NEWS

Minister Harris Joins UCD and Microsoft for Commencement of Ireland’s First Digital Policy Programme

Programme designed to build digital policy capability amongst the public and private sector

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris today joined UCD and Microsoft in a special virtual event to officially mark the commencement of Ireland’s first Digital Policy Academic Programme.

The Microsoft-UCD Digital Policy Programme was established through a collaboration between Microsoft and UCD to achieve an ambition of building digital policy capability amongst the public and private sector in Ireland and across the wider European Union.

Welcoming the programme, Minister Simon Harris highlighted the importance of digital policy education and research: “Technology has been given the opportunity in recent months to prove it’s transformational capabilities. In addition to impacting every part of society it’s transformed how Governments across the globe have had to conduct business. We understandably need our policies to adapt to this changing environment. I’m delighted to see UCD and Microsoft launch this programme at such a timely juncture for many policy makers working across the public and private sector. I look forward to seeing the impact the programme over the comings months.”

To inform the development of the programme Microsoft worked with industry partners, the public sector and leading academics.  Speaking at today’s virtual event Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: “We are delighted to collaborate with UCD on the development of this unique programme to prioritise digital policy capabilities. Digital solutions have been at the heart of the healthcare and societal response to the pandemic - not just in Ireland and Europe but across the globe. The technology led response, driven by innovation and the creative thinking of public servants, has been done at a pace not previously imagined.

“The reality is that the policy environment and legislation are not, by their nature, as responsive. In addition to the need to create a policy environment that caters for a digital future where Ireland can reach its potential to be a digital leader by 2025, it is likely that there will need to be amendments to policy to reflect the rapid change that has already happened. We hope that the Digital Policy Programme will help equip those in decision making positions with the skills and capabilities that they need to help inform this important work.”    

Under the direction of Programme Director, Professor Kalpana Shankar, the programme is designed to build capabilities amongst Irish and EU policy makers on matters that arise in the context of digital technologies, infrastructure and production that are now prevalent in all dimensions of life. Course participants will also learn about the economic, social and political conditions that give rise to such technologies and their governance.

Speaking today, Professor Kalpana Shankar, UCD said: “We’ve been really pleased with the level of interest in the Digital Policy Programme to date. The first group of master’s students started in September and it’s been interesting to see how they’ve engaged with different aspects of the course. At UCD we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Microsoft to raise awareness of the programme into the future. Through the course we hope to equip participants with the understanding to develop the digital policy agenda into the future.”

The Digital Policy Programme welcomed its first intake of master’s students in September. Under the programme interested candidates can also apply for a Certificate course. Students on both courses can avail of the newly opened UCD Centre for Digital Policy.

Details on the Microsoft-UCD Digital Policy Programme can be found here.