DCU to create new institutes in war, water and ‘future journalism’ under €300m plan

University seeks to double student numbers by 2029

DCU’s plans include the development of the recently purchased All Hallows College, Drumcondra site for student accommodation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

DCU’s plans include the development of the recently purchased All Hallows College, Drumcondra site for student accommodation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Dublin City University has announced ambitious plans double its student numbers and expand its geographical footprint in north Dublin under a €323 million development programme.

This depends upon raising at least €100 million through private and corporate philanthropy, with the balance coming from bank loans.

The plans include the development of the recently purchased All Hallows College, Drumcondra site for student accommodation, linking this with St Patrick’s teacher training college to form a multi-campus university.

St Patrick’s has merged with DCU under an “incorporation” agreement that includes the Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Church of Ireland College of Education.

Under its plan “DCU/Shaping the Future”, the university is seeking to further develop its Institute of Education, which will have a special focus on digital learning, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) education and special needs.

Other new faculties planned are:

* CHAnge (Centre for Healthy Ageing): focusing on healthy and active ageing and the management of chronic diseases;

* Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction: producing research on key areas of international concern and supporting peace-building in post-conflict regions;

* FuJo - Institute of Future Journalism and Media: an extension of DCU’s existing journalism school to explore latest data technologies and new media challenges;

* DCU Water Institute: developing approaches to water quality, flood prevention, global access to safe drinking water.

The university, which began as the National Institute of Higher Education (NIHE) in 1980 with just 200 students, has today a student population of 13,000. It plans to increase this to 26,000 by 2029.

It says it has already secured donations of €25 million during a “quiet”, initial phase of the fundraising campaign, a quarter of its target.

“DCU has as its mission the formulation of responses to, as yet, undefined needs at local, national and global levels,” said university president Prof Brian MacCraith.

“This development plan, unparalleled in our institution’s short history, is the blueprint for a challenging new direction which will enable DCU to grow and deliver impact by aligning its research priorities with global challenges and by preparing our graduates for the jobs of the future.”

British entrepreneur and “futurist” Dr Peter Cochrane told the launch event in Glasnevin that DCU was right to challenge “the status quo” and to try to create new responses to global problems.

“Our world is no longer slow, disconnected and linear; it is fast, connected and highly non-linear. From the same starting conditions, our systems return wildly different results... This is true of technology, networks, economics and politics - the old ways and old thinking do not work, and they can be dangerous.”