo Lynn (DCUBS), the institute aims to transfer research insights and outcomes to multiple audiences, to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, optimise digital processes and, as a result, to transform those businesses.
The launch of IIDB marks the beginning of the next chapter in better understanding digital technologies within a business environment. A natural successor to IC4, the IIDB will comprise theoretical and applied research on the critical tools and trends that are shaping business today. I look forward to seeing the valuable outputs from the IIDB over the coming years as digital technologies and their role within the workplace continue their rapid and relentless evolution.
Congratulations to Dr Garrick Allen, Lecturer in New Testament at our School of Theology, Philosophy, and Music! Last month, Garrick was announced as a winner of a Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise, in recognition of his book, ‘The Book of Revelation and Early Jewish Textual Culture’ (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Winners are selected by the Research Centre for International and Interdisciplinary Theology (FIIT) of the University of Heidelberg and awards are given to the ten top dissertations or first books in biblical or theological studies written by scholars under the age of 35.
Commenting on the announcement, Garrick said: “I'm very proud to have received this prestigious award and I am very grateful from the support I received from my colleagues at DCU. The School of Theology, Philosophy, and Music is an excellent context to undertake ambitious and interdisciplinary research."
Garrick will receive his award on 17 May 2019 in Heidelberg.
A big congrats to Professor Maura McAdam, Director of Entrepreneurship in DCUBS, who was recently recognised at the inaugural Irish Women’s Awards 2019 for her service to education.
Maura is an internationally-recognised educator and scholar within the area of entrepreneurship, and her expertise is focused in particular on gender, incubation, technology entrepreneurship and family business.
These awards showcase the contribution of women to various industries and professions such as Law, Medicine, Technology, Arts, Education and others. It also provides a platform to thank and recognize meritorious women for their contributions to society as well as for the exceptional work they carry out on a daily basis.
I was pleased to participate recently at the launch of our annual Refugee Week and our new University of Sanctuary (UoS) website. Refugee Week 2019, which ran until Friday 1st February, celebrated a number of activities and developments associated with our UoS initiative since DCU’s designation in 2016, including:
- A total of 42 students enrolled in programmes to date across DCU Connected, Future Learn and campus-based programmes.
- A further 70 completed programmes through MELLIE (Migrant English Language, Literacy and Intercultural Education), a project which runs for 11 weeks with group sessions taking place weekly at DCU.
As Ireland’s first designated UoS, Refugee Week is one of a number of initiatives that DCU is committed to annually. Our aim is to welcome asylum seekers and refugees into the university community and promote a culture of inclusion for all.
Each year, Refugee Week aims to the DCU community together to build new links with our refugee and immigrant communities, especially those in direct provision.
Ray Walshe, Assistant Professor in our School of Computing and a ‘Digital Leader with the World Economic Forum’, has contributed to a significant report that was officially launched at the recent World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
Against the backdrop of Europe trying to catch up in innovation with other regions such as the US and China, the Innovate Europe: Competing for Global Innovation report provides insights into a new model for innovation, highlighting ways for Europe to change the game and address its lack of scale in digitisation and Artificial Intelligence. It also discusses the fundamental building blocks for European innovation competitiveness, including the status quo and concrete ideas in how to move forward.
Perspectives and scalable examples were collected and developed with a community of leading founders, investors, incubators, corporate and public figures from across Europe.
I recently completed my circuit of engagements with faculties and units of the University to discuss the roll-out of our Strategic Plan and to hear about local developments and strategies. At each meeting I was accompanied by various members of our Senior Management team and we all found it to be a very productive and engaging process. It gave us an opportunity to present an overview of the great progress achieved in the Year 1 roll-out of all 9 Strategic Goals in our Strategic Plan ‘Talent, Discovery and Transformation’. It also enabled us to hear directly from you about the work and developments in your area, the development of local strategic plans, your priorities, and your suggestions for areas of improvement in the University.
What most impressed us from our meetings was not only the excellent progress being made across all areas of the University, but also the close alignment of local strategies with the Strategic Goals set out in the overarching Strategic Plan for the University. This latter observation reflects the high degree of strategic coherence across the University and means that every member of our community is playing a role in advancing DCU according to our shared plan. I want to thank everyone for engaging with us so enthusiastically and for the great commitment you continue to show.
The 2019 QS World University Rankings by Subject were released in February and showed a number of significant achievements for DCU. DCU is now ranked for the first time in a number of subject areas. For example, we are now positioned within the top 250 Universities globally for Education. This is very impressive, since the DCU Institute of Education was established less than 2.5 years ago. In Accounting & Finance, DCU is now among the world’s top 300 universities. We have also recorded improvements in Business and Management Studies, and English Language & Literature. Both have joined the top 250 universities in their subject areas worldwide.
Our highest ranking subject areas are Politics & International Studies and Communication & Media Studies, both of which stand in the top 200. DCU is ranked number 1 nationally in Communications & Media Studies. Other significant achievements are the ranking of DCU in the top 250 globally for Business & Management Studies, and in the top 300 for both Computer Science & Information Systems and Chemistry. You can see from the table below that we have also made progress in some of our broad subject areas, with Social Sciences & Management jumping 69 places to a ranking of 271st in the world.
These positive rankings reflect the contributions of individuals right across the University. I want to congratulate and thank you all for that.
DCU in the 2019 QS World University Rankings by Subject
Ranking in 12 Subjects
- English Language & Literature 201-250
- Computer Science & Information Systems 251-300
- Engineering – Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing 351-400
- Engineering – Electrical & Electronic 301-350
- Biological Science 451-500
- Chemistry 251-300
- Physics & Astronomy 501-550
- Accounting & Finance 251-300
- Business & Management Studies 201-250
- Communications & Media Studies 151-200
- Education 201-250
- Politics & International Studies 151-200
Ranking in Broad Subject Areas
- Arts & Humanities 338
- Engineering & Technology 290
- Natural Sciences 451-500
- Social Science & Management 271
Another milestone for sustainability at DCU was achieved recently with the news that the Executive Committee of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has approved the application made by Dr Rob Gillanders and Dr Roisin Lyons, both of DCU Business School, for admission of DCU to membership of the network. The Sustainable Development Goals provide an important framework for evaluating progress on sustainability and impact on society across a broad range of areas, including eradication of poverty and deprivation, protection of the environment, and promotion of peace and good governance.
As an SDSN member, DCU will have privileged access to the online communications platform SDSN Mobilize. This will enable the University community to identify and connect with other sustainable development experts, to promote activities and events, and to discover new prospects for funding and collaboration. Teaching resources and insights are also shared by members of the network. The UN Sustainable Development Goals outline an ambitious and broad agenda which requires the types of research and expertise that is carried out across all of our five faculties. The SDSN Mobilize platform can play an important role in supporting our Strategic Goal #8 to ‘place Sustainability at the core of the University’. I hope that you will consider creating a profile on the platform.
Plans are at an advanced stage for ANAM 2019, DCU’s festival of Arts, Ideas and Creativity, which will take place on April 3rd and 4th. The festival is designed to offer students, staff and people from our local communities the chance to showcase their talent, to collaborate closely with established acts, and to engage in stimulating discussions as part of the programme of concerts, workshops, readings and discussions. With a programme featuring artists like Delorentos, Natalya O’Flaherty, David Keenan, Marina Carr, Landless and Mango X Mathman, it promises to be even better than last year’s inspiring event!
ANAM is curated and produced by Philip King and South Wind Blows (the team behind RTÉ’s Other Voices) in partnership with DCU. The festival is a manifestation of our Strategic Goal #7 to “Nurture culture and creativity across the University”, and also aligns with our plans to play a central role in establishing a North Dublin Cultural Quarter. I expect ANAM will truly live up to its billing as a “Celebration of Arts, Ideas and Creativity in North Dublin”. If you haven’t already marked April 3rd & 4th in your diary, please do so and don’t miss out on a great selection of arts and culture. Almost all events are free and the full programme and booking details are available here: www.dcu.ie/anam
We were delighted to welcome the announcement that DCU has been chosen as the host location for a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Advanced Metallic Systems (AMS). The designation is a joint award by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK's main organisation for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. Prof. Dermot Brabazon in the School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering will lead the Irish component of this Ireland-UK collaboration, which also involves the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and University College Dublin.
DCU has established a significant reputation in the areas of advanced manufacturing and processing technology and the establishment of the centre is an endorsement of our expertise in this area. Through this award, funding is provided to support over a hundred PhD students (approx. 30 in Ireland and 70 in the UK).
In terms of our national economy, the manufacturing sector is the second largest employer in the country and the new centre will play a key role in both growing our knowledge base in the area of metallics manufacturing and in responding to industry’s skills needs.
I am delighted with the take-up of courses on LinkedIn Learning, the online learning platform that recently went live for staff at DCU. We are the first Irish University to provide LinkedIn Learning at a ‘Partial Campus’ scale to all members of staff. 80% of Universities in the UK have LinkedIn Learning or Lynda.com (the same content) in some capacity.
The initiative is part of our Strategic Goal #5 to “Value and develop our staff community”. Hundreds of DCU staff have now activated their accounts, giving them access to thousands of video courses and Learning Paths across business, software, technology and creative domains. These expert-taught courses are designed to help you achieve your personal and professional goals through a personalised learning experience. You can access LinkedIn Learning on your phone, laptop or iPad at anytime, from anywhere, making this an extraordinary addition to professional learning services at DCU.
In addition, the platform brings on-demand software and technology training to staff, supporting our Digital Campus Vision. I understand that HR Learning and Development are currently developing Learning Paths specific to particular roles, as well as for specific functional units. The subject matter covers a range of topics including interpersonal skills, design, marketing, writing, programming, management, business intelligence.
We recently welcomed SFI funding awards worth over €340,000 for innovations in cancer and cellular research that demonstrate excellent potential for commercial application, specifically across the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The awards were made under SFI’s Technological Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme.
The 3 successful PIs were:
- Prof Martin Clynes (NICB), who received €128,422 for a project exploring the potential of novel proteins to be targeted as a new and highly specific anti-cancer drug.
- Dr Aisling Byrne, who is spearheading a project, valued at €121,279, to develop O2 and pH sensors that can be used to give an accurate insight into cell health using conventional lab instrumentation. The aim is to allow monitoring of the cellular environment without causing damage to the cells.
- Dr Creina Slator, who is leading a project worth €96,767 to develop a novel class of copper-based anticancer agents for preclinical evaluation. Therapeutic studies will be conducted in a range of mutated breast cancer cells and models to understand unique DNA actions. The project is of significant interest to the biopharmaceutical sector in the area of oncology.
Congratulations to all 3 awardees! These successes support Strategic Goal #2 to “Advance our reputation for world-class research” and are particularly well aligned to realize our ambition to translate our research into benefits for society.
We recently had the honour of welcoming the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, to DCU as part of our Mary McAleese Women in Leadership Lecture Series.
President Preca is renowned for her valuable contribution to women’s rights and gender equality and, throughout her Presidency, has established several initiatives that have helped drive change in Malta’s social policies.
During a wide-ranging address in front of a large audience, President Preca focused on the issue of women’s rights, stating that “women’s rights are human rights” and that “gender equality must be at the heart of our democracies.” President Preca also highlighted the importance of young people’s participation in the democratic process. She said she believes the younger generation can “be the game changers to achieve equality and equity in our societies”.
Thank you to all involved in organizing this series and other initiatives in the DCU Women in Leadership programme of initiatives.
DCU staff were central to the recent launch of the first phase of a newly developed Irish Sign Language (ISL) STEM Glossary project at the Deaf Heritage Centre in Cabra. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the project aims to create the first ever open-access online glossary of maths terms in Irish Sign Language.
The announcement by Dr Elizabeth Mathews, from our School of Inclusive and Special Education, marks the first step in the process of developing a comprehensive ISL STEM glossary to support STEM education for deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) learners at primary and post-primary school, their parents and their teachers.
The first phase of the glossary contains over 200 videos, including 25 newly coined signs for terms such as ‘standard deviation’, ‘composite number’, ‘mode’ and many others.
There are approximately 5,000 people in Ireland who use Irish Sign Language (ISL) as their first language (CSO, 2017). However, for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) to fully engage in STEM related subjects, there must be an agreed lexicon in ISL for STEM terms - a resource, which up until now, has been absent.
This new project is a significant step on this journey and it is also reflective of DCU’s commitment to inclusive education.
We were delighted to welcome Dr. Alie Kabba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone, to our St Patrick’s Campus recently.
Minister Kabba’s visit focused on Ireland’s strategy in relation to teacher education and, in particular, the Institute of Education’s approach to early childhood development. The topics of community education with an emphasis on quality teacher education and continuous learning for teachers were also of significant interest.
The new government of Sierra Leone launched its flagship programme on Free Quality Education in September 2018. This aims to ensure that all children have access to free quality education up to the end of the secondary education cycle. While gender parity has been achieved at primary level, participation of girls in secondary level reduces significantly with school fees and teenage pregnancy being cited as the most common causes of drop out. Irish Aid, through the Embassy of Ireland in Freetown, is supporting the government to finance the programme, via UNICEF.
Earlier this month, we welcomed funding awards worth over €150,000 by Science Foundation Ireland to fund projects dedicated to educating and engaging the public in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
We were particularly pleased to have been funded for projects targeted at engaging young females in STEM, while the establishment of an Irish Sign Language STEM Glossary is a fantastic development that will open up a new world of opportunities for children at primary and post-primary level. (see earlier in this eZine)
Congratulations to each of the successful project winners:
- Science on Stage (Funding of €15,200). Project lead: Dr. Eilish McLoughlin, School of Physical Sciences
- Let's talk about STEM: Supports for girls' early science engagement (Funding of €49,130.50). Project Lead: Dr. Sinéad McNally, Institute of Education
- Mathematics Teaching Practices Toolkit (Funding of €49,998.00). Project Lead: Dr. Siún Nic Mhuiri, Institute of Education
- Irish Sign Language Glossary Project Phase 2: Environmental Science (Funding of €50,000.00). Project Lead: Dr. Elizabeth Mathews, School of Inclusive and Special Education
A unique piece of research, which was led by Prof Pamela Gallagher, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, has found that survivors’ self-management skills after treatment for head and neck cancer has a strong link with their measurement of quality of life and also fears that their cancer may return.
