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UCD launches Ireland's first digital-policy programme

Posted 24 April, 2019

Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President of UCD, and Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland

Ireland's first academic programme to help improve digital policy creation has been developed by University College Dublin in partnership with Microsoft.

The goal of the new programme is to ensure that regulators and officials keep pace with technology so that laws and policies can be relevant to the challenges of a digitised world.

It is designed to support those in government with the skills and knowledge necessary to reflect on, develop and implement policies that will protect society and provide a relevant framework in which organisations can operate.

The programme will include Certificate, Diploma and Masters’ level qualifications in Digital Policy Studies, and to facilitate its delivery, the appointment of an Assistant Professor in Digital Policy at UCD is planned.

Designed and developed in collaboration with law makers, non-government organisations (NGOs) and industry, it is anticipated that the new programme will also be of interest to start-ups and SMEs who are operating in a digital environment and recognise that enhanced knowledge of the emerging digital policy landscape will support their business ambitions.

The curriculum aims to support Ireland’s ambition to become the digital leader of Europe, said Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland.

“Much of today’s policies and regulations were developed prior to the digitisation of our world and they now need to evolve to ensure relevance in today’s society," she added.

"Ireland has huge potential to take a leadership position in Europe in demonstrating how laws and policies can be adapted to a modern world.

This programme will facilitate our policy makers to create and adapt our policy environment so that it is one that advances innovation, while dealing with the issues of trust and ethics that arise.”

Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President of UCD said: “We are very grateful to Microsoft for supporting the development of academic programmes in this important area. Working in collaboration with industry, government, and policy makers will enable us to provide a curriculum to advance digital skills relevant to Ireland today and for our digital future.”

Professor Colin Scott, Vice President for Equality Diversity and Inclusion and Dean of Social Sciences at UCD added: “It is very important that UCD engages government, industry and NGOs to share knowledge about critically important societal challenges, such as those presented by the digital economy.

"This programme builds on existing expertise in the College of Social Sciences and Law, on topics including transparency in electoral processes, trust and expertise, competition law and policy, regulation, data privacy, hate speech amongst others”

The first of the Certificate and Diploma class for Digital Policy Studies will take place in the 2019/2020 academic year. The Masters programme will be available in 2020.

By Staff Writers, UCD University Relations