UCD develops digital-policy programmes to keep up with tech changes

Programme aims to improve understanding of regulators in building digital policies

Prof Andrew J Deeks, president of UCD, and Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Prof Andrew J Deeks, president of UCD, and Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

A series of qualifications to improve the understanding of officials in digital policy creation are being developed by University College Dublin with support from Microsoft.

The Republic’s first academic digital policy programme is going to be developed in partnership with senior policy officials in the public sector, industry representatives and with Microsoft’s backing.

Its goal will be to improve the capability of regulators and officials to build digital policies at a time when they have been forced to play catch up.

An assistant professor in digital policy is planned to help deliver the programme.

“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,” said Microsoft Ireland managing director Cathriona Hallahan.

‘Advances innovation’

“This programme will facilitate our policymakers 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.”

The first of its kind in Ireland, the programme will include certificate, diploma and masters-level qualifications in digital policy studies.

Both UCD and Microsoft anticipate that the programme will be of interest to start-ups and small and medium enterprises operating in the digital sphere.

Collaboration

UCD president Prof Andrew J Deeks 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 policymakers will enable us to provide a curriculum to advance digital skills relevant to Ireland today and for our digital future.”

Key elements of the new programme include an annual digital policy workshop and a proposed new academic centre drawing current and new research capacity at UCD.

The first of the certificate and diploma class intake will take place in the 2019/2020 academic year. The masters programme will be available in 2020.