President's Welcome

Welcome to the UCD Ad Astra Fellows website.

Last year we launched our UCD Ad Astra Fellowship scheme, an initiative to bring some of the best early career academics from around the world to University College Dublin. We were overwhelmed by the response, and we were inundated with excellent CVs from every corner of the earth. More than 70 of the very best of these people have now joined us, or are in the process of doing so.

This year we are continuing the scheme, looking for a further 40 early career academics over a range of disciplines (detailed in this website). We are particularly interested in receiving applications from academics who can contribute to advancing one or more of the four Strategy Themes identified in our exciting new UCD Strategy 2020-2024, titled ‘Rising to the Future’.

This Strategy recognises that we are facing an age of unprecedented opportunity and challenge. Society is being transformed by digital and communications technology and is itself transforming the very environment which supports all life on earth. Building on the traditions of the past, we are a university of the future, connected and connecting, engaged and engaging, committed to a sustainable future built on a healthy biosphere.

The ‘Rising to the Future’ strategy sets out how we will contribute to this sustainable future through our graduates, through our research and through the way we conduct our business. We have adopted four UCD strategic themes which will permeate everything that we do as an institution, guiding the development of our students, our research and our University community.

  • Creating a Sustainable global society
  • Transforming through Digital Technology
  • Building a Healthy World
  • Empowering Humanity

The Ad Astra Fellowship scheme is part of an ambitious plan to increase our faculty numbers by 500 over five years, which is one of the key enablers of the strategy.

If this vision excites you, you share our values of excellence, creativity, integrity, collegiality, engagement and diversity, and want to build your career in an ambitious research-intensive university in one of Europe’s most vibrant, friendly, cosmopolitan and connected cities, please grasp this opportunity to join us.

Professor Andrew J Deeks
UCD President

Ad Astra Fellows Overview


UCD is a research-intensive global university with purpose, drive and ambition. To contribute to the achievement of our mission and vision, we wish to hire additional faculty who share our ambition and our values: excellence, creativity, collegiality, engagement, integrity and diversity.

UCD has developed a new Central Pool Academic Appointments initiative that is aligned with the University Strategy key objectives:

1. Increase the quality, quantity and impact of our research, scholarship and innovation.
2. Provide an educational experience that defines international best practice.
3. Consolidate and strengthen our disciplines.
4. Conduct strong interdisciplinary research and education in important areas of national and global need.
5. Attract and retain an excellent and diverse cohort of students, faculty and staff.
6. Build our engagement locally, nationally and internationally.
7. Develop and strengthen our University community.


The UCD Ad Astra Fellows programme is one part of this initiative. Approximately 40 appointments will be made at Lecturer/Assistant Professor grade each year targeting high potential early-stage academics. Applications are invited across all academic disciplines represented in UCD. Excellence, creativity and the interest and capacity to engage across disciplines are underpinning values.

The UCD Ad Astra Fellows programme is extremely competitive and applicants are expected to have research outputs in the pipeline that will readily transition to research activity within UCD.



As Ireland’s Global University, UCD will rise to the global challenges of the future by pursuing four strategic themes:

  • Creating a Sustainable Global Society
  • Transforming through Digital Technology
  • Building a Healthy World
  • Empowering Humanity

These strategic themes will shape our research, our teaching and learning and the way we behave and function as a community and as an institution.

rise logo

Creating a Sustainable Global Society

As a matter of urgency, humanity must learn to live sustainably without degrading its shared planet. Food must be produced sustainably to feed a stable human population. Energy must be provided from renewable sources, and the processes of generating and storing that energy must not impact negatively on the environment. Material goods of all types must be made from recycled and/or renewable materials. There must be reduced levels of inequality within and between communities. These goals require significant development of technologies and infrastructure, and changes in human behaviours and institutions.

UCD has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. Members of the UCD community have been to the fore in shaping the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We have led in research areas such as the bioeconomy, agrifood and renewable energy and have developed education programmes in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance. We will now build on this expertise to deliver a holistic response to the challenges of sustainability that spans and unifies our activities in this area.

We will embed the principles of a sustainable society in our University community. Undertaking research which advances the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals through generating, sharing and applying knowledge for maximum impact, we will deliver interdisciplinary educational programmes which support our students and graduates to contribute most effectively to the development of a sustainable society.

New governance arrangements for sustainability will enable the University to develop, communicate, implement and adapt its ambitions to the challenges faced by the world. This will ensure that our campus demonstrates the principles of sustainability across policies and operations in respect of estates, energy, technology, procurement, HR, governance and partnership with our neighbours and wider community. The University will set ambitious targets and will report annually against these targets, becoming a ‘living lab’ for a sustainable community.