Headline findings showed that practices which include positive and active engagement in daily life, constructive attitudes and approaches to the illness and the development of skills and techniques to cope with life after treatment, were significantly associated with a higher quality of life and a lower fear of cancer returning.
Cancer of the head and neck is among the top ten most common cancers in Ireland, with around 500 cases diagnosed in Ireland in 2017.
The findings, which were published in the journal Psycho-Oncology, will make an important contribution to progressing developments in public policy health care for head and neck cancer survivors.
I was delighted to see two recent successes for DCU spin-out SepTec. My congratulations go to Dr Elaine Spain (Analytical Chemistry, DCU) and Dr Kellie Adamson (Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Biomaterials, DCU) who have been shortlisted for SFI’s €1 million Future Innovator Prize for their project ‘SepTec: Improving Outcomes for Sepsis Patients’. The company’s innovative solution delivers Sepsis diagnosis within 15 minutes - a process that previously would have taken hours.
The SepTec team was also recognised for its groundbreaking work when they won ‘Best Research Project’ at the recent Education Awards. Congratulations once more to Dr. Kellie Adamson, Dr. Elaine Spain and also to Prof. Robert Forster. The awards recognise, encourage and celebrate excellence in the third level education sector in Ireland.
I am glad to say DCU was also shortlisted in the following categories:
- Best Education Outreach Award – DCU Connected University of Sanctuary Scholarships
- Best Use of Educational Technology/ ICT Initiative of the Year – DCU’s Reflect Online Learning Portfolios
- Best International Research Project Collaboration – ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology & Huawei.
The ANAM Festival of Arts, Ideas and Creativity gets underway this week across our three academic campuses, and I encourage you snap up any tickets that are left for this year’s wide range of excellent events.
Among other objectives, the ANAM festival celebrates and showcases the creativity and artistic talent of our students and staff. A quick glance at the festival programme provides a reminder that, working alongside us in DCU, we have some exceptional artists, such as Marina Carr, Ronan Guilfoyle, Réaltán Ní Leannáin, John O’Flynn, Síle Denvir, Francis Ward and Dermot Diamond (and that’s just a sample!).
I am greatly looking forward to hearing some extraordinary music from world-renowned performers such as Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham, and bright new talent like DCU student Natalya O’Flaherty. ANAM’s thought-provoking talks and discussions explore a broad range of topics from the art of composing movie soundtracks, to Dublin’s gay community of the 1980’s, to mental health and the music industry, and the issue of online hate speech.
There’s a feast of lunchtime concerts over the two days featuring the talents of DCU Campus Choir, DCU Jazz and Contemporary Music Performance students, DCU Music Society Choir, Trad Soc and Drama Soc.
All events are free except for the two flagship events: Wednesday night’s ‘Heart of the Rowl’ concert in All Hallows church, and the ‘Other Voices presents ANAM’ gig in The U on Thursday. Click here to book tickets.
DCU was chosen as the venue for the announcement, last month, of major funding for Science Foundation Ireland’s six new Centres for Research Training. This is a €100 million initiative that provides opportunities for more than 700 PhD students and also involves significant collaboration between industry and higher education institutions. The launch was attended by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister of State for Innovation, John Halligan TD, and Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government.
DCU will participate in three of the six new centres, in the areas of Machine Learning, Digitally Enhanced Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Congratulations to Professor Alan Smeaton, Dr Suzanne Little, and Professor Noel O’Connor for their work as the respective DCU leads in these centres. Up to 100 PhD scholarships, worth over €10m, will come to DCU
This represents another important step forward as we continue working on our Strategic Goal #2 to ‘advance our reputation for world class research’, in this case in the field of digital innovation.
A high point of last month’s Spring Conferring ceremonies was the conferring of an Honorary Doctorate on poet Paula Meehan. Few artists truly deserve to be called ‘inspirational’, but Paula Meehan is assuredly one of them, and the standing ovation she received following her acceptance speech was testimony to that.
She spoke eloquently about her life as an artist, about embracing the challenges and rewards of following the ‘poet’s path’. She emphasised the enduring influence that her experience growing up in north Dublin has had on her life and work, and we were very honoured to hear her read her poem ‘At the Spring Equinox’, which was specially written for the occasion and finishes with a reference to DCU:
“when all my angels are angels of the apocalypse.
They reach me up into the stretched redemptive light of dawn
where we’ll rove out by wet concrete, by hedges of blackthorn
through Albert College grounds and all our world
becalmed, enchanted and beguiled —
a blackbird singing in the fields of morning.”
As I said in my concluding remarks, the Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) is the highest award that DCU can bestow. The decision to bestow this honour on Paula was based upon her body of exceptional artistic work, allied with, and inextricable from, her compassion, clarity, and courage.
Two important DCU events in recent weeks reaffirmed the positive impact of clearly communicating our research to an audience outside the confines of our own field.
The first was Professor Tomás Ward’s inaugural lecture as AIB Chair in Data Analytics at DCU. Tomás did a wonderful job in clearly communicating complex ideas to an audience that included many non-specialist members.
His lecture, ‘You and AI are made for each other: Living better, through machine learning’, was a highly engaging response to misconceptions about this field and highlighted a range of positive applications for AI in the healthcare field.
The second event was ‘Tell It Straight’ - the annual communications competition that challenges research students to communicate their research, and its potential impact, to a non-specialist audience in a concise, dynamic and innovative way.
As always, the talented students that qualified for the final were hugely impressive. All the contestants on the day clearly showed both in-depth knowledge and persuasive communication skills. My thanks to the Graduate Studies Office for organizing this important event and my congratulations to all those who took part, and in particular the winning contestants, listed below:
Tell It Straight Final 2019
Oral Category 1: Year 1 research students
Winner: Paula Lehane, School of Policy & Practice, DCU Institute of Education
Title: What can digital assessments tell us about test-takers?
Supervisor: Prof Michael O’Leary
Runner-up: Andrew Dorman, School of History & Geography
Title: ‘Well made, with a small stoop in his shoulders’: Military Desertion reports in Eighteenth Century Ireland
Supervisor: Prof James Kelly
Oral Category 2: Research students from later years
Winner: Daniel Carey, School of Communications
Title: ‘Fit to print’? An oral history of Irish journalism
Supervisor: Dr Mark O’Brien
Runner-up: Abigail Walsh, School of Computing
Title: Mark my Multiwords: Processing Multiword Expressions in Irish
Supervisor: Dr Jennifer Foster and Dr Teresa Lynn
Winner: Denise Burtenshaw, School of Biotechnology
Title: The Secret Messengers of our Vasculature
Supervisor: Prof Paul Cahill
Runner-up: Moign Khawaja, School of Law & Government
Title: Was the “Islamic State” even a State?
Supervisor: Prof Maura Conway
It is very encouraging to see the ever-growing number of international research projects on which DCU is taking the lead role. Last week, I welcomed partner organisations from 8 EU countries (Ireland, Austria, Cyprus, Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, Finland and Sweden) to our Institute of Education as they began a DCU-led project titled ‘Assessment of Transversal Skills in STEM’. This is an ambitious partnership that has secured €2.34 million in Erasmus+ funding. Working with 120 schools across Europe, the partners will devise, test and scale new digital assessments for STEM education that engage and enhance students’ transversal skills such as teamwork, communication and discipline-specific critical thinking.
The project is led by three DCU Research Centres: The National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL), The Centre for Assessment Research Policy and Practice in Education (CARPE) and the Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning (CASTeL). Critically, the partner organisations include Education ministries in each country, including the Department of Education and Skills here in Ireland. By integrating policy-makers into the process, it is hoped the models that emerge from the project will have an increased chance of being implemented on a large scale, thus having a genuine impact on STEM education Europe-wide.
Meanwhile, another DCU-led consortium was recently awarded ~ €1m for a project examining ways of tackling gender inequalities in the entrepreneurial sector. The group is led by Professor Maura McAdam from DCUBS and also comprises researchers from Norway, Israel and Sweden. The 3-year project, titled ‘Overcoming the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Gender Divide: A Cross-Cultural Perspective’, will provide an understanding of how gender is a decisive factor in women’s participation in entrepreneurship, with a focus on women in technology. The funding was awarded by the Irish Research Council under the EU-funded initiative GENDER-NET Plus.
A DCU-coordinated project has also received a funding award of over €1 million via the European Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA). Prof. Andy Way, Deputy Director, ADAPT Centre and the School of Computing, will lead on a project titled "Providing Resources in Irish, Norwegian, Croatian and Icelandic for the Purposes of Language Engineering". The group aims to improve the quality and performance of automated translation solutions for online and digital services.
Congratulations to everyone involved in these international projects that are great examples of our ongoing commitment to Strategic Goal #2 (Advance our Reputation for World-Class Research).
We are continuing to move forward with the development of the University's One DCU Initiative, aimed at developing a shared culture across DCU. As you know, HR recently distributed a summary of key findings from their staff survey. This was the first part of a three-step process to support DCU's Strategic Goal #5 “To value and develop our Staff Community”.
As part of the next step, our colleagues in HR will be holding a series of workshops and round-table discussions for staff, at which they will outline their ambitions to create a One DCU culture that is diverse and inclusive, and which brings our shared values to life.
The final step in this process will take place on Friday, May 10th, 2019, when you will have the opportunity to engage constructively with your colleagues, via an online platform, about the future culture of the University. This online conversation will be similar to 2017’s DCU Fuse, which helped to shape the University’s current Strategic Plan ‘Talent, Discovery and Transformation’.
Please keep an eye on your inbox over the coming weeks for full details of all of these important events.
Recent successes for DCU researchers in the latest round of the Irish Research Council's COALESCE fund give a clear indication that we are living up to our mission ‘to transform lives and societies’.
Professor Anne Matthews (School of Nursing and Human Sciences) was awarded a grant of €350,000 for a three year project 'Enhancing evidence-based infant feeding policy implementation in Malawi'. The award was co-funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the co-Principal Investigator is Professor Ellen Chirwa from University of Malawi.
Professor Pamela Gallagher (School of Nursing and Human Sciences) received a grant of €120,000 for her two-year project entitled 'Designing for Enhanced Participation through Technology in Higher Education - The DEPTH Study'.
Dr. Tanya Ni Mhuirthile (School of Law and Government), along with Professor Anthony Staines and Dr. Mel Duffy, both from the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, received a grant of €200,000 for a project which focuses on ' Mapping the Lived Experience of Intersex in Ireland'.
Dr. Catherine Maunsell with Dr. Ashling Bourke, both from the School of Human Development, DCU Institute of Education, received an award of €100,000 for the TEACH-RSE study on Teacher Professional Development and Relationships and Sexuality Education RSE. This award was co-funded by the Health Services Executive HSE: Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.
Congratulations to all our awardees!
I was delighted to accept our new ‘Fairtrade University’ designation on behalf of DCU recently. We were honoured to be joined at the ceremony by Sara Montoya, a Fairtrade coffee producer from Colombia, who made the official presentation. She spoke impressively, and movingly, about the positive changes Fairtrade has brought to her community in the Risaralda region of Colombia.
By choosing the growing number of Fairtrade products available on our campus restaurants, cafés and shops, we ensure that producers of coffee, bananas, chocolate and cotton, for example, are treated fairly. Farm communities in developing countries also get a dividend that can be spent on local environmental measures, education and sanitation.
Implementing Fairtrade practices will be an ongoing process. Our catering company, Trispace, has committed to stating a preference for Fairtrade in all future tenders, and a Fairtrade Working Group will maintain and oversee DCU’s certification. This designation marks another step forward as we work on DCU’s Strategic Goal #8 to ‘Place Sustainability at the core of the University’.
My congratulations go to everyone involved in this important initiative including: DCU Sustainability Manager, Samantha Fahy, Retail Manager Donnie Christian, Trispace Catering General Manager, Brian Bates, and members of the DCU Sustainable Living Student Society.
My recent visit to the United States over St Patrick’s week, in partnership with DCU Educational Trust and DCU Alumni Relations, provided a welcome opportunity to meet with alumni, engage with industry leaders, and connect with many of the University’s US-based supporters and friends.
DCU played a key part in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in New York this year. DCU Trustee, Brian O’Dwyer, was this year’s Grand Marshal in the 258th New York City Parade. Brian was recognised by DCU with an honorary doctorate in 2013 for his humanitarian and legal work for immigrants in the United States.
A group of DCU musicians, students Erica Mannion, Tomasina McGinnity, Emma Cronly, Shauna Mannion and James Wallace, along with Dr Roisin Blunnie and Dr Sean Doherty from the Faculty of Theology, Philosophy and Music, performed wonderfully at a range of NY events, including the traditional service at St Patrick’s Cathedral and on 5th Ave as the parade was arriving - a moment captured on a New York TV channel.
It was great to meet with DCU alumni groups in both San Francisco and New York and to see that DCU graduates are flourishing in a variety of sectors across the US. There was a very positive response to the enhanced engagement from our Alumni Relations office, under the leadership of Ross Munnelly, and the new strategic focus on the US from DCU Educational Trust.
I was also pleased to address the Irish American Partnership’s St Patrick’s Day event in Boston, at which the organisation announced a donation of $10,000 towards the Western Seaboard Science Programme. The WSSP is a DCU-led initiative whose Transfer Initiative makes Continuing Professional Development more widely available to primary school STEM educators, working at small rural schools in the west of Ireland.
