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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Survey 2021

Page updated 12 July 2022

(Survey closed)

To better understand how individuals experience their working environment, to highlight existing good Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practice and to identify areas where enhancements can be made, an EDI survey was carried out in May 2021. As per UCD’s Gender Equality Action plan (GEAP) 2020 – 2024, UCD has committed to survey our employees every two years. This will enable the University to monitor the impact of its activities and measure progress in the area of EDI through quantitative and qualitative analysis. Reference is made throughout this report to relevant actions in the GEAP and EDI strategy 2020 – 2024 to identify where gaps are currently being addressed or where additional actions have been included as part of the review of the EDI strategy.

Please access the EDI Survey Report 2021 here:  EDI Survey 2021

Additional analysis of the free text was carried out and is available here:  EDI Survey Open Text Analysis

Supports for UCD employees are also listed at the end of the report and on this webpage.


Why are we running this survey?

UCD EDI is committed to supporting an inclusive culture and respectful environment where individuals are able to thrive, irrespective of their background. In order to support our equality, diversity, and inclusion planning processes in line with the UCD EDI strategy, meet statutory responsibilities and assess the impact of initiatives to date, we are conducting a survey to obtain your views and insights with all UCD employees. We would therefore welcome and encourage your participation in this survey.

Donation to UCD Cothram Na Féinne access scholarship

For every completed survey, EDI will make a donation to the UCD Champions Scholarship Fund to provide funding for a student who otherwise could not attend UCD or participate fully in college activity.

Why should you take part? 

By taking part in this survey, you are helping us to identify areas for enhancement, and steps we can take to achieve this. We need to hear from you about your experiences of equality in UCD, the impact of EDI initiatives on your working environment to enhance inclusiveness and belonging and work-life balance and to identify and prioritise steps we can take to address or enhance your experiences. The survey results will be collated to provide an overall picture of EDI across the University. 

Your experience

While some of the questions in this survey have fixed answers, we have included as many open text boxes as possible, to give respondents an opportunity to detail their own experience of equality in UCD. With this in mind, please expand on your answers wherever possible. We want to understand your views on/experiences of equality in UCD. The more information you provide us with, the more we will understand about the current situation in relation to equality in UCD. 

Some of the results of the last survey (2019)

Outputs from the last survey (2019) also contributed to the development of the Gender Equality Action Plan 2020 – 2024 and the implementation of the EDI Strategy. 

Useful Link:

EDI 2021 Survey FAQ's:

The survey is voluntary and completely anonymous. There is no onus on you to participate; however, the survey represents a great opportunity to help us identify areas that we can improve in UCD.  So if you have an opinion, use the survey as an ideal opportunity to share it.

All responses to the survey are anonymous. The survey is being managed confidentially by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team and reports created will only be for groups of at least 10 respondents to ensure anonymity.  

We do not ask you for your name or contact details in this survey. To understand your answers in more context we would be grateful if you could provide us with some personal demographic information as part of this survey. The amount of information you provide us with is entirely up to you, please only disclose information with which you are comfortable, but the more you provide, the more useful it will be for us when analysing your survey response. Where you do not wish to disclose information, please choose the ‘prefer not to say’ option. All of the information you provide will be held confidentially in full compliance with data protection legislation and will only be seen by a small group within the EDI Unit . No data will be collected in relation to affiliation and no information relating to individual responses will be shared with anyone outside the EDI unit.

We also recently launched the Employee Self Serve (ESS) diversity screen where all University employees are invited to update or amend their diversity data confidentially and voluntarily.

