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Posted 11 November 2014

UCD to go global

UCD strategy 2015-2020 published

The new UCD strategy aims to position UCD within the top ten universities in the world in terms of global engagement.

The UCD strategic plan sets out the University’s plan to expand internationally through the setting up of global centres that will support student and faculty exchanges, collaborative research and education programmes, alumni networks and partnerships with industry and government in each region.

Launching the UCD strategy, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ms Jan O’Sullivan said: “Ireland’s economic recovery and re-emergence is dependent on our ability to engage globally and UCD’s strategy will not only provide opportunities for students to gain valuable international cultural and educational experience but for a strong launching pad for many Irish who wish to reach out to the wider world.”

Pictured at the launch of the UCD Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020: UCD President, Professor Andrew J Deeks and Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan TD.
Pictured at the launch of the UCD Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020: UCD President, Prof. Andrew J Deeks and Minister for Education & Skills, Jan O'Sullivan TD

“UCD has a strong track record of preparing students for the global economy through its study overseas programme and this strategy aims to increase the number of students taking advantage of this option in order to prepare themselves for their future careers.”

The Minister recently announced details of the first UCD global centre to open in Beijing.  UCD has strong ties with a number of Chinese universities including Peking, Renmin and Fudan.  There are 600 Chinese students currently studying at UCD in Dublin and a further 500 in Beijing.  There are currently 34 Irish UCD students taking part of their degree programme in Beijing.

“Currently some 700 UCD students study at 400 partner universities abroad each year.”  The President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks said.  “This is almost twice the national rate.  Such experience is an essential element to building skills that are crucial to Irish graduates as they compete in an increasingly global environment but I believe we need to significantly expand our global engagement.”

UCD also plans to review its curriculum in order to ensure it prepares the next generation of graduates to be able to contribute to society by providing them with the skills they need to contribute to economic, social and physical well-being.  Building on the successful UCD Horizons structure, this curriculum review could significantly reduce the number of entry routesto both undergraduate and graduate programmes.
In the area of research, the UCD plan points to the breadth and strength of its disciplinary base, which is fundamental to the University’s research-intensive reputation and its ability to deliver depth in the educational curriculum.

Speaking at the launch of the strategy, the President of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Mary Daly said: “UCD and all Irish universities are subject to constant challenges both domestic and international. UCD has played a key role in the political, social and cultural formation of modern Ireland, and this role is even more demanding in 2015 than a century ago. Universities now rank among the most important forces in modern society and the health of a nation is increasingly dependent on the vitality of its universities.”

The strategy will see the development of specific strategic partnerships with major national and international organisations and companies. These partnerships will span education and research, providing mechanisms for industry and government to contribute to the development and delivery of academic and research programme and for students to access increased internship opportunities.

For example, the University intends to expand partnerships such as endowed chairs such as the Masstock Chair in Crop Science endowed by Origin Enterprises, the Elan Chair in the Business of Biotechnology, and the UCD Chair of International Law and Business, sponsored by McCann Fitzgerald.

The Minister welcomed UCD’s plans to expand its internship programmes at graduate and undergraduate level.  “Internships provide complementary experience to academic study, which enhances graduates’ career starts.” 

UCD will further improve its research and innovation performance by consolidating and strengthening its disciplines, and ensuring structures for interdisciplinary research are agile and flexible, so that interdisciplinary research and education programmes can be built around areas of national need, as those needs arise, maximising the impact of the research.

“We will identify our core disciplines through internal discussion and external comparison in order to consolidate and strengthen them with the expectation that our core disciplines with be ranked in the top 100 by 2020.”   Professor Deeks said.

The new strategy will be supported by a new campus development plan for the Belfield campus, which will see a number of significant developments ensuring that students are educated in an environment which prepares them to take their place in the modern workplace, but which allows them to bring state-of-the-art practices to their subsequent employment. Other developments will open up the campus to the wider community and to strategic partners, and additional on-campus student accommodation will be constructed to house an additional 2,300 students to bring our campus residence population up to 5,000.

A major fundraising campaign will underpin the strategy, the details of which will be announced early next year.

With a direct reference to the current funding crisis, the UCD strategy outlines governance, management and budgetary objectives and makes specific reference to initiatives that will generate non-exchequer incomes.  “In addition,” Professor Deeks added, “we will work with Government, through the Department of Education and Skills and the HEA, to address public pay policy and other public service employment constraints.”


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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