Research Newsletter - Issue 67: Spotlight

DCU Centre for Engaged Research

The Centre for Engaged Research (CER) is now a University Designated Research Centre (UDRC) and is open to new members who may wish to join. The Centre will be formally launched by DCU President Professor Daire Keogh on December 13th.

You can find out more about engaged research and the work of the Centre below:


What is 'Engaged Research'?

Engaged Research is an emerging research approach in Europe and elsewhere aligning with connected areas of participatory research approaches such as ‘citizen science’ (exemplified by the ECIU citizen science initiative), Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Public and Patient Involvement (PPI). Engaged research is seen to be:

Collaborative: an approach where many community stakeholderers are active participants in shaping the research question, analysing the data and developing effective knowledge dissemination strategies

Change-oriented: it seeks to empower communities and local stakeholders through knowledge and to promote democratic values for positive social transformation in the way it conducts its research and manages its community and industry partnerships

Inclusive: it reflects the various types of knowledge, including experiential forms that are essential for a socially inclusive model of research, engaging citizens in research and innovation decision-making

Creative: it seeks to improve the interactions between stakeholders by promoting public engagement with research to identify societal challenges, sharing expertise and research methodologies, disseminating knowledge in an inclusive, trans-disciplinary manner.



Centre for Engaged Research

The Centre for Engaged Research (CER) is part of the broader move towards engaged research methodologies that imply collaborative engagement with the community stakeholders to address societal challenges in a responsive manner. It explores the potential for increased collaborative activities, participation and knowledge dissemination, facilitated through new technologies, shared governance structures and partnerships. 

This brings greater public ownership and connection with policymaking and responses to societal issues such as climate change, pandemics and social marginalisation.

It also embodies the DCU mission to transform lives and transform societies through education, research, engagement and innovation. It reflects the need to rebuild societies towards a new sustainable, collaborative resilience after the current health crisis and to harness and communicate the knowledge of the university to address social needs directly, understanding the transformative power of university/community partnerships.

Centre Activities

We envision that the Centre will engage in a variety of activities, such as:

Sharing knowledge: there is a need to share knowledge on how this research is conducted sometimes ‘below the radar screen’, there is an evolving eco-system which is both user-centred and characterised by open innovation.

Building capacity: CER will conduct this at local, national and international scales where the power of collaboration and of shared platforms are very much in evidence with a cultural change in the nature of the university implicit.

Promoting community-university partnerships: these may be with residents organisations, social service or health care providers or local authorities to develop effective research strategies and action.

Co-creating with communities: solving social and technological issues together, between the university and community stakeholders, through local partnerships to match community issues and research questions with DCU expertise.

In its preparatory phase the Centre for Engaged Research has:

We are currently working with the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation of Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to submit a proposal under the HEA North South Programme that will examine the role of DCU and QUB as ‘anchor institutions’ committed to the social and economic advancement of their local communities.

Contact Us

If you are interested in any of the above or, indeed, wish to share your vision of engaged research please contact one of the CER Directors or the Centre Coordinator who will be happy to talk with you.

Professor Kate Irving (; Professor Ronnie Munck (; Mariana Colman (