For more Information and to update or provide your personal details please visits:   Diversity Data recording on the Employee Self-Service (ESS) Portal

Survey responses are anonymous. All data collected through this survey will be held securely and confidentially in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018. The data will not be used for any purpose other than providing an overall picture of equality, diversity and inclusion within UCD. Access to the data set will be confined to a small group within the EDI Unit, who will be responsible for its subsequent analysis. We will only process data in line with the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018. At no point will the information you provide be shared in a way that would allow you to be personally identified. Any published material will be anonymised. Data shared will only be for groups of at least 10 respondents to ensure anonymity. The EDI team regrets that it is not in a position to personally meet with any individuals who provide a submission or to address personal grievances. Respondents are requested not to submit any details of grievances which are the subject of legal proceedings. If you have any questions about this survey that have not been answered by this information page, please contact edi@ucd.ie

Privacy notice- EDI Survey 

  1. Purpose- the data collected in this survey is used to identify any inequalities that may exist in the University, and to inform institutional actions to combat inequality.  
  2. Legal basis- We understand the collection of employee and student data to be central to the implementation of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, deriving from section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014. Under this Act, all public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) must undertake assessment and monitoring, and have policies and plans to promote equality, prevent discrimination, and protect the human rights of staff, students and the wider public that are served by the work of HEIs. The University has a legal obligation under The Higher Education Act, 1971 to promote equality in the higher education sector. 
  3. Article 9 of the GDPR 2018 Legal Basis- as we are processing special category data as part of this survey, we are relying on Article 9 (2)(a), explicit consent, in order to process this kind of data. 
  4. Controller- the EDI Unit is the data controller for the data collected in this survey. You can contact the Data Protection Officer of the UCD via gdpr@ucd.ie
  5. Categories of personal data- gender including gender identity, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, and membership of the Traveller community.
  6. Confidentiality- Access to the data set will be confined to a small group within the EDI Unit, who will be responsible for its subsequent analysis. At no point will the information you provide be shared in a way that would allow you to be personally identified. Any published material will be anonymised. All data collected through this survey will be held securely and confidentially in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. 

The UCD Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) survey has been designed in order to collect data to better understand the diverse profile and experience of staff within the university community.

The purpose of the survey is to establish an evidence base for activities, policies and practice. Aspects of the survey repeat questions from the 2019 Athena SWAN (EDI)  Survey  in order to monitor progress over time. The survey has also be expanded to include more questions on ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, carers and research and curriculum in order to get a more comprehensive assessment of workplace culture.

The outputs of this survey will be analysed by the EDI Unit and a report will be published.

All data will be disaggregated across all equality grounds,College/VP level and also School/Unit level depending on completion rates in order to ensure anonymity.

All data will be anonymised in line with Data Protection legislation prior to publication.

If you are part of a very small School or Unit with less than 10 team members participating in the survey your results will be aggregated or rolled-up with other teams in your local organisational structure.

Respondents on permanent or temporary contracts, who are commenced on payroll are invited to participate. Casual, non-contractual or hourly staff will not be included on this occasion.

The EDI Unit has committed to run a biennial survey. This is a comprehensive survey in order to gain your views on a broad range of EDI topics across the University.

We are mindful that this survey can take between 20-25 minutes to complete. However, we also think that it is also very important to gain insight from you about your experience of working in UCD – what you value and what you would like to see improved.

No. You can partially complete the survey, save it and return to it later.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015 outlaw discrimination in a wide range of employment and employment-related areas. These include recruitment and promotion; equal pay; working conditions; training or experience; dismissal and harassment including sexual harassment.

The legislation defines discrimination as treating one person in a less favourable way than another person. There are 9 grounds for discrimination, including:

  • Gender (Including Gender Identity): Gender identity refers to an individual’s intrinsic sense of self. It relates to how an individual defines their gender regardless of their assigned biological sex.
  • Civil status: includes single, married, separated, divorced, widowed people, civil partners and former civil partners
  • Family status: this refers to the parent of a person under 18 years or the resident primary carer or parent of a person with a disability
  • Sexual orientation: includes gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual
  • Religion: means religious belief, background, outlook or none
  • Age: this does not apply to a person aged under 16
  • Disability: includes people with physical, intellectual, learning, cognitive or emotional disabilities and a range of medical conditions
  • Race: includes race, skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin
  • Membership of the Traveller community.