It was a great pleasure to recently confer DCU honorary doctorates on two iconic figures in Irish sport. Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Joe Schmidt are truly deserving of the honour of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa), and unsurprisingly, the ceremony was full of warmth, wisdom and wit.
Micheál is the voice of our national games - Guth na gCluichí Gaelacha. A champion, not just for sport, but also for the Irish language and for our country’s older citizens. Joe is Irish Rugby’s most successful ever national head coach. He’s an inspirational leader who encourages and cultivates not only excellence but also important values.
Both men started life as teachers, and have continued their dedication to the development and education of young people, on and off the pitch. Indeed, Joe Schmidt once said, “a lot of coaching is just teaching and learning”.
The honorees’ charity work was also highlighted. In his citation, Jim Dowling, the former Deputy President of DCU noted Joe’s work for Epilepsy Ireland. Meanwhile the citation delivered by Larry Quinn, Chairman of the DCU Educational Trust, described Micheál as “a standard bearer for healthy and active aging in Ireland”.
The hard work of so many staff and students in making DCU a more sustainable University is really starting to pay off. Dublin City University has been ranked in the world’s Top 100 in the inaugural Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.
The rankings rate universities on their positive impact on the social and economic fabric of society, using the framework of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The University’s strong performance in the areas of climate action, sustainability, health and wellbeing were singled out as strong factors in DCU achieving it’s ranking at 98th in the world.
In its commentary, Times Higher Education said: ‘DCU’s inclusion in these rankings is in itself a great achievement and it marks DCU out as a global pioneer – demonstrating the institution’s commitment not just to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals through its teaching, research and knowledge transfer, but also to embodying the goals in DCU’s internal practices, policies and procedures...’.
DCU ranked in eleven of the overall seventeen United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and performed most highly in three:
● Climate Action (SDG 13) DCU is ranked at no. 28
● Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) DCU is ranked at no. 42
● Partnership for the Goals (SDG 17) - DCU is ranked at no. 48
It was a real pleasure to welcome Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh to DCU last month, as part of the Mary McAleese Women in Leadership series.
It was interesting to learn that Francesca’s rapid rise to the higher echelons of the banking sector didn’t come with the support of expensive private schooling or family advantages. Her story stands as a reminder that those with talent, dedication and ambition can get to the top of their field.
As with other speakers in the series, she offered many valuable insights. When asked about the role of mentorship in a career path, she suggested keeping it simple: “find someone you respect and admire and buy them a cup of coffee once a month.”
She also acknowledged imposter syndrome as something she has experienced at various stages, but urged women to embrace leadership roles and develop confidence: “I think self-belief is really important and having a few people in your life who really give you that backbone or confidence... the belief that you’re good enough. Take on the risk of failing, apply for jobs even if you don’t think you’ll get it.
Francesca added that she had benefited greatly from “being very receptive to feedback, even from people whom you know don’t like you, and being self-correcting.”
It was a real pleasure to attend the recent event in the U celebrating a record-breaking year for DCU Women’s Rugby. DCU is the first club ever to win a ‘Clean Sweep’ of Intervarsity Women’s Rugby competitions in a single season.
They are champions of Division 1 and Division 2, All-Ireland Cup Winners, Winners of the Kay Bowen Intervarsities Cup, and All Ireland Sevens Champions. By any standard, in any sport, and indeed at any level, that is an incredible achievement.
I congratulate all the players involved in the club. A season like this does not happen without an incredible amount of hard work and dedication on the part of everyone involved. Congratulations also to Head Coach Eddie Fallon, Assistant Coach Ailsa Hughes and Rugby Development Officer Rob Mullen.
The sale of a DCU-born tech startup made headlines last month. Touchtech emerged from DCU’s student entrepreneurship programme, UStart, which was coordinated by the team at the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. It was acquired by online payments giant Stripe (another Irish-led success story) last month for an undisclosed sum.
Touchtech was established in 2014, while co-founder Shekinah Adewumi was studying Mechatronic Engineering at DCU. The company was later scaled up at the DCU Alpha Innovation Campus in Glasnevin.
It was one of the first financial technology companies in Europe to develop a solution that uses biometric scanning to authenticate online payments. It also became the first Irish company to offer a MasterCard and Visa certified payment authentication system using fingerprinting in 2015.
The Touchtech story shows how DCU’s support for student entrepreneurship enables new ideas to develop and flourish. In this way, the creativity of students can be translated into economic and societal benefits, and the students themselves benefit hugely from the experience.
There was an undoubtedly emotional edge to the recent launch of ‘Fearless: The Journalism of Mary Raftery’. The opening of this excellent new exhibition, at the O’Reilly Library on our Glasnevin Campus, came just days after the murder of investigative journalist Lyra McKee. The killing provided a stark reminder of the real dangers faced by reporters who investigate the dark corners of our society.
Mary Raftery was one such reporter. Indeed, her legacy as one of the most influential journalists of the past half-century has yet to be surpassed. She continues to inspire successive generations entering the profession.
The exhibition launch coincided with the 20th anniversary of the airing of Raftery’s groundbreaking television documentary series ‘States of Fear’ (RTÉ, 1999). Based on extensive research and the personal testimony of survivors of the industrial school system, the series prompted an apology from the Irish Government and resulted in the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the schools. Congratulations must go to all those involved in the exhibition, particularly Mark O’Brien, Miriam Corcoran and David Meehan (as seen in the photo above)
The event also provided the opportunity to announce details of a new journalism industry prize for investigative journalism - The Mary Raftery Prize. This honour will be awarded annually to an individual or small team responsible for journalistic work produced on the island of Ireland that demonstrates the rigorous analysis and commitment to social justice which characterised Mary Raftery’s journalism, and also resulted in a significant impact on society.
Last month saw another step forward in DCU’s efforts to improve pathways to third level education for all, with the launch of the new DCU Access to the Workplace Programme. This pilot initiative will provide up to 45 DCU 2nd Year Access students with a high quality work placement this summer, hosted by 30 leading Irish companies participating in the scheme.
The scheme was developed through a collaboration between DCU’s Access Service and DCU Educational Trust. It came about due to an understanding that Access students rely on summer employment to save for the upcoming academic year. The companies involved will offer placements that will allow our students to not only generate a modest income this summer but also to prepare for working in a professional environment and to gain experience in their chosen field.
Participating enterprises will also benefit greatly from the programme. With over 28 years’ experience of running Ireland’s largest Access programme, we know that our Access students excel academically. But they also possess other attributes that employers value, such as resilience, adaptability, and the ability to apply analytical skills to new challenges.
The companies taking part in Access to the Workplace in 2019 are: AIG Europe Ltd, Aon Ireland, B.C. McGettigan Limited, Bonnington Hotel, Britvic International and Ireland, CAE Parc Aviation, Cityjet Ltd, Codex Office Solutions, Collen Construction, County Monaghan Fund, CRH Plc, Fenergo, Marks and Spencer Ireland Matheson, Matthews Coach Hire Limited, McGarrell Reilly Group, McKeon Group, Mondelez Ireland Ltd, National Treasury Management Agency, Oracle, Pigsback.com, PwC, Verizon Media Group, Vodafone, Willis Towers Watson, Highfield Hospital Group, Irish Aviation Authority, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, Neogen, William Fry Solicitors.
DCU has a well-established reputation for Innovation based on our effective translation of knowledge created through research into outcomes that benefit society and the economy. The achievements of DCU staff and students in this area was celebrated last month at the presentation of the 2019 President’s Awards for Innovation.
The Academic and Research Category Award was won by Dr Finbarr O’Sullivan from the National Institute of Cellular Biotechnology (NICB). Dr O’Sullivan’s research has focussed on addressing sight loss, and in particular on the development of cultured cornea-limbal stem eye cells to regenerate the cornea surface for the treatment of patients.
In the Student Category, PhD student, Eva Vanmassenhove took the award for her work on tackling the issue of gender bias in machine translation.
Undergraduate Computer Applications student, Kevin Cogan, was also an award-winner for his Dyslex-E programme. This application creates a dyslexic-friendly online environment to reduce the number of reading errors on screen, and increase user reading speed and accessibility.
The achievements of staff and students in working with a variety of communities was also celebrated at the event, where the 2019 President’s Awards for Engagement were presented. This year’s award winning contributions embodied the mission of DCU to ‘transform lives and societies’.
Dr Elizabeth Mathews, from the School of Inclusive & Special Education, was winner of the Staff Category. Dr Mathews has been working with the deaf community since 2003. During her time at DCU, Dr Mathews has made a leading contribution to the opening of BEd Irish Sign Language (first of its kind in Ireland), and the development of an ISL STEM glossary, as part of an SFI-funded project.
A Special Merit Award went to Prof Barry McMullin, from the School of Electronic Engineering, for his public policy engagement and leadership in the area of climate change and sustainability.
The Student Category Award went to Austin Campbell (MSc PR and Strategic Communications) for My Streets - a social enterprise that engages homeless trainees on a three month programme based around storytelling and confidence, creative writing and tour guiding skills delivered by professional trainers.
A Special Merit Award went to Jennifer Harrington (School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering) for her role in promoting the greater female participation in engineering through activities such as establishing the DCU Women in Engineering Community and organising the Women in Engineering Open Day at DCU.
It’s an alarming fact that Ireland throws away 200 million single-use coffee cups every year. In an effort to play our part, DCU recently entered an exciting new partnership called CoCup that will be rolled out across our campuses shortly.
This is essentially a Deposit and Return scheme for coffee cups. You simply pay a deposit for a reusable takeaway cup, and you get your deposit back when you return it to any participating coffee outlet.
This pilot scheme, brings together DCU and Trinity College with our local authority, Dublin City Council, to provide a leadership example in the area of sustainability. Along with your commitment to phase out single-use plastics, this is an important part of our efforts to ‘place sustainability at the core of the University’ (Strategic Goal #8).
DCU’s Sustainability Manager Samantha Fahy is to be commended for driving this partnership. I was also delighted to discover that the enterprise that is operating the initiative, 2GoCup Ltd, was founded by DCU Business School student Kevin Murphy.
None of us working in Irish Universities doubts the positive impact our activities have on our society, but a new report prepared by consultants Indecon lays out the socio-economic benefits in black and white, and the figures are impressive.
The report (the first undertaken on the impact of Universities on the economy and society) found that Universities generate €386 million per annum from international students and €1.5 billion in R&D impacts. The study, commissioned by the Irish Universities Association (IUA), found that the Irish economy benefited by €8.9 billion last year from Ireland’s seven universities.
In one regard, the report is extremely positive, and stands as an endorsement of the sector’s achievements. However, it comes against a background of ever-increasing student numbers, and the continued under-resourcing of Irish Universities.
The month began with a celebration of arts, ideas and creativity, in the shape of our second annual Anam festival. Anam 2019 enlivened all of our academic campuses with music, art, discussion and literature.
The programme highlighted the impressive talent of both our staff and our students. Congratulations must go to the programme curators South Wind Blows, led by Philip King, our team in DCU President’s Office, and the many staff and student volunteers who helped make events such a success.
It is hard to pick out highlights, but it must be said that The Heart of the Rowl (in All Hallows Church) featured some remarkable performances from the likes of David Keenan, Cormac Begley and Libby McCrohan, Síle Denvir and DCU Trad Soc. The Visual Voices exhibition (part of DCU’s University of Sanctuary Mellie storytelling initiative) was a moving and impactful exploration of life in ‘direct provision’, and it was a privilege to catch Five Cities, a unique musical collaboration between Ireland and India led by our own Ronan Guilfoyle and renowned percussionist Ramesh Shotham.
Anam is an integral part of DCU’s Strategic Goal to “nurture creativity and culture across the University, as well as a commitment to developing a North Dublin Cultural Quarter.
We received many positive comments from staff about our ‘One DCU’ events last month. Thank you to everyone who participated in these. The events (a series of campus social gatherings, and an online ‘One DCU’ Fuse event) aimed to address our Strategic Goal #5 (Value and Develop our Staff Community).
These activities were a very useful opportunity to listen to your ideas, concerns and suggestions. Director of HR, Marian Burns, and her team will provide feedback shortly regarding the messages derived from the events and the actions planned in response.
One issue that was raised in a number of the conversations concerned DCU’s Values and the importance of living up to these in our institutional behaviour. Some indicated that they were not aware of our values. With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to include our Vision, Mission and Values, as laid out in our Strategic Plan Talent, Discovery and Transformation, in this month’s ezine.
To transform lives and societies through education, research, innovation, and engagement.
DCU will be a globally-significant University of Transformation and Enterprise that is renowned for:
— the development of talent,
— the discovery and translation of knowledge to advance society,
— its focus on creativity and innovation,
— the advancement and application of technology
— its commitment to sustainability.
Culture and Values:
We foster a culture that is:
We are committed to:
— Educational opportunity
— Social justice
— Ethical behaviour
— Academic freedom
It is also planned to circulate a leaflet summarising our Vision, Mission and Values to all Schools and Units in the coming weeks.
We were delighted to receive the news in May that Dublin City University has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Student Sport Ireland Sports College of the Year Award! During the 2018-19 academic year, DCU entered 12 teams across five different sporting competitions run by Student Sport Ireland. DCU won Women’s Rugby Division 1, Division 2, and Tier 1 Cup, Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens, and were Runners Up in Men’s Volleyball. DCU topped the Student Sport Ireland League tables across all the Higher Education Institutions in Ireland.
The Award was presented by Carmel Lynch, Chairperson of Student Sport Ireland to Yvonne McGowan, DCU Senior Sport Development Officer, and Rob Mullen, DCU Rugby Development Officer, at the Student Sport Ireland Networking event on May 23rd.
Congratulations are due to James Galvin and the team in DCU Sports & Wellbeing and also to Una Redmond and the team in the Office of Student Life for their role in developing and supporting Clubs in DCU to achieve this significant award.
