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Earth Institute members and projects highlighted in UCD Community Engagement Report 2022-2023

Published: Monday, 20 May, 2024

UCD Community Engagement Report 2022-2023 front coverThe community-based work of Earth Institute members and projects were highlighted at the recent launch of the UCD Community Engagement Report for the 2022-2023 academic year.  The report and launch event in May 2024 highlighted the diverse and impactful community engagement activities undertaken by UCD staff, students, and alumni. Professor Colin Scott, Registrar, Deputy President, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at University College Dublin, formally launched the report, which is now available on the UCD in the Community website.

One of the two speeches at the launch event highlighted the community-based research and teaching of Earth Institute member Karen Keaveney (School of Agriculture and Food Science) through the GeoWestCoast project, an Irish Research Council (IRC) New Foundations funded initiative that involved community development associations in Cromane and Asdee in Co. Kerry, and Mulranny in Co. Mayo, along with their respective Local Development Companies. The project aimed to capture the experiences of community-led planning in coastal settings using geodesign as a consensus-building tool and participatory approach.

A rural geographer and regional and urban planner, Karen shared her insights on the importance of listening and collaboration in community engagement: “Community-based teaching and research stem from values and principles rooted in working collaboratively and recognising the diverse experiences of rural life,” Karen said. “Connecting listening with policy for rural territories allows for a richer understanding of localities through mixed methods research and co-design.”

“Mulranny in Co. Mayo was the first village in Ireland to use geodesign in community planning, setting a precedent for others,” Karen noted. “This project was about documenting the plan-making experiences to inspire others to undertake their own community planning.”

Karen emphasised the importance of empowerment and local ownership in community-led approaches, “Academics can facilitate the sharing of experiences and knowledge, celebrating communities that strive for positive change,” she concluded.

The second speech at the launch event by Aideen Quilty (School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice) and Ronanstown coordinator Sinead Mahon highlighted the Women’s Collective Ireland – Ronanstown (NCCWN Ronanstown), a community education training and development project which partners with UCD Gender Studies Community Outreach to provide a National Framework of Qualifications Level 7 University Certificate in Social Justice which explores the questions of feminism, Gender Equality, social equalities and inequalities and many more through reading, critical dialogue, thinking and discussion as well as assignments and essays.

Three other Earth Institute projects highlighted in the 2022-2023 annual report were:

  • UCD Citizen Science Community of Practice, which provides a forum for UCD staff, researchers and students to engage with Citizen Science in their research and teaching through a network of practitioner and knowledge sharing in a culture of collaboration and openness.
  • SoapBox Science Dublin, a public outreach platform for promoting women and non-binary scientists and the science they do. The event takes place annually in South King Street in Dublin city centre where twelve female scientists share their research in areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) with the public. The speakers represent a diversity of career stages, from PhD students to Professors and discuss a broad range of STEMM topics.
  • UCDVO’s 2024 Programme piloting of an international south-north volunteer project in collaboration with the UCD Earth Institute which will involve youth from a partner in east Africa volunteering on an ecosystem restoration project in Ireland with UCD BSc in Sustainability students.


The UCD Community Engagement Report 2022-2023 captures numerous initiatives, showcasing the university's commitment to making a positive impact through collaboration and community involvement.