The most recent Census of Population of Ireland defines a 'carer' as someone who. ... provides regular, unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long- term illness, health problem or disability (including problems which are due to old age).

Source: CSO & carealliance.ie

Minority ethnic/cultural background refers to a culture or ethnicity that is identifiably distinct from the ethnic majority. This may include people who have been long established in Ireland, people who are naturalised Irish citizens or British, or people who have recently arrived.

CSO defines Ethnic/ background as:

  • Asian or Asian Irish: Chinese
  • Asian or Asian Irish: Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi
  • Asian or Asian Irish: Any other Asian background
  • Black or Black Irish: African
  • Black or Black Irish: Any other Black background
  • Other including mixed group/background: Arabic
  • Other including mixed group/background: Mixed Background
  • Other including mixed group/background: Other
  • White: Irish
  • White: Irish Traveller
  • White: Roma
  • White: Any other White background


Ideally, in such circumstances you should select the School as your location.

Schools are the primary management unit in UCD and the survey has been constructed on this basis. You should select the School within which your academic centre resides.

As per UCD policy, Academic Centres are not management units, and should not employ or manage staff, or deliver programmes independently of Schools.

To preserve anonymity in reporting, some pay grades have been grouped together.

Respondents in the role of Dean / Head of School / Vice-Principal etc., should choose a School as their location

In the event that you are unable to locate yourself in the hierarchy, or you are unsure if you have selected the correct option, you may wish to contact edi@ucd.ie 

Respondents should select “permanent/temporary” in line with their substantive post. For example, a permanent staff member in a temporary role such as a secondment should indicate that they are permanent.

The survey is not intended to generate 360 feedback and managers will not be identified or the subject of individual reports. The intention is to provide broad themes requiring action.

In line with structures used for budgeting and headcount purposes, the hierarchy is based on the concept of “management units”.

Schools and Units are the primary “management unit” in UCD and the survey has been constructed on this basis. Areas such as academic centres are not management units and so they do not appear in the hierarchy.

The hierarchy has been approved in consultation with Schools and Units.

In order to preserve anonymity, some smaller groups are not listed separately in the hierarchy. In many cases, small areas have been combined to ensure that the minimum level of 10 respondents is achieved.

In the case of shared offices such as “Arts and Social Sciences”, respondents will be required to choose just one location within the hierarchy.

Respondents should complete the survey based on their current role, rather than their title.

e.g. A Senior Executive Assistant with the title of Dr should record themselves as ‘Staff’ rather than ‘Academic’

What is Reasonable Accommodation?

Under Employment Equality legislation employers are obliged to take appropriate measures to enable a person who has a disability to access and participate in employment or undertake training – unless these measures would result in a disproportionate burden for the employer.[1]

Reasonable Accommodation (RA) can be defined as some modification to tasks or the structure of a job or the workplace at nominal cost which allows a qualified employee with a disability to fully do their job and enjoy equal employment opportunities.  Reasonable Accommodation can vary from something as simple as rearranging office furniture, to providing Assistive Technology or providing for changes to working hours.

Examples of what may be considered a Reasonable Accommodation

Successful accommodations are often minor, requiring little or no expense

Some simple examples of Reasonable Accommodations may be:

  • Rearranging furniture
  • Changing the level of a desk
  • Buying a piece of equipment
  • Adapting standard equipment
  • Adjusting training materials
  • Accepting that there may be alternative ways of accomplishing a given task
  • Providing company information in appropriate formats
  • Allowing flexi-time, part-time work, job share

Please Note:

Reasonable Accommodation does not include any treatment, facility or item that you might ordinarily or reasonably provide for yourself, for example; a wheelchair or reading glasses.

Source: Ahead – Demystifying Disability in the Workplace

If you have special accessibility requirements and require this survey in an alternative format, please contact edi@ucd.ie

Contact UCD Equality Diversity and Inclusion

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: edi@ucd.ie