DCU has received a very positive report from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), following our Institutional Quality Review earlier this year.
The report of the review carried out by an international panel of experts was published last month.
The review report included the following commendations:
the progress achieved by DCU in the incorporation process. It applauded the University’s commitment to securing buy-in to the concept of “one DCU”, the creation of a new, shared, mission and values, and the singularity of purpose of the Faculty Deans.
the engagement of the Governing Authority’s external members with the quality assurance and enhancement agenda.
the creation of the Quality Promotions Office and the co-location within it of the institutional research function.It has greatly improved quality assurance and enhancement activities at the University, providing focussed process support for improvements.
the University’s comprehensive and inclusive approach to the development of the 2017-22 strategic plan and its ‘rolling planning’ process.
the University-wide commitment to research and its continuing efforts to identify and refine its research priorities.
the extensive range of services provided by the Student Support and Development Centre (welcoming in particular the proposed Leadership and Life-skills centre) and its informed approach to developing, evaluating and adapting its services.
the proposed development of the Global Experience and Global Citizenship Plan and its associated Language Plan.
the operation of DCU Connected, its strategic and dynamic approach, and its alignment with the Institutional Mission in terms of opening access and delivering online learning.
the innovative INTRA programme and welcomes its potential roll out to all undergraduate programmes as part of the new DCU Strategic Plan.
the proactive work of the TEU aligned to the institutional strategy and its responsiveness to staff demand.
DCU’s commitment to widening participation in third level education and with its new initiatives relating to prospective learners with autism, learners within the asylum system, and to students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds pursuing a teacher education programme.
DCU’s procedure for students at risk of academic non-progression, not only for a clear methodology for identifying at risk students but also for ensuring that it is a student-centred and student-led approach.
DCU is the first Irish university to undergo QQI’s CINNTE review. The state agency is responsible for the external Quality Assurance of Further and Higher Education and Training in Ireland.
The review panel also made recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years. Recommendations for improvement included:
Independent evaluation of the student learning experience at module level
Development of university-wide policies on minimum standards to ensure consistent learning experiences across faculties and schools
Clarification and streamlining of strategy and QA processes in relation to Transnational Education partnerships
Implementation of DCU’s Performance Management Development Scheme to ensure quality and provide staff support
The recent naming ceremony for the Veronica Guerin Lecture Theatre was a very moving event. Veronica was not only one of Ireland’s most fearless and dedicated journalists, she was also a trailblazer for equality.
The naming is part of Project 50:50, one of a suite of initiatives under the DCU Women in Leadership programme, and entails a commitment by the university to name half of our major buildings and lecture theatres after inspiring females.
We were honoured to be joined by members of Veronica’s family, including her brother Jimmy. He told those gathered that the pain of his sister’s murder will never go away, but the honour of naming one of DCU’s lecture theatres in her honour would help to ease the family’s loss. Jimmy said: “The naming of this theatre is, in a way, Veronica returning to a place she loved.”
Veronica had a strong affinity with DCU, having served as a member of the Governing Authority at DCU/NIHE for ten years, from 1982 - 1992. In 2007, our School of Communications and Independent News & Media (INM) established a memorial scholarship in memory of Veronica.
The Veronica Guerin Ireland Funds Fellowship, funded by the Ireland funds, was also established in 2017 and enables DCU journalism graduates to participate in the News21 programme delivered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix.
The 2019 recipients of these bursaries were announced at the naming event:
- Alix Renaud received the Veronica Guerin Memorial Scholarship.
- Rachel Farrell was awarded the Veronica Guerin Ireland Funds Fellowship.
DCU’s commitment to word-class teaching and research relies strongly on the excellence of our technical and support teams. It was very gratifying to see one such team get the recognition it deserves during May. The Awards Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) Education Division has selected the DCU School of Chemical Sciences Technical Team to receive the RSC 2019 Higher Education Technical Excellence Award.
The award is given to those working in technical support roles within the HE Sector in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The awarding committee highlighted the team’s development of health and safety guidelines for the Irish Higher Education system that surpass national requirements, as well as their work on developing solutions to accommodate students with disabilities in practical laboratory sessions.
The Technical team at the School of Chemical Sciences are Veronica Dobbyn, Chief Technical Officer, Damien McGuirk, Senior Technical Officer, Mary Ross, Senior Technical Officer, Vincent Hooper, Senior Technical Officer, John McLoughlin, Senior Technical Officer, Catherine Keogh, Technical Officer, Aisling McCarthy, Technical Officer, Ambrose May, Stores Manager, Mary Tspon, Accounts Assistant.
DCU’s international reputation for producing world-class journalism graduates has been highlighted again, with two major awards for DCU Alumni in the United States.
Paula McMahon, a DCU Master’s in Journalism graduate, was part of a small team of Florida-based reporters which was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Public Service journalism 2019.
Paula and the team at the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale won their Pulitzer for exposing failings by school and law enforcement officials before and after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.
Paula graduated from DCU with a Diploma in Journalism in 1990, and in 2012 she completed a DCU Master’s in Journalism.
More recently, DCU journalism graduates, Rosanna Cooney and Catherine Devine, were among a group of students who were awarded the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (College Category).
The award was in recognition of the Carnegie-Knight News21 ‘Hate in America’ investigative reporting project. This eight-month investigation, based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix, highlighted acts of intolerance, racism and hate crimes across the USA. The content produced by the team was published by major newspapers and news sites across the country.
Major congratulations are due to Donnie Christian, DCU Londis Retail Manager, who is officially Ireland’s best grocery manager! Donnie beat tough competition at the 2019 Shelflife Magazine Grocery Management Awards to win the title of Supreme Champion Grocery Manager of the year.
Donnie, who manages our new Londis store on the DCU Glasnevin campus, also picked up the prize for the Large Convenience Store Manager of the Year.
The judges were particularly impressed by the sustainable nature of the store, and the emphasis on Fairtrade goods - something that aligns with DCU’s Strategic Goal No. 8 to “place sustainability at the core of the University.”
The citation for Donnie’s Supreme award said the Londis store “focuses on accommodating diverse customer needs, enhancing the customer experience, minimising the environmental footprint, and supporting more sustainable and ethical food production, officially launching Ireland’s most technologically advanced and sustainable grocery store, in the heart of the DCU Glasnevin campus.”
I very much welcome the recent opening of an important new piece of infrastructure in the School of Biotechnology. The Microbial Bioprocessing Facility (MBF) was funded from our Teaching Infrastructure Fund. This fund was established as part of our Campus Development Plan (funded primarily by loan finance from the EIB and ISIF). The aim of the Teaching Infrastructure Fund was to address deficits in teaching infrastructure arising from many years of underfunding from Government. Funds were allocated to our 5 faculties each of which made their own decisions regarding funding priorities.
In deciding to invest in the MBF, the Faculty of Science and Health is reinforcing one of DCU’s original flagship degree programmes. Ireland’s first Biotechnology degree was developed at DCU over thirty-five years ago, after foresight exercises predicted that the future of production lay at the interface between biology and process engineering.
Ireland is now one of the biggest producers of biopharmaceuticals in the world and north Dublin is a major international hub for the production of the latest, life-saving drugs emerging from the laboratories of all the big players in biopharma.
By focusing this investment on microbial bioprocessing we can position ourselves to be the number one facility in the country for not only teaching microbial bioprocessing, but also for collaborating with the many indigenous food and Agri-food companies thriving in our region.
Major congratulations are due to Professor Liam Barry from our School of Electronic Engineering who was elected recently to membership of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).
With a strong international reputation for excellence in his field, Liam is a deserving recipient of this honour. He is a Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator and Director of the Radio and Optical Communications Laboratory at DCU.
His main research interests include all-optical signal processing, optical pulse generation and characterization, hybrid radio/fibre communication systems, wavelength tunable lasers for reconfigurable optical networks, and optical performance monitoring.
He has published over 200 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, 250 papers in international peer-reviewed conferences, and holds 10 patents in the area of optoelectronics. His work and intellectual property has led to the establishment of two successful spin-out companies.
I think everyone who attended the recent symposium DCU and the Sustainable Development Goals would agree that it was a hugely positive and impressive event.
The day-long event featured presentations by colleagues from across the university, highlighting key DCU research relating to the SDGs. The 17 goals provided an excellent lens through which to view the breadth and scale of the research that is being conducted at this university. Indeed the SDGs will also inform DCU’s first Annual Impact Report, which is due to be published in September (an all-staff email regarding this has just been circulated from my office).
The day also highlighted many overlapping areas of research, and sowed the seeds of future cross-faculty collaboration.
Congratulations and gratitude are due to the event organisers, Dr Roisín Lyons and Dr Robert Gillander from DCU Business School, for having the vision to organise this excellent event.
The month of May saw the presentation of the President’s Awards for both Teaching Excellence and Research.
Beginning with the Research Awards, the ceremony provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work and achievements of our research community. By honouring excellence (and also impact for the first time) in research, the awards remind us of the fundamental importance of our work in knowledge creation and knowledge transfer. The values underpinning the awards are very much in line with our vision “to be a globally significant university that is renowned for its discovery and translation of knowledge to advance society”.
This year’s recipients of the President’s Awards for Research were as follows:
Dr. James J. Walsh (School of Chemical Sciences) for his research into a new method of turning atmospheric CO2 into liquid fuels, Dr Walsh was presented with the DCU President’s Research Award for Early Career Research Staff.
Dr. Jane Suiter (School of Communications) for her research on data-journalism including issues such as the rise of ‘Fake News’, Dr Suiter was the recipient of this year’s President’s Research Award in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences, Business, Education and related areas.
Prof. Gabriel Muntean (School of Electronic Engineering) for work that includes research to improve communications in Internet of Things networks, Prof. Muntean was the recipient of this year’s President’s Research Award in Natural Sciences, Health, Engineering and related areas.
The inaugural President’s Awards for Research Impact were also presented at the ceremony. For the purpose of the awards, "research impact is understood as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond academia".
This year’s recipients were:
Professor Kate Irving (School of Nursing and Human Sciences) for the extensive range of work she has done and continues to do on the dementia service and policy landscape in Ireland.
Professor Regina Connolly (DCU Business School) for the impact of a report that she prepared for the Department of Agriculture aimed at Improving ICT uptake and reducing the Digital Divide in Agricultural and Rural Communities.
Last month also saw the presentation of the President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching. In particular, I want to commend Anne Kirwan (School of Nursing and Human Sciences) who was presented with the overall award for teaching excellence.
This is always one of the most inspiring and energising events in the DCU calendar, and this year was no different. The event is a celebration of excellence and achievement in teaching and an opportunity to recognise the transformative effect that DCU’s great teachers have on students, and on the University as a whole.
In our Strategic Plan ‘Talent, Discovery and Transformation’, our very first Strategic Goal is to ‘provide a transformative student experience’. Our educators and their support teams routinely go ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ to ensure that our students get the best possible learning experience. The awards also recognise the crucial role of those who support teachers and teaching. This category includes groups working in administration and student support.
President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence 2019
Teaching Excellence Award
Anne Kirwan, School of Nursing and Human Sciences
Teaching Support Award
Shirley O’Brien, Open Education Unit/DCU Connected
DCU Careers Service Team, Student Support and Development
Distinctive Approaches to Teaching Award
Dr Eabhnat Ní Fhloinn, School of Mathematical Sciences
Distinctive Approaches to Assessment & Feedback Award
Dr David Robbins, School of Communications
Distinctive Approaches to Innovation in Teaching Award
Paula Murphy, School of Arts, Education & Movement
New Lecturer/Tutor Award
Padraig McKeon, School of Communications
As you may know, DCU was the world’s first Age-friendly University. In establishing the principles guiding the Age-Friendly University concept, we have shown real leadership in promoting the participation of older people in Higher Education.
A growing number of Higher Education institutions have now signed up to these principles. Last month, the network welcomed its 50th member, Ontario Tech University in Canada. The worldwide network now includes universities in Europe, North America and South Korea, and it is expected to continue its growth over the coming years.
Our recent announcement of a Global Strategic Partnership with FutureLearn will, I believe, be a game-changer for Dublin City University. DCU is one of just seven universities worldwide that are partnering at this level withFutureLearn, which is one of the world’s leading online learning platforms, and the largest in Europe.
The partnership with FutureLearn will have a major positive impact on four key aspects of our university:
- On our students, and the development of the skills they need to flourish in this digital age. Through this partnership, we can develop a rich digital learning experience for all on-campus students, beginning with the roll-out of elective online modules for first years.
- On our global standing as a world-class education provider. Our offerings will range from short courses and micro-credentials, to full postgraduate awards to a global learner base.
- On DCU’s ability, as Ireland’s University of Enterprise, to respond quickly and effectively to new skills needs in the economy.
- On our ability to generate a new stream of income that allows us to sustain our ambitions and mission to ‘transform lives and societies’
By delivering a wide range of flexible, technology-enhanced programmes, we can ensure DCU remains at the cutting edge of education’s digital revolution, which has seen millions of people worldwide seeking out online learning opportunities. Via FutureLearn, DCU has already successfully offered a series of Irish Language and Culture short courses, under the heading of Fáilte ar Líne. The courses attracted 45,000 learners from 136 countries. This impressive takeup was remarked upon at the recent launch of the partnership by FutureLearn’s CEO, Simon Nelson. Certainly, it demonstrates the global appetite for online learning, and indicates that DCU can be a major player in this space.
A number of very positive developments have occurred as we 'go to print' on this month's ezine.
Top 100 Ranking
For the eighth year running, Dublin City University has been ranked in the top 100 of The Times Higher Education Young University Rankings, with a position of 94.
While recognising that ranking systems are limited in their ability to capture the quality and impact of universities, I am very pleased that DCU has maintained its position in the top 100 of the World’s Young Universities. This is a testament to the commitment, excellence and expertise of our staff in DCU across all areas of our activity.
