Among many accolades, University College Dublin (UCD) boasts Irish writer James Joyce among its alumni. With over 35,000 students it is the country’s largest and one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities, Professor Orla Feely, Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, explains.
What is UCD’s role in Ireland’s history and culture?
Since its foundation in 1854, UCD has left an extraordinary imprint on every aspect of national life. An illustration of this can be seen in our university’s first home in Dublin’s city center, which now houses a museum of literature. Celebrating the best of Irish literature in the building where James Joyce studied is a fitting metaphor for our place in Irish history and culture.
What are UCD’s contributions towards global sustainability?
Ireland has enormous potential to advance sustainability, as a green island at the edge of the Atlantic, and UCD research is a key contributor to this. For example, our researchers are collaborating with industry partners to develop a zero-carbon farm in County Cork and a bioeconomy campus in County Tipperary. Ireland has also had extraordinary success in renewable energy development by integrating wind power onto the electricity grid, facilitated by world-leading research and skilled graduates from UCD. We are also working to advance digital technologies that support sustainability, such as through our partnership with IBM on exciting new developments in quantum computing.
How does UCD ensure that its academic ambitions promote diversity?
Our research and innovation strategy seeks to advance an environment of equality, respect and dignity. We know that diverse decision makers make for better decisions, workplaces and societies. It’s not just about fairness but making the most of all the talent.
UCD, along with other Irish universities, monitors gender equality in job applications, appointments and promotions because women remain under-represented, especially at senior academic levels. We publish full data on promotions by gender and have taken steps to support a family-friendly working environment.
What has UCD done in the ‘Shared Ireland’ initiative?
Our relationship with Northern Ireland is vital, especially after Brexit, and the government funds partnerships to promote this, such as an all-Ireland cancer research institute and a vaccine research institute led by UCD. We have recently signed a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding with Queen’s University Belfast to advance our shared research objectives. Through partnerships such as these, UCD-led research is playing its part in helping Ireland build a shared future.