Strategic Research Partnerships

In 2013, DCU and Arizona State University entered into a Transatlantic Higher Education Partnership. Building on 8 years of collaboration, the partnership promises students a unique education and research experience and it seeks to have a positive impact on the economies and communities in Ireland and Arizona. 

DCU is also a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), an international university network that aligns with DCU’s vision and values as a young, ambitious university of enterprise and transformation. Research links with the ECIU network have expanded greatly due to DCU's involvement with the ground-breaking development of the ECIU University and our collaborative engagement on the EU-funded SMART-ER project (the ECIU University Research Institute for Smart European Regions). 

Further information on these initiatives can be found below.


ECIU Research Activity

DCU is one of 12 partners working together to build the ECIU University, an initiative of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU Alliance) that aims to create a ground-breaking and innovative educational model on a European scale. The first pilot phase of the project (2019-2022) is co-funded by the European Commission as part of the Erasmus+ programme.

The ultimate goal of the ECIU University project is to establish a true European University where learners, researchers, business, public organisations and citizens are enabled to create relevant innovative solutions for real life challenges with real societal impact.

As Lead for Work Package 2 (Challenge-Based Research), DCU is playing an instrumental role in the development of ECIU University research, and the ECIU University will provide new opportunities for researchers in DCU, notably to collaborate with colleagues from any of the other member institutions on ambitious research projects. 

In the pilot phase of the project, ECIU University activities are centered on UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities. Within this, ECIU University has developed a joint long-term research strategy which identifies four key SDG 11 themes:

  • Energy and sustainability
  • Transport and mobility
  • Circular economy
  • Resilient communities

By focusing on the grand problems faced by society within these areas, ECIU University research is challenge-based, impactful and relevant to societal needs.

Besides DCU, member institutions include: Aalborg University (Denmark), Hamburg University of Technology (Germany), Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (France), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithunia), Linköping University (Sweden), Tampere University (Finland), Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain/Catalonia), Aveiro University (Portugal), University of Stavanger (Norway), Trento University (Italy), University of Twente (Netherlands), and associate member Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico).

Alongside the development of the ECIU University, the ECIU Alliance is working on developing SMART-ER, the ECIU University Virtual Research Institute for Smart European Regions. This project is funded by a Horizon 2020 Swafs grant (2021-2024).

The SMART-ER Research Institute promotes and integrates dialogue with society in the research process, and will help to overcome the limitations of single disciplines, sectors, institutions and countries being mainly based in a virtual collaborative environment.

Jointly, ECIU SMART-ER institutions will pilot new funding schemes, launch capacity building programmes for researchers, and support citizen science initiatives that will be used as a testbed to implement a new model of inclusive and barrier-free research.

For further information about SMART-ER please contact:



To support the development of transnational collaborations and promote openness across ECIU member institutions, DCU is participating in the ECIU Researcher Mobility Fund (RMF).

The fund offers grants of up to €5,000 for travel and associated costs to visit other member institutions to:

  • Collaborate with other ECIU researchers on a project, publication or funding proposal
  • Undertake specific training opportunities for early-career researchers
  • Share best practices in research support across institutions

The Research Mobility Fund is an open call available to academic staff, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students from all disciplines and to research support staff in DCU. Activities linking with UN SDG 11 are particularly invited, in line with the ECIU long-term research strategy.


The 2023 DCU call for applications is now open.

Please see the guidelines document below for more details on how to apply. 

Internal deadline: 5pm Wednesday 10th May 2023


Completed applications or queries relating to the fund should be submitted to Dr Emma McGrath, ECIU University Project Officer (