Dermot Diamond appointed to EIC
Congratulations to Professor Dermot Diamond, who has been appointed to the European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot Advisory Board.
Prof Diamond is Principal Investigator in the SFI Insight Centre for Data Analytics and was previously DCU Vice-President for Research (2002-2004) and a director and a founding member of the National Centre for Sensor Research at DCU.
The EIC, which is under the auspices of the European Commission, will focus on funding and opportunities for innovators, startups and companies with ideas and innovations which are radically different from existing products, services or business models and have the potential to scale up internationally.
DCU is delighted to be part of one of the consortia selected to develop and test a new model for the University of the Future.The European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), of which DCU is the only Irish university member, has been greenlighted by the EU to run a three-year pilot project that will pioneer Challenge-Based Education on a European scale.
This model allows students to learn by investigating solutions to real-world challenges. It will also enhance the flexibility of education by granting learners "micro-credits" for individual courses. Working with our partner Universities across Europe, we will create a new learning experience for students that will prepare them to address the big problems facing society.
Credit must go to our Strategic Partnerships Office (SPO), headed up by Rachel Barrett, which has played a pivotal role in developing this partnership.
Last month, DCU hosted the World Anti-Bullying Forum 2019 - the largest ever gathering of experts, educators, parents and policy-makers working in this important area.The decision to choose DCU as the venue for the conference is a strong endorsement of the excellent work being conducted by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, in terms of the practical and policy solutions they have developed in recent years.
Attended by almost 1,000 delegates, the forum was addressed by an impressive list of national and international figures including: Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships; Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety Facebook Instagram; Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, Government Special Rapporteur on Child Protection; Liam O'Brien, CEO Vodafone Foundation; Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, EU Parliament Coordinator for children’s Rights; Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Minister of State; Dr. Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children.
My congratulations go to Prof. James O’Higgins Norman and his team at ABC on making the conference such a success. Events such as this clearly resonate with DCU’s stated vision to be “a globally-significant University of Transformation”.
My thanks to the large number of you who attended last week’s President’s Annual Review at the Helix. I hope that the presentation managed to capture the huge amount of activity and positive developments over the past 10 months, across all facets of the DCU community.
Thanks to this work, the University continues to make progress across all of DCU’s Strategic Goals. As I said at the conclusion of my presentation, the credit for this is entirely yours, and I thank you for all of your efforts.
There was a great atmosphere at the post-presentation “barbecue”, in spite of the fact that the weather forced us to stay indoors. However, I do hope we can host an outdoor event for staff at An Grianán at some point later this year.
Congratulations are in order for the team at SepTec who have made it to the final six teams that are vying for the €1 million SFI Future Innovator Prize. The competition seeks to promote solutions to societal challenges through the development of novel, potentially disruptive, technologies.
Dr Elaine Spain (Analytical Chemistry), Dr Kellie Adamson (Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Biomaterials Science) and Prof Gerald Curley, (Sepsis Lead, RCSI Network of Hospitals, Beaumont Hospital) have developed a new method for the diagnosis of sepsis in less than 30 minutes. Currently, the diagnostic process can take several hours.
The six finalists were selected following a rigorous and highly competitive process overseen by an international expert review panel. An overall winning team will be announced in December and will receive a €1 million award.
The SFI Future Innovator Prize, funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland, is part of an overall government plan to cultivate challenge-based funding in Ireland.
In recent weeks, DCU welcomed another research funding success, with the allocation by the Health Research Board of €800,000 towards cancer research being conducted by Dr Alex Eustace Funding at the NationalInstitute for Cellular Biotechnology.
Dr Eustace’s work examines how changes in genes that occur when a patient has breast cancer might be used to predict whether specific women could benefit from a new group of drugs. The aim of this project is to try and select the 'right women' for the 'right treatment', reducing the need for broad spectrum chemotherapy, which is associated with damaging side effects.
This award is a welcome endorsement of the quality of health-related research at DCU’s National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology. The work being done by Dr Eustace has the potential to create life-saving advances in the treatment of breast cancer. It very much aligns with DCU’s mission to ‘transform lives and societies’ through our world-class research activities.
The funding was allocated under the HRB Emerging Investigator Awards, which are designed to create a pipeline of research leaders who will improve health, influence clinical practice and inform health policy across a broad range of areas. The grant was one of 11 awarded nationally, in a very competitive funding round.
Plans for the FutureTech building on the DCU Glasnevin campus are progressing well, and I am delighted to be able to reveal the chosen design. IDT’s concept for our new STEM teaching and research building is both elegant and striking and will, I believe, become a landmark building, not only for DCU but for our region.
The Design Team for this €50m project has now been appointed, with planning permission to be submitted later this year. It is hoped the building will open in August 2022.
FutureTech is a 10,000 m2 facility that will further advance DCU’s international reputation for excellence in science, computing and engineering disciplines, with a capacity to accommodate over 3,000 additional STEM students. The building will also house DCU's entire School of Health & Human Performance. The Government allocation of €24million is being combined with a €18 million investment supported by European Investment Bank loan finance. The remaining funds will be provided through philanthropy.
The strong links between President Bill Clinton and DCU were highlighted in recent weeks, with the announcement of three PhD scholarships in peace studies named in his honour.
I was honoured to attend the launch of these research opportunities at an event, hosted by the Clinton Foundation in New York.
The partnership will establish three Clinton PhD Scholarships in Peace Studies in recognition of the vital role President Clinton played in supporting and encouraging the often challenging journey to secure peace in Northern Ireland after decades of conflict. The research programme will be delivered in DCU, in Ulster University’s Magee campus, and at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst campus. The announcement was made at a ceremony where a new portrait of the President by artist Colin Davidson was unveiled.
The recent Alumni Awards Gala event at the Helix was a great success and showcased, once again, the positive impact of DCU graduates at home and around the world.
The awards honour alumni who, through their exceptional ability and leadership, have achieved excellence in their chosen fields of endeavour. Their accomplishments across many aspects of society are a source of great pride to DCU and an inspiration to present and future generations of DCU students.
This year’s outstanding achievement awardees across five categories were:
Enda Kenny: The former Taoiseach is the longest serving public representative in the current Dáil, and successfully led the Fine Gael party to win its largest ever number of seats in the 31st Dáil. He played a pivotal role in Ireland’s recovery from the ‘bank crash’ and associated austerity.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Lorraine Twohill: The Chief Marketing Officer at Google’s HQ in San Francisco is responsible for the global marketing of the brand and its product as well as overseeing the company’s social impact on education, promoting equality and inclusion.
Sr Orla Treacy: Her pioneering work as Head Administrator at the Loreto Rumbek Mission, South Sudan is focused on improving the lives of the most vulnerable – women and children.
Lindsay Peat: An athlete with a unique set of sporting achievements, as a member of the Irish Senior Women’s Rugby team, representing Ireland at underage soccer and basketball and winning an All-Ireland medal with the Dublin Senior Ladies' Football in 2010.
Innovation and Technology
Shay Walsh: The Managing Director of BT Ireland has made the company a market leader in serving the global communication needs of Irish-based multinationals and major domestic organisations. He also leads BT’s support and coordination of the BT Young Scientist Competition.
Each of DCU’s five faculties also honoured two successful alumni for recognition, with an inaugural award honouring a DCU Connected graduate on the University’s 2019 Alumni Wall in DCU’s Glasnevin and St Patrick’s libraries.
DCU Business School
Seamus Hand - CEO and Managing Partner at KPMG
Trayc Keevans - Global FDI Director at Morgan McKinley
DCU Institute of Education
Dr Siobhan O'Halloran - Chief Nurse at Department of Health
Pat O'Keeffe - Exceptional leadership in special education in Ireland for over 50 years
Faculty of Engineering and Computing
Damon Reid - Global Performance and Innovation Lead at Zoetis Inc.
Dr Sharon Kehoe - Program Director for R&D at ABK Biomedical Inc.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Emer O'Connell - Irish Ambassador to Poland
Cormac Ó hEadhra - Broadcaster at RTE
Faculty of Science and Health
Joanna Donnelly - Meteorologist at Met Éireann
Dr Fergus Byrne - Senior Principal Scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim
John McDonough - Director of the National Archives of Ireland/DCU Director of Library Services
We are delighted to announce the appointment of John McDonough as DCU’s new Director of Library Services. John takes up the role following four and a half years as Director of the National Archives.
His other previous roles include Head of Collections in the Library & Research Service of the Houses of the Oireachtas, and Project Manager of UCD’s Irish Virtual Research Library & Archive (now the UCD Digital Library). John’s expertise and vision will be major assets to the University and we are very confident that library services across our three academic campuses will develop further under his leadership. John replaces Chris Pressler, who has been appointed University Librarian and Director of the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester.
DCU library has more than doubled in scale in the last five years. Developments over the time-period 2014-2019 have seen the library’s physical collections expand from 12km in 2014, to 22km in 2016 and it is anticipated this growth will reach 30km in 2019. This will make DCU Library one of the largest academic libraries in Ireland.
DCU Library comprises the O’Reilly Library (Glasnevin Campus) and the Cregan Library (St. Patrick’s Campus). A partnership with the Jesuit Order, involving an extended loan of the Milltown Park Library, will see the extension of DCU Library to a third location on the All Hallows Campus in September 2019. DCU Library has over a million visits per annum and provides an extensive portfolio of services and collections for 20,000 students and staff.
DCU researchers were prominently referenced in the recently launched All of Government Climate Action Plan 2019.
The Plan singles out significant research by DCU academics that aims to contribute to a new model for citizen engagement on climate change. The Citizens’ Climate Research Project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, is being conducted at Dublin City University by Prof Pat Brereton (School of Communications), Dr Diarmuid Torney, Dr. Laura Devaney and Martha Coleman (School of Law and Government).
The project seeks to identify lessons from the climate change deliberations of Ireland's Citizens' Assembly for policymaking and citizen engagement on climate change, as well as producing new knowledge on Ireland’s climate change governance.
The group’s work addresses DCU’s mission to ‘transform lives and societies’ and responds to our Strategic Goal #8 to ‘place sustainability at the heart of the University’. It’s clear that the DCU Citizens’ Climate Research Project will be well placed to share valuable lessons from Ireland’s experience with other jurisdictions.
New structures have been established to enhance DCU’s engagement with DCU Alpha and with Talent Garden. Dr Stephen Daniels has been appointed Head of Enterprise Engagement with DCU Alpha. A Talent Garden Steering Group has also been established comprising Dr Stephen Daniels, Mr Billy Kelly and Prof Lisa Looney.
It was a great pleasure to recently welcome the new Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Paul McAuliffe to DCU Alpha recently, where he was introduced to some of the groundbreaking transport solutions being developed by companies based at our innovation campus.
Taoglas, Transpoco and Firmwave are developing next generation technology which will make it easier and safer for local authorities and private companies to offer dockless e-Scooters and e-bikes rental schemes.
One key piece of the technology emerging (via Taoglas) is "centimetre-level precision" GPS capability. This will allow an operator offering (for example) an e-scooter scheme to accurately monitor and remotely manage the scooters. This could include preventing bad rider behaviour such as non-compliant parking, or illegally riding on footpaths, or travelling outside a designated travel zone.
A beta e-scooter scheme is to be trialled on the DCU Glasnevin campus in the near future. I am optimistic that this may demonstrate an improved model of sustainable ‘last mile’ transport for Dublin and cities globally.
I want to wish DCU’s new team of Student’s Union Sabbatical Officers a productive and successful year as they begin their term of office. The team comprises President Christine Farrell, Olivia Forde VP for Education and Placement and VP for Engagement & Development Katie Fay. Returning for a second term are VP for Welfare & Equality Aisling Fagan, and VP for Academic Affairs Callaghan Commons.
Thanks and congratulations to the outgoing team - President Vito Moloney Burke, Craig McHugh, VP for Education & Placement and Karl McGovern, VP for Engagement & Development, as well as Aisling and Callaghan who continue in their respective roles.
If you haven’t already done so, I would highly recommend a visit to our new DCU Campus Store on the Glasnevin Campus. The outlet (in the former Hodges Figgis unit) is stocked with a broad range of official DCU merchandise and apparel.
As well as the usual sweatshirts and hoodies, the store has partnered with manufacturers such as Ireland’s Eye Dublin Knitwear company and Peter Millar Clothing. A new range of O'Neills Sportswear will arrive in the store shortly, designed specifically for the DCU Campus Store.
There is also a large range of official merchandise, including many sustainable solutions such as water bottles, coffee cups and reusable tote cloth bags. DCU Retail Manager Donnie Christian says he welcomes suggestions of new product lines for the shop.
In the coming weeks DCU Retail will also launch www.dcucorporategifts.ie. This is a brand new facility for offices, departments and faculties to order official DCU merchandise and corporate gifts. Plans are also in motion to open a Londis Store and a DCU Campus Store on the St Patrick’s campus.
1 European Funding Successes
2 DCU Cancer Research enters Clinical Trials
3 Rising First Preference Applications to DCU
4 Dr John Regan awarded Royal Society Fellowship
5 Athena Swan Survey
6 Anti-Corruption Appointment for Dr Rob Gillanders
7 Palestinian Partnership Project
8 Developing a Global University
9 DCU Ability Students Complete Training
10 Impact Report - Final Call
11 Prof Robert Elgie and Prof Rory O'Connor, RIP
European Funding Successes
DCU’s School of Law and Government is a partner in a consortium that has been awarded €4.39m EU funding under the Erasmus Mundus programme for the International Master’s in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies.
This programme is offered jointly with the University of Glasgow, Charles University, Prague and the University of Trento. It allows students to spend a semester studying in three separate universities over the 2 year programme. It was one of the most successful International Master’s programmes supported by Erasmus over the last three years, with 65 students in its current cohort.