Transforming through Digital Technology

The continuing advance of computing and mobile technology, with networks of increasing speed and capacity, the development of cloud computing and storage, the increasing number of networkconnected sensors and devices, together with significant advances in AI and machine learning is transforming entire industries and changing the way we work and the way companies and institutions are organised. Further developments in data analysis and artificial intelligence will bring new tools to many environments, allowing us to pursue opportunities and challenges we can imagine now, as well as changes we cannot anticipate but for which we must be prepared.

Transactional activities are increasingly mediated by computer systems, and the cashless society is rapidly becoming a reality. Devices and apps allow consumers to interact directly with data systems with little human intervention. Developments in machine learning will further accelerate this trend, and data analysis and artificial intelligence will bring new tools to many work environments. The nature of work is undergoing a revolution.

UCD is already at the forefront of significant contributions in AI, data science and cybersecurity. We are widely recognised for our innovative and impactful work at the forefront of the field of digital culture, and we are pioneering new interdisciplinary approaches to digitally record and analyse our past, to better understand our present and to shape and develop our future using digital technologies.

We will continue to contribute to the transformations made possible by digital technology, and will realise these possibilities in our own community; in our research, teaching and learning; and in our operations and decisionmaking. We will integrate our digital campus with our physical campus to provide a welcome, modern, and intellectually stimulating environment. We will embed digital technology to ask new questions, to discover new knowledge, and to analyse what we know afresh. We will also embed digital technology in our teaching and learning, to work together, to deliver services, and to monitor and understand our activities and impact as an institution. We will search for, discover, and introduce new ways to advance the digital literacy of our students and will provide opportunities for all members of our University community to understand and make use of the digital technologies relevant to their areas.

Building a Healthy World

The health of all living things on Earth is intimately connected through the biosphere. From microbes living in soil through to human beings, the food chain and the environment connects all living things. Nevertheless, many advances in human, animal and plant health occur on the microorganism or cellular level, and personalised healthcare based on bioinformatics is developing quickly. While great strides have been made in treating communicable diseases, the incidence of non-communicable diseases is increasing dramatically, particularly in the developed world. Health must therefore be considered at multiple levels.

UCD is the only Irish university which brings together human and animal health sciences, agriculture and food sciences, and environmental and social sciences. We have extensive research and teaching in food production and nutrition and health, together with expertise in personalised medicine, life course and human ageing. We are therefore uniquely positioned to address the education and research synergies between the sciences of human, animal and environmental health.

We will advance the understanding of human, animal and environmental health and wellbeing for the benefit of society, from the cellular level to the population level, and from the individual level to the biosphere as a whole, recognising the interconnectivity between all living things and utilising the One Health concept. We will seek sustainable and ethical interventions of all types which will contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals, populations and the environment. Novel interdisciplinary teaching and research collaborations will be promoted to address important aspects of health and wellbeing for humans, animals and the global ecosystem. We will develop and support programmes to promote good health, to prevent disease and ill health, and to treat medical conditions.

We will make health and wellbeing programmes available to all members of the UCD community, building on the Healthy UCD initiative. We will position UCD as a model for a healthy society, seeking to educate all members of our community in the fundamentals of healthy living and in the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle.


Empowering Humanity

Understanding what shapes human thinking and motivates behavioural change holds the key to successfully addressing the societal challenges represented in our first three strategic themes, and to empower all members of our University community to attain their full potential in our present and future societies. This understanding will also contribute to overcoming emerging societal issues such as mental health challenges, tribalism and isolationism, and rejection of scientific and expert knowledge.

Such societal challenges can only be overcome by changing behaviour. Changing behaviour is challenging, and long-lasting change will only come about by achieving behavioural change at population level. We will rise to this challenge by leveraging the breadth and depth of expertise across the university to enhance our understanding of the social, cultural and economic factors influencing healthy, sustainable human behaviour. We will also continue building a holistic understanding of the behaviour and interaction of individuals in societies, organisations and cultures, and an understanding of humanity in a broader sense.

Digital technology is increasing the number of people working in areas of creativity, strategic and critical thinking, problem solving, teamworking and communication, and these interpersonal skills are therefore increasingly important in employment and leadership contexts. With the reduction of repetitive routine work and the increased availability of every kind of distraction, intrapersonal skills of selfmanagement and self-control are also becoming more and more important.

Globalisation of society is bringing people from different countries and regions together on a scale never experienced before, while recognition of the value of diversity and inclusivity at a national level is bringing together people from different social groups. Industry is increasingly multi-national and supply chains crisscross the world. Skills of working across cultures, including language skills, are therefore increasingly important to success, understanding and problem-solving. As Ireland’s Global University, with an unrivalled diversity in our student population, we are uniquely positioned in the country to advance this agenda.

