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.