The DCU input into the programme is led by Dr James Fitzgerald from the School of Law and Government. The programme is at present coordinated by Glasgow and DCU will take over this leadership role in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Researchers from the School of Law and Government have also achieved significant success with regard to Erasmus+ funding. Three projects were awarded funding under the Jean Monnet strand of Erasmus+, which aims to promote excellence in teaching and research in the field of European Union studies and to foster dialogue between the academic world and policy-makers.
The DCU Brexit Institute, under the leadership of Prof Federico Fabbrini was awarded €300,000 for “Brexit Research and Investigation into Differentiated Governance in Europe”. The project is led by the Brexit Institute, in collaboration with the University of Bolzano/Bozen, the University of Copenhagen and the Central European University, Budapest. €60,000 was awarded to Dr Jivanta Schöttli from the School of Law and Government for a research project titled “Land administration in EU Development Policy: nutrition, gender empowerment, equity and climate change resilience”. Dr Ken McDonagh, from the School of Law and Government, was awarded funding of €30,000 for his proposal titled “Teaching EU Foreign and Security Policy: Theory and Practice”.
DCU Cancer Research enters Clinical Trials
Congratulations are due to researchers at DCU's National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) whose innovative breast cancer treatment has entered Phase 1 of clinical trials.
The new drug combination developed at DCU is designed to treat women with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. It highlights our continuing commitment to “advance our reputation for world class research” (Strategic Goal #2) and to the creation of knowledge with positive societal impact.
The trials are the culmination of many years' work by researchers based in the NICB, most notably Dr Norma O’Donovan. The research was supported by the Cancer Clinical Research Trust, The Caroline Foundation and BreastPredict. This trials are supported by U.S.-based biopharmaceutical firm Puma Biotechnology.
Ireland is the first country to assess the new combination in women with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for approximately 560 of the 2,500 new breast cancer cases diagnosed in Ireland each year.
The CAROLINE-1 study is sponsored by Puma Biotechnology, Inc. and led by Professor John Crown of St. Vincent’s University Hospital, who was recently re-appointed as the Thomas Baldwin Chair of Translational Medicine at DCU.
Rising First Preference Applications to DCU
DCU has seen an increase in demand for its courses across our five faculties, as reflected in the CAO’s recently released applications data. We are seeing strong growth in 1st preference applications for our STEM-based degrees, and high demand for some new programme offerings. The figures show DCU continues to develop attractive programmes that address key skill gaps within the Irish economy, and inspire the learning goals of prospective students.
The % increases below highlight some of DCU’s most popular undergraduate courses are:
Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering +46%
Common Entry Engineering +32%.
Data Science +46%
Science Education +48%.
Environmental Science and Technology +85%
Religious Education and English +61%
Economics, Politics and Law +15%
Global Business (Canada) +62%
Global Business (Spanish) +34%.
Dr John Regan awarded Royal Society Fellowship
Congratulations to Dr John Regan of DCU’s School of Mathematical Sciences and Centre for Relativity and Astrophysics (CfAR) on his appointment as a 2019 University Research Fellow by the Royal Society. The award is in recognition of his outstanding early career research and leadership potential. It is the first University Research Fellowship awarded to DCU since these Royal Society awards were extended to Irish research institutions in 2015.
Dr. Regan gained national and international prominence for his ground-breaking work on the subject of supermassive black hole formation in the early Universe with articles on his work appearing in both Nature and Nature Astronomy. The fellowship will allow Dr. Regan to develop state-of-the-art theoretical models to understand the growth of black holes from their formation up to their maximal size, and in the process identify where in the Universe is most conducive to black hole formation.
This award underlines the world-leading research taking place in CfAR - a research centre created in DCU less than 2 years ago but already with a significant and growing international reputation.
Athena Swan Survey
DCU will apply for re-accreditation of our Athena SWAN Bronze Award this November. As part of the process, the Athena SWAN charter has been extended to include all staff categories across all disciplinary areas, academic, professional and administrative.
I would strongly encourage everyone to play a part in the process by participating in the 2019 DCU Athena SWAN survey. This will provide valuable information which will shape the DCU’s Athena SWAN Action Plan for the coming three years.
The university first received its Bronze Award in April 2017 in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality for women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and creating cultural change within the University.
Anti-Corruption Appointment for Dr Rob Gillanders
The quality and reputation of another DCU researcher was highlighted again recently, with the announcement that the European Commission has approved Dr Robert Gillanders as Ireland’s main anti-corruption expert for an EU-wide network.
Dr Gillanders, an Assistant Professor of Economics in DCU Business School, will act as the local research consultant on corruption to the European Commission. He will report to the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs on Ireland's corruption risks and anti-corruption policy and practice. Dr Gillanders has published numerous articles on corruption and anti-corruption policy and is a member of Transparency International's expert network.
Palestinian Partnership Project
Our School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering hosted a capacity-building programme for ten visiting academics from Gaza as part of an EU Erasmus+ project.
i-CARE (Increasing the Conformance of Academia towards Rehabilitation Engineering) is an EU Comission-funded Erasmus+ project focussed on expanding knowledge and skills in the areas of rehabilitation engineering and education among academic staff in a number of Palestinian partner universities and institutions.
DCU’s training programme featured training on topics relating to Rehabilitation Engineering (Consultation skills, Physical disabilities, Biomechanics, Robotics/Exoskeletons) and Education (Curricula Development, Problem-Based Learning), as well as site visits to UCD, Enable Ireland and Clontarf Hospital.
Congratulations to Prof. Dermot Brabazon, DCU’s project coordinator, and Dr. Eanna McCarthy, the assistant project coordinator, for making the training program a success. Thanks also to Philip McKinley, DCU Chaplain, for hosting a ceremony at the Inter-Faith Centre on our Glasnevin campus, to mark the completion of the visit.
Developing a Global University
DCU entered into two significant new international agreements, with universities in the US and in Morocco, respectively, in recent weeks, in line with our Strategic Goal #6 "to develop a global university".
An agreement was signed with Arizona State University (ASU) to establish a Biodesign Institute Europe Research Centre (Biodesign Europe) at DCU. This new centre will consolidate key areas of life sciences and bio-engineering research activity in DCU and develop collaborative research programmes with the ASU Biodesign Institute. The MOU was signed on behalf of ASU by Professor Sethuraman ‘Panch’ Panchanathan, Executive Vice-President, ASU Knowledge Enterprise.
An MOU has also been agreed with Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco. It provides for exchanges of students and academic staff as well as joint research and other collaborative ventures. It was signed on behalf of Cadi Ayyad University by Professor Fatima-Zohra Iflahen, Vice President for International Cooperation, and witnessed by HE Mr Lahcen Mahraoui, Morocco's Ambassador to Ireland.
Congratulations to the DCU Ability students who recently completed the initiative’s first training programme.
The DCU Ability programme puts our values of Equality, Inclusion and Educational Opportunity into action by helping young people with disabilities to improve their employment prospects and achieve their full potential.
A pilot group of six students completed the thirteen week course which included career preparation, work experience, personal and interpersonal skills, personal effectiveness, and health and safety in the workplace. These students are now able to move on with confidence to work placements in DCU and partner companies.
The DCU Ability team has also been working with a number of individual students around work placement confidence and skill development. We were pleased to host one of the Ability students in the President’s office.
Impact Report - Final Call
We are in the final stages of producing DCU’s first Annual Impact Report, due to be published next month. It will capture the range of impacts that our research and other activities are having on society, and will highlight our mission to ‘transform lives and societies’. The report is, framed largely, but not exclusively, around the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Many thanks to the large number of you who have made submissions already. To ensure that the report is as comprehensive as possible, we are now extending one final opportunity to contribute to this report. Please send your information to Tom Swift in the President’s Office at email@example.com by Monday August 11th.
Prof Robert Elgie and Prof Rory O'Connor, RIP
I know that we all share a sense of real shock and sadness at the sudden deaths, in the space of just one week in July, of two much-loved members of the DCU community, Prof Robert Elgie and Prof Rory O'Connor. Both Robert and Rory made huge contributions to this University and will be sadly missed by all who knew them.
Robert had been a DCU staff member for nearly two decades. He was the founding Head of the School of Law and Government, a world-renowned scholar of political institutions and presidentialism, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He will be remembered as a brilliant academic and a supportive colleague.
Rory led the School of Computing for almost 6 years, during which time he oversaw significant expansion and important programme innovations. He was a Senior Researcher at Lero and a nationally recognised expert in teaching and learning in Computing. He will be remembered as a gifted and enthusiastic researcher, a kind and generous colleague and a great friend.
The supportive culture of the DCU community is a core strength of this University, and I am pleased to say that it was very much in evidence in the days following the loss of our two colleagues. Once again, I wish to convey deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of both Robert and Rory at this sad time.
- €75m Milestone Achieved by DCUET in 'Shaping the Future' Campaign
- Record Number of CAO Offers
- Professor Andy Way Wins International Award
- Renewable Heat Source Discovered at All Hallows
- Leading US Academic to Lecture on Women in Tech
- DCU's Response to Alcohol Misuse is Recognised
- DCU Corporate Gifts Site Goes Live
- Insight's Gaitkeeper shortlisted for European awards
- DCU Shortlisted for Sustainable Energy Awards
- Class of 1969 reunites at DCU St Patrick’s
- Study explores physical activity and mental wellbeing in teenagers
- First Visual Artist in Residence for DCU All Hallows Campus
€75m Milestone Achieved by DCUET in 'Shaping the Future' Campaign
Congratulations are due to everyone involved in reaching an impressive €75 million milestone in funds raised through our Shaping the Future campaign. The campaign was launched in 2015 with the aim of raising €100 million to support a range of inspiring DCU projects to address major challenges that face society today.
This great result is a credit to both the team in DCU Educational Trust and to DCU staff members who championed a range of initiatives and activities that attracted funding support. Given the success of the campaign so far, I feel confident that the €100 million target is now well within reach.
The impressive total raised so far attests to the vision and enthusiasm of DCU’s partners for our innovative and enterprising projects, set out in the image above.
Record Number of CAO Offers
Following the release of the Leaving Certificate results on August 13th, DCU made a record number of CAO First Round offers. More than 3,600 first round places were offered to students across the country. DCU made more Round 1 offers than TCD, UL, NUIG and MU. At the time of writing, 3,673 students have accepted places at DCU. This includes students who accepted Round 1 and Round 2 offers, as well as students entering by other pathways (Mature, Access, FE etc.). This represents a greater than 10% increase on the number of 1st year students who were registered in 2018.
Professor Andy Way Wins International Award
The recent Machine Translation Summit, hosted by DCU, highlighted this University’s world-leading reputation in a rapidly growing area of research. The MT Summit is the world’s largest machine translation conference, and this year’s attendance was the largest on record.
I was delighted to see the leading contribution of Professor Andy Way in this field being recognised at the conference. Andy was presented with the prestigious Award of Honour by the International Association for Machine Translation (IAMT).
As Deputy Director of the ADAPT Centre and Professor of Computing at DCU, he has made a major contribution to the advancement of this University as a centre of excellence in Machine Translation. The award citation, delivered by IAMT President Professor Mikel Forcada, highlighted Andy’s important role in the development of the hybrid approach to machine translation, which has become the dominant approach in the field. Andy is editor of the leading journal, Machine Translation, has served as President of the European Association for Machine Translation, has published over 300 seminal articles, and is listed among the top researchers in the field, in terms Google Scholar citations.
Pictured Above (l-r) Prof Mikel Forcada (IAMT), Steve Richardson (AMTA), DCU President Prof Brian MacCraith.
Renewable Heat Source Discovered at All Hallows
Something remarkable is happening 150 metres below ground on our DCU All Hallows campus. A trial borehole has hit warm water during investigations into potential geothermal heat solutions on the campus.
The drilling operation took place in mid August and yielded a flow of just over 4 litres per second at a temperature of 13° C. This has the potential to generate up to 300kW of free heat, and, of course, it's carbon neutral! The next step in the process will be to install a geothermal heat pump with the prospect of heating not only the proposed Woodlock Hall Library but also other buildings in the vicinity.
This project offers real potential as we make efforts to decarbonise our thermal energy requirements over the next few years at DCU. This aligns strongly with Strategic Goal #8 in our Strategic Plan: 'to place Sustainability at the core of the University'.
Leading US Academic to Lecture on Women in Tech
One of America’s most inspiring academic leaders Professor Maria Klawe will be in DCU next week (September 13th) to present a lecture on an important topic: Changing the Ratio for Women in Tech. As President of Harvey Mudd College, she has overseen an increase in the number of females majoring in computer science from 15% to 50%.
Professor Klawe will talk about the reasons why women tend not to major in computer technology fields and her approach to addressing the issue successfully. She will also discuss how similar approaches can be used in industry as well as in universities.
Maria Klawe became Harvey Mudd College’s fifth president in 2006. She joined HMC from Princeton University after serving 14 years at the University of British Columbia. Prior to UBC, Klawe spent eight years with IBM Research in California. Klawe is a member of the boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nonprofits Math for America and EdReports.org and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
I hope you can join us in the Stokes Building (Glasnevin Campus) on September 13th and invite you to register your attendance here.
DCU's Response to Alcohol Misuse is Recognised
Our strong commitment to student welfare was recognised at the recent REACT awards, held at DCU. REACT (Responding to Excessive Alcohol Consumption in Third-Level) recognises the efforts of Higher Education Institutions to reduce alcohol-related harm among students. DCU achieved a standard of Excellence for the implementation of a series of actions, including the introduction of alcohol-free accommodation in campus residences, intervention training for staff and students and an online survey enabling self-assessment of drinking patterns.
REACT is a joint initiative between the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Irish Student Health Association (ISHA) and UCC Health Matters, and is funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Healthy Ireland. DCU was one of ten Higher Education Institutions which received REACT Awards, at a ceremony attended by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Dr Michael Byrne, Principal Investigator at REACT.