We will increase our research into understanding human behaviour in this evolving context, and we will provide every member of our University community with opportunities to develop an understanding of human behaviour and thinking, and to develop the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills needed to live and work successfully in a world which is transforming and increasingly global.

Ad Astra Fellows Apply Now

Closing Date 24th January 2020

Apply Here

UCD College of Business

The UCD College of Business is Ireland’s premier Business School delivering undergraduate, postgraduate and executive development learning experiences that transform students to become impactful business leaders. The College is diverse in outlook and global in scope and ambition. Our  programmes are consistently ranked in the world’s top 100 by the Financial Times, and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is one of an elite group worldwide, to hold the triple crown of accreditation from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.

Our Schools

UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business
UCD Smurfit Executive Development
UCD College of Business Overseas

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UCD College of Health and Agricultural Science

The UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences was established in 2015 and brings all of UCD’s health professionals under one banner providing an exciting opportunity to exploit synergies which exist across the One Health spectrum. The College comprises five schools, the School of Agriculture and Food Science, the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sport Science and the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Our Schools

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science
UCD School of Veterinary Medicine
UCD School of Nursing Midwifery and Health Systems
UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

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UCD College of Science

The College of Science is a centre of cutting-edge research bringing together researchers across the biological, biomedical, chemical, geological, mathematical, physical and computer sciences.

Many of the activities of the College are located in the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science, the largest capital investment in Science in the history of the Irish State. The College has a very successful record in winning research funds, averaging €30m per annum, and has 230 faculty as well as over 370 research and support staff. In 2018 the College was home to 3121 undergraduate students, 1347 graduate taught students and 479 graduate research students from 96 countries, one of the largest Science communities in Ireland.

Our Schools

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science
UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science
UCD School of Chemistry
UCD School of Computer Science
UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics
UCD School of Physics

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UCD College of Social Science and Law

UCD College of Social Sciences and Law is a world-leading centre for education and research in the social sciences and related disciplines. The eleven Schools in the College include Archaeology, Economics, Education, Geography, Information and Communications Studies, Law, Philosophy, Politics and International Relations, Psychology, Social Policy, Social work, Social Justice and Sociology. The College offers outstanding undergraduate, graduate and interdisciplinary programmes to more than 5,500 students across social and behavioural sciences and cognate disciplines. UCD ranked 109 in the world for Social Sciences, is in the top 250 in the fields of each of its eleven schools and ranked in the top 100 for Archeology, Law, Philosophy, Politics and International Studies, Social Policy and Administration and is ranked in the top 50 for Library and Information Management.

Our Schools

UCD School of Economics
UCD School of Education
UCD School of Information and Communication Studies
UCD Sutherland School of Law
UCD School of Politics and International Relations

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Why Choose UCD?

Why Choose UCD?

University College Dublin is a scholarly community of students, faculty and staff dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. A research-intensive university and ranked within the top 1% of world universities, UCD is both distinctively Irish and global in its standing, reach and impact.

Learn more about the university and our leadership team along with details of our strategic plan which sets out the university’s mission, values and the vision for what UCD should be by 2020.


UCD is one of the world’s elite universities – among the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.

The university has fourteen subjects in the world’s top 100 and 35 within the world’s top 200 (QS Subject rankings 2019.)

UCD’s field-weighted citation impact (2013-2017) is 1.74 or 74% above world averages, reflecting the quality of research.   

global university

Industry Partnerships

The University has a focus on six research priorities, which map to critical global research challenges.

Our six priority areas are: Agri-Food; Culture, Economy and Society; Energy; Environment; Health; and ICT.  

UCD has collaborated with over 1,000 companies on research programmes and receives funding from over 250 partner companies across the six research themes.

Industry Partnership

QS Subject Rankings 2019



Why Choose Ireland?

Ireland is a small country with a big heart and hundreds of years of history behind it.  It is steeped in culture and no matter what your interests are, this country has something to offer for everyone. 

Dublin is an exciting and vibrant city which is also a gateway to some stunning and picturesque rural areas including nearby Co. Wicklow.

Dublin takes pride in its rich history and culture.  Our music, art and literature have travelled the world and made an impact on millions of hearts and minds.   It is a truly global city, and while walking around the streets you will hear the many languages of a new Dublin. These new influences and adopted voices now play a role in defining the multi-faceted culture which resides in Dublin today.  Through this mixture of new and old you will find a Dublin which has grown into the cosmopolitan and vibrant city which is proud of its rich past but continuously striving towards the future.

UCD is located within 4km's of Dublin city centre.  The Belfield campus is a modern campus where employees can avail of world class facilities and participate in a range of engagement activities.