The REACT accreditation is an important milestone for the University as part of its commitment to foster a Healthy Campus, as outlined in our Strategic Plan.
Pictured Above (l-r) Olivia Forde, DCU SU VP for Education & Placement, Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Prof Brian MacCraith and Christine Farrell, DCU SU President.
DCU Corporate Gifts Site Goes Live
DCU’s Corporate Gifts website www.dcucorporategifts.ie has gone live. The site offers DCU merchandise and gifts to faculties, departments and units at specially discounted rates. The site is run by Campus Property, and stocks a wide range of products from pencils and pens, to soaps and candles.
The products on offer have been designed in conjunction with our Marketing unit. New lines are being added and the site also allows users to request new product types that may be required. Credit is due to Donnie Christian, Retail Manager at Campus Property, for driving forward on this project.
Insight's Gaitkeeper shortlisted for European awards
Congratulations to the team behind the GaitKeeper project, which has been shortlisted for the prestigious European Data Science and AI awards. This exciting project, led by Dr. Aidan Boran at DCU Insight, was developed in collaboration with Tallaght University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin.
GaitKeeper is the world’s first system to provide gait analysis as a service, and can predict the onset of many physical and neurological illnesses by analysing a video of a patient’s walking pattern. GaitKeeper has been nominated in the Best Use of DataSci/AI for Health and Wellbeing category along with IBM Ireland, IBM Innovation Exchange, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Axial3D.
Pictured Above (l-r) Shawna Johnston, Haolin Wei, Lavleen Bhat, Aidan Boran
DCU Shortlisted for Sustainable Energy Awards
DCU has received welcome recognition of its ongoing efforts to ‘place sustainability at the core of the University’ (Strategic Goal #8).
DCU has been shortlisted for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Energy Awards in the ‘Public Sector - Leadership’ category. Energy reduction measures put in place have led to cumulative savings of over €10 million, avoided energy consumption of over 70 GWh, and has seen a 43.4pc energy performance improvement over the past 8 years.
The University received further recognition recently when An Taisce confirmed that DCU has retained its Green Campus status, for a 6th consecutive year.
Class of 1969 reunites at DCU St Patrick’s
It was a great pleasure to welcome back the St Patrick’s College Class of 1969 for their recent reunion. 86 alumni gathered at DCU St Patrick’s campus to mark 50 years since their graduation as teachers, with some travelling from as far afield as Gambia and Canada to attend.
It was great to be able to show them the advances that have been made on the St Patrick’s campus, such as the Block E and Block F developments and the development of the new library facilities.
As well as celebrating the reunion, the alumni remembered departed colleagues, with a prayer service and a tree planting ceremony.
Study explores physical activity and mental wellbeing in teenagers
Our mission ‘to transform lives and societies’ is very much in evidence in a new DCU study that aims to explore the relationship between physical activity and mental wellbeing in Irish teenagers.
John Murphy, a PhD student on DCU St Patrick’s campus and a PE teacher, is calling on post-primary schools to participate in the Physical Activity and Wellbeing study. He believes that the study will show that being physically active leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety. If his research confirms this theory, he hopes to design physical activity interventions to see how much of an impact it makes.
Some 30 schools have registered an interest so far. The online form for interested schools is available here.
First Visual Artist in Residence for DCU All Hallows Campus
Over the last year, DCU has been actively engaging with cultural partners to develop arts infrastructure and initiatives across the university. As a result, DCU’s inaugural Visual Artist in Residence at All Hallows was advertised this week.
This is the first of three residencies planned over the coming year. Their focus will be to provide visual artists with space on DCU All Hallows Campus to develop their practice while offering students and staff the opportunity to engage with a professional artist in a meaningful way. It is hoped that the residencies will also encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue between artists and DCU researchers.
- DCU in World Top 20 for Graduate Employment
- Barretstown Partnership
- All Ireland Champions and All Stars
- Climate Action at DCU
- Exoskeleton Programme
- Garrick Allen awarded €1.5m ERC Grant
- Best in Class for DCU Campus Residences
- Positive Signs
- New Centre for Teaching and Learning of Irish
- Griffith Avenue Mile
- Anti-Bullying Training for Teachers
- Laser Focus
- LERO Awards for DCU Academics
- DCU Professor leads New Ross Pipe Band
DCU in World Top 20 for Graduate Employment
Thanks and congratulations are due to everyone in the DCU community for playing a part in achieving a Top 20 ranking in the recently released 2020 QS Graduate Employment Rankings. In those rankings, DCU is ranked No.19 in the world for its graduate employment rate, which measures the proportion of graduates in full or part-time employment within 12 months of graduation. It is one of five indicators measured by the QS rankings, which place DCU in the 301-500 band overall for Employability.
DCU has been recognised nationally as a leading university for graduate employment for some time so we are very encouraged to receive this global acknowledgement. Being ranked in the world Top 20 for our graduate employment rate reflects the quality of the educational experience at DCU and the strong reputation we have with employers. It also validates the success of the various initiatives pursued at DCU to enhance employability: INTRA, Graduate Attributes, the Reflect Digital Portfolio, and the Uaneen Module, for example. Moreover, it demonstrates that DCU is developing highly sought-after, rounded graduates who are ready for the workforce and eager to apply their knowledge and skills in a broad range of settings.
It was a proud day for DCU staff and students last week, when we signed a new Charity Partnership with Barretstown.
The vision for the Partnership, which has its origins in our One DCU initiative, is to enable Barretstown to 'Press Play' on the lives of children and families affected by serious illness.
It will offer a range of opportunities for members of the DCU community to engage with and support the remarkable work of Barretstown. We are the first University in Ireland to embark on a charity partnership such as this, and it also makes good on our commitment to engage with our communities (Strategic Goal #9).
All Ireland Champions and All Stars
Major congratulations are in order for all of the DCU students, staff and alumni involved in Dublin's historic 5-in-a-row All-Ireland victory, and the Ladies' remarkable 3-in-a-row.
The Alumni involved with the 'Drive for Five' included captain Stephen Cluxton and Man of the Match Ciaran Kilkenny, along with Jonny Cooper, Bernard Brogan, Phily MacMahon, James McCarthy, Dean Rock, Cormac Costello, John Small, Eoghan O'Gara, Paddy Andrews, Conor McHugh. Current students involved in the team are Paddy Small, Evan Comerford and Sean Bugler, while Jason Sherlock and Bryan Cullen were part of the management team.
The victorious Dublin Ladies Football side was spearheaded by Lyndsey Davey, as she landed the player of the match award. There was a strong cohort of Alumni in the team: Lauren Magee, Éabha Rutledge, Muireann Ní Scanaill, Kate Fitzgibbon and Siobhán Woods. We also had current students Jennifer Dunne and Niamh Hetherton playing key roles and the sidelines were patrolled by Alumni Paul Casey and DCU Sport CEO Ken Robinson, in support of coach Mick Bohan.
We also recently received the news that a total of 22 DCU students and alumni have been nominated for this year's All Star Awards. The nominees come from all four GAA codes, and represent Dublin, Tipperary, Wexford, Kilkenny, Mayo, Donegal and Cavan. Rory O'Connor and Adrian Mullen are two of the three players shortlisted for PWC Young Hurler of the Year. Stephen Cluxton, the Dublin captain, who has now lifted Sam Maguire six times, is also in line for Footballer of the Year.
Climate Action at DCU
Last month’s Climate Strike was a reminder, if one were needed, of the urgent need for action on the environment. It was great to see so many DCU staff and students turning out in solidarity with the strikers, and there has been a flurry of other recent activities across our campuses driven by sustainability and environmental action:
- DCU Water Institute had a great response to their Water Blitz - an initiative that enlisted almost 400 citizen-scientists to test for nitrates and phosphates in waters, canals and other waterways all over the country.
- New Water Fountains have been installed, allowing students and staff to refill their bottles and reduce the use of single use plastic bottles.
- A large number of staff completed the recent Home Energy information survey as part of the new DCU Sustainable Energy Community initiative.
- New pricing is in place at all campus food and drink outlets to promote greater use of reusable cups and containers.
The launch of DCU’s Exoskeleton Programme, in collaboration with Mark Pollock, was a hugely moving event, as all who were present will testify. As you will see from the video below, the Exoskeleton can give people with spinal injuries the ability to walk again, and in some cases it marks the first steps towards rehabilitation.
The free, physiotherapist-led service will enable people with reduced mobility to access the Ekso Bionics Exoskeleton. This allows them to complete sessions of supported walking, facilitated by a trained handler. The service will assist people affected by spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. Under the direction of clinical lead, Ronan Langan, the Exoskeleton Programme is designed to deliver an array of health benefits that regular walking provides. Participants will be able to access the expertise of the clinical team and the exoskeleton technology to improve their walking and assist them to get back on their feet.
Pictured above: Mark Pollock and Jennifer Hess demonstrate the Exoskeleton in the Helix.
Garrick Allen awarded €1.5m ERC Grant
Congratulations to Dr. Garrick Allen (School of Theology, Philosophy, & Music) on his recent €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council. Garrick was the only researcher based in Ireland to receive an ERC grant in this round, which makes this success even more significant.
His study, Titles of the New Testament: A New Approach to Manuscripts and the History of Interpretation (TiNT), will examine what manuscripts say about the ways the New Testament was interpreted by the communities that produced them, and map the ways that interpretations changed over time.
The 5-year project will involve a comprehensive analysis of the forms and wordings of the titles preserved in nearly all Greek New Testament manuscripts.
Best in Class for DCU Campus Residences
For the second year running, DCU Campus Residences have won Best University Halls in the National Student Housing Awards. They were also declared Best Value for Money, as voted for by students.
These awards are a credit to DCU Campus Residences. They demonstrate the commitment, hard work and care demonstrated by the team on a daily basis in ensuring that all of our students are well looked after, in affordable accommodation.
DCU’s commitment to educational opportunity and inclusion saw another positive step last month, as four students registered on a unique BEd degree programme which will enable them to become Ireland’s first deaf primary school teachers using Irish Sign Language (ISL).
Up until now, there has been no entry route to primary teacher education for a person who communicates through ISL. The four students - Kevin Dudley, Aimee Ennis McLoughlin, Sinéad Leahy and Aisling O'Halloran - are undertaking a full-time Bachelor of Education programme at the DCU Institute of Education.
This is a groundbreaking development for all concerned and particularly for Deaf children in primary school who will have teachers who are fluent ISL users.
Pictured above (l-r): Aisling O'Halloran (Galway), Kevin Dudley (Dublin), Sinéad Leahy (Cork), Aimee Ennis McLoughlin (Dublin).
New Centre for the Teaching and Learning of Irish
Last week saw the launch of SEALBHÚ, our new research centre focused on the Teaching and Learning of Irish. This new center will research all aspects of learning Irish with the aim of ensuring that it is taught as effectively as possible for the next generation of learners.
Sheol an tAire Oideachais agus Scileanna, Joe McHugh, TD, an tIonad go hoifigiúil an seachtain seo caite ag ócáid ar Champas Phádraig de chuid Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath. Beidh ról tábhachtach ag an lárionad maidir le múinteoirí, lucht déanta beartas agus páirtithe leasmhara a choinneáil ar an eolas mar gheall ar na forbairtí is déanaí i réimse na múinteoireachta teanga.
Bainfidh SEALBHÚ leas as saineolas agus as taithí thras-dáimhe na nDaonnachtaí, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus Institiúid Oideachais Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath. Glacfaidh an fhoireann páirt i dtionscadail taighde comhoibríocha, idir náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta, a bheidh mar bhonn eolais do mhúineadh na Gaeilge ón réamhscolaíocht go dtí an ollscolaíocht agus ar líne.
To find out more visit www.dcu.ie/sealbhu
Pictured above (l-r): Prof Brian MacCraith, Professor Padraig Ó Duibhir, Dr Anne Looney, Professor John Doyle, Dr Aisling Ní Dhiorbháin, Minister Joe McHugh.
Griffith Avenue Mile
DCU was proud to be part of the hugely successful staging of the Griffith Avenue Mile last month (Sunday 22nd September). Our sponsorship of the race reflected our commitment to "engage with our communities” (Strategic Goal #9) and promote healthy lifestyle choices. Over 1,000 athletes of all ages participated in the race.
We were honoured to welcome Irish athletics legend Eamonn Coughlan to DCU’s All Hallows campus where the event’s registration and prize-giving took place. Some 30 years ago, Eamonn was one of the athletes who competed in the last Griffith Avenue Mile (won in a time of 3 minutes 49 seconds!).
This time, the race was more inclusive and was open to runners of all abilities and all ages. We were pleased to be joined by Athletics Ireland, An Garda Siochana, and Dublin City Council in sponsoring the race.
Pictured above: 3 generations of Griffith Milers including Marion Shanahan who ran the first Griffith Avenue Mile in 1983, her daughter Barbara, and grandchildren Eva, Julia, and Cordero.
Anti-Bullying Training for Teachers
106 post-primary teachers from 92 schools around the country took part in the first FUSE anti-bullying training programme on DCU’s St. Patrick’s campus last week.
FUSE is an anti-bullying and online safety programme developed by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) and supported by Facebook, who have invested €1m in the initiative. It is grounded in Irish and international best practice research, consisting of a series of workshops and projects aimed at 2nd Year Students in junior cycle, their parents and school staff in post-primary schools across Ireland.
The aim of FUSE is to reduce levels of bullying and increase reporting of incidents, while raising awareness of online safety and increasing the overall inclusiveness of the school environment.
Prof. Liam Barry is to be commended for his great work in leading the successful bid to bring the European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communications (ECOC) to Dublin for the first time.
More than 8,000 optical communications professionals and industry experts gathered at the RDS in Dublin for the 45th annual ECOC which is the oldest and most prestigious conference covering the transmission of information using light.
The plenary session featured high profile speakers such as Katharine Schmidtke, Sourcing Manager, Optical Technology Strategy at Facebook, Dr Chih-Lin I, China Mobile’s Chief Scientist and Prof. Tim Whitley, Managing Director, Research and Innovation at BT.
LERO Awards for DCU Academics
Two DCU academics, Dr. Gabriel-Miro Muntean and Professor Regina Connolly, have been awarded the Inaugural 2019 LERO Director’s Prizes. The LERO Director’s prize for Research Excellence was presented to Dr Gabriel-Miro Muntean from DCU’s School of Electronic Engineering. The LERO Director’s Prize for Diversity and Inclusion was presented to Professor Regina Connolly from DCU’s Business School. Congratulations to Regina and Gabriel!
Pictured above: Director of LERO, Prof Brian Fitzgerald, presents the awards to Dr. Gabriel-Miro Muntean and Professor Regina Connolly.
DCU Professor leads New Ross Pipe Band
The wealth and range of creative talent in the DCU community never ceases to surprise and impress.
Prof. Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge) has been appointed as the new Musical Director of the award winning New Ross & District Pipe Band. The Co. Wexford band is currently among the top six on the island of Ireland. Ciarán first learned to play the pipes as a young boy with Cavanacarragh Pipe Band, in his native County Fermanagh. He previously served as Pipe Major with the Lord Edward’s Own in Co Kildare, leading the band to numerous prizes in Ireland and Scotland.
Pictured above: Prof. Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (left) with a fellow band member at Virginia International Tattoo, Norfolk, USA.
- Major US-Ireland Research Funding Success for I-Form
- Introducing DCU Empower
- Barretstown Winter Wonderland
- Inspiring Guest Speakers on Leadership and Politics
- New Head of DCU Athletics
- Fiona Regan Honoured by RSC
- Celebrating Inspiring Teachers
- College Connect Launches Diversity Drive
- Prof Daire Keogh Honoured at Leadership Awards
- Inaugural UNESCO Chair Lecture
- Jesuit Library to move to DCU All Hallows Campus
- New Astrophysics and Relativity MSc
- Teaming up with Na Fianna
- Digital Experience Survey for DCU Staff and Students
- DCU at 40
Major US-Ireland Research Funding Success for I-Form
I-Form at DCU has secured major new funding, as part of an Irish-US consortium that is researching improvements to solar cell technology and new uses for photovoltaic devices. The total value of the Center to Center (C2C) award is more than €2.4 million.
DCU’s I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre will lead the Irish element of the project, which also includes the Irish Photonic Integration Center (IPIC) at the Tyndall Institute in Cork, and the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bio-Engineering Center (NIBEC) at Ulster University. The venture’s US collaborator is the Quantum Energy for Sustainable Solar Technology Engineering Research Center (QESST), comprising Arizona State University and MIT.
I-Form will lead in the project’s additive manufacturing and 3D printing elements. This will include the fabrication and testing of low cost solar cell devices at ASU’s Solar Power Laboratory. The project is also exploring new Photovoltaic systems which can power the internet of things (IoT) using indoor light sources. The research activities will be bolstered by cross-centre educational activities, including a researcher exchange programme and shared courses.
This grant was awarded under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme Centre to Centre scheme funded through the National Science Foundation (US), Science Foundation Ireland (RoI) and the Department for the Economy (NI). Congratulations are due to Prof Dermot Brabazon and his team at DCU I-Form for their part in securing the significant new research funding.
Introducing DCU Empower
The DCU Empower initiative is a new multi-year programme that will support new and improved ways of working across the University. The focus of the programme is to transform many aspects of the staff and student experience using advanced technology. We are making good progress on the new Student Information System Programme (SIS) programme, which is a key element of this initiative.
DCU has now awarded the contract of preferred technology partner to Ellucian, a software company with an excellent track record in providing solutions for higher education.
Members of the SIS programme team will be talking to staff around the University over the coming weeks and months, as we move into the detailed planning and delivery of this exciting project. A dedicated DCU Empower website has also been developed to keep you informed on all updates throughout this transformation.
Barretstown Winter Wonderland
The first significant volunteering opportunity as part of our charity partnership with Barretstown is coming up shortly. DCU staff and students are welcome to volunteer at the Barretstown Winter Wonderland event on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 November. This annual fundraiser features Christmas market stalls, music and children's activities including Santa's Grotto.
It would be great to have a good DCU turnout for what promises to be both enormously worthwhile and fun occasion. If you wish to take part, one one or both days, please fill out the online form, making sure to supply your DCU email address.
We are the first University in Ireland to embark on a charity partnership such as this, as part of our commitment to engage with our communities (Strategic Goal #9).
Inspiring Guest Speakers on Leadership and Politics
In recent weeks, we were lucky to hear from two exceptional speakers from the worlds of Irish media and US politics.
Cody Keenan, chief speechwriter for President Barack Obama during his time in the White House, was in the Helix Theatre for the latest in a series of ‘Fireside Chats’. Speaking about the rise of the alt right in US politics, he suggested that shutting down such viewpoints could be counterproductive.
“A lot of liberals on college campuses are trying to force out voices they don’t agree with. I don’t think that’s the way to go,” he said.
Mr Keenan said these arguments should be “challenged”, and not to “disinvite” the people who make them.
Broadcaster Aine Lawlor’s recent ‘Women in Leadership’ keynote at the Helix was both honest and insightful. She pointed out that real leadership comes from love rather than ambition, and that leaders can find themselves in a lonely place.
Referring to Cervical Check campaigners Vicky Phelan, Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh she said: “Leadership is about loving and understanding. Leadership is about bringing people to a place they don’t really want to face they have to go, and that’s where the loneliness comes into it.”
The renowned host of RTÉ’s ‘The Week In Politics’ also paid tribute to the work of the late Mary Raftery. She praised Mary’s bravery in taking on vested interests with her groundbreaking series ‘States of Fear’ - a project that featured prominently in our recent exhibition ‘Fearless: The Journalism of Mary Raftery’, in the O’Reilly Library.
Following Aine’s keynote, Dr Jane Suiter led an excellent panel discussion that explored diversity and female participation in media with panellists Daráine Mulvihill, Paralympics, Sports and Irish Language reporter, Broadcaster and Psychotherapist Dil Wickremasinghe, and Emmy-nominated Documentary-Maker Shauna Keogh.
New Head of DCU Athletics
A warm DCU welcome to Paul Byrne, who has been appointed Head of DCU Athletics Academy.
An international-level athlete, Paul joins DCU from his previous role as Regional Development Officer at Athletics Ireland. In that position he coordinated coach education programmes, oversaw the development of regional athletics squads and the promotion of the organisation’s flagship Fit4Life programme.
Paul has represented Ireland in 400 metre hurdles at Junior, U-23 and Senior Level. The Laois native is ranked in third position on the Irish all-time leading race times for 400 metre hurdles and holds a national best for 300 metres outdoor hurdles.
He is an alumnus of DCU (BSc Environmental Science and Health), a former athletics scholarship holder at the university and a graduate of the University of Limerick (MSc Sports Performance).
Fiona Regan Honoured by RSC
Congratulations to Professor Fiona Regan, Director of the DCU Water Institute, on receiving the ‘Water for Life’ Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in London.
This is the first time the award has been given to a recipient from Ireland.
Members of the RSC Water Science Forum nominated Prof Regan for the award, which is in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the use of chemical sciences within the water cycle.
The honour was presented to Prof Regan on October 3rd, at a special ceremony at the Society’s headquarters in Burlington House, London.
Celebrating Inspiring Teachers
Sincere thanks to all of the DCU staff and students who made the inaugural Teacher’s Inspire Gala Awards such a great success. The awards highlighted the work of Ireland’s exceptional teachers, and gave them the validation and recognition they deserve.
400 Irish teachers from all across the 26 counties of Ireland were nominated by students, parents and former students. 20 teachers were shortlisted, and four inspiring teachers, one from each province in Ireland, were presented with an inaugural " Teachers Inspire Ireland Desmond Award" at the gala in the Helix.
Connacht: Retired teacher Seamas Cassidy who taught at Tuam CBS, Co. Galway.
Leinster: Nora Duffy, a retired teacher who taught at St. Joseph’s Co-Ed, East Wall, Dublin.
Munster: Sinead O’Mahony teaches at the Mid-West School for the Deaf in Limerick.
Ulster: Kelly Loughran teaches at Beech Hill College, Monaghan.
Also presented at the event was the inaugural Teaching Council award which recognises the transformative role that teachers play in our community and society through collaboration.
The winning project was “Integrating VEX Robotics across the Primary School Curriculum”. The project group was led by Maeve Liston, together with staff at DELL EMC Limerick, the VEX Robotics Programme of Mary Immaculate College and a group of teachers from schools across Tipperary, Limerick and Cork.
Main picture above, (l-r) Sinead O'Mahony, Miriam O'Callaghan, Seamas Cassidy, Nora Duffy.
College Connect Launches Diversity Drive
An important indicator of an inclusive culture in a university is when its student population reflects the diversity of its neighbouring communities. Achieving that aim is the mission of College Connect - a new collaboration between DCU, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and Dundalk Institute of Technology.
College Connect aims to increase the number of students from under-represented backgrounds by 400, over the next three years. The initiative is focussed on empowering learners across the Midlands, East and North Dublin region.
The Higher Education Authority is supporting the initiative with funding of €2.157m. The DCU College Connect launch was MC’d by DCU student Cassie Hunt. Cassie, who is an Access student, spoke of the transformative impact the programme has had on her life. It is hoped College Connect will transform the lives of many other students across our region.
Prof Daire Keogh Honoured at Leadership Awards
Professor Daire Keogh was the recipient of a well-deserved Staff Leadership Award at the recent DCU Leadership Circle Dinner, hosted by DCU’s Educational Trust. He received the award in “recognition of his tireless work to further the development of DCU”.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Keogh highlighted the importance of the DCU Educational Trust: “The Trust are critical to what we do because the Trust are the enablers of the great enterprise that we call Dublin City University.”
The Corporate Leadership Award was accepted by Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O’Leary, on behalf of the company. Michael Dwyer, Executive Chairman of Empathy Marketing Ltd (Pigsback.com) was the recipient of this year’s Individual Leadership Award.
Inaugural UNESCO Chair Lecture
The inaugural lecture by the UNESCO Chair on Tackling Bullying in Schools and Cyberspace, Professor James O’Higgins Norman, was both insightful and thought-provoking on this challenging field of research.
The lecture entitled ‘Tackling Bullying from the inside out: Shifting Paradigms in Bullying Research and Intervention’ took place in the Seamus Heaney Theatre on our St. Patrick’s Campus.
In his address, Prof O’Higgins Norman highlighted the importance of involving the voices of children and teenagers in developing research and initiatives to tackle bullying. He said that children should be “not just as respondents but also as co-researchers and commissioners of research”.
The award of the UNESCO Chair to DCU includes a global partnership between UNESCO and the University in a major international research collaboration aimed at tackling the growing phenomenon of bullying in schools and online.
Jesuit Library to move to DCU All Hallows Campus
The recent signing of the DCU Jesuit Library Partnership will open up a major new research resource for this University. The partnership agreement will see the Irish Jesuit Library collection transferred from Milltown Park to DCU’s All Hallows Campus.
The collection’s 140,000 volumes will move to Woodlock Hall, which is currently being renovated to house the collection. Commenting on the quality, range and academic value of the books in the library, Prof Daire Keogh said: “It’s a hugely significant collection in terms of classical, and contemporary theological issues.”
The books are still being transferred to DCU and will be unveiled and available for use in the spring.
Pictured above: Back row (l-r) Professor Daire Keogh, Miriam Corcoran, Acting Librarian, Library SMT, DCU, Bill Callanan SJ, Rector of the Milltown Community. Front row (l-r) Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, Jesuit Provincial, Professor Brian MacCraith, President, Dublin City University.
New Astrophysics and Relativity MSc
DCU has added another new and innovative degree programme that responds to the rapidly developing STEM fields. The new MSc in Astrophysics and Relativity will help drive advanced research in astrophysics and relativity while also creating a pipeline of multi-skilled graduates in this burgeoning field.
It will be the only taught MSc programme in Ireland that combines the advanced study of the areas of Astrophysics, Relativity, Computing and Data Analysis. The course can be completed across two years on a part-time basis, or one year full-time.
The new Master’s was announced at at DCUniverse, an event held as part of a programme of events for Space Week.
Teaming up with Na Fianna
DCU’s new partnership with Na Fianna is the first partnership of its type between a University and a GAA club, and demonstrates our intent in addressing DCU’s strategic goal #9 to “pursue active engagement with our communities”.
The seven year agreement will give Na Fianna access to playing pitches and training facilities in the Glasnevin and St Patrick’s campuses.
The club, based on Mobhi Road, has more than 3,000 members across 175 teams in six sporting codes.
Digital Experience Survey for DCU Staff and Students
DCU is one of 34 Irish Education Institutions participating in Ireland's first ever survey of the digital experiences, expectations and engagement of Higher Education staff and students.
The DCU element of this online survey is now live. The Quality Promotions Office (QPO) is coordinating the fieldwork for the survey, which will remain open until November 17th.
We are also delighted to announce that in partnership with DCUSU, QPO will donate €1 for every survey response (up to a max of €2,000) with all proceeds going to our partner charity, Barretstown, DCU’s charity partners.
DCU at 40
Planning is well underway for next year’s celebrations to mark DCU’s 40th birthday. A steering group has been established to guide a programme of events, which will celebrate the positive impact of DCU students, staff and alumni, at home and around the world.
We hope to engage with staff in the near future about the shape of events to mark this big year. As part of this we want to hear your thoughts on how we can mark DCU at 40. If you have suggestions or wish to get involved in this project please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above: Staff photo from the early 80's.