DCU’s President presents awards for engagement and innovation

Béibhinn Thorsch

DCU President Brian MacCraith praised DCU's impact on societal progress.

There was no award given for the Enterprise Engagement category of the DCU President’s Engagement Awards, which were presented on Monday, April 8th.

This year there are also plans for student entries to be submitted to an international Irish and Vietnamese competition, held under the VIBE (Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Education Exchange) programme.

The similar DCU innovation awards were also announced on the same day, with projects tacking gender bias and disabilities announced as some of the winners.

Winning contributions to the Engagement awards include Dr Elizabeth Mathews’ work with the deaf community where she made huge contributions to the opening of the BEd Irish Sign Language, the first course of its kind in Ireland.

Other winner’s contributions included Prof Barry McMullin’s work with An Taisce Climate Committee, master’s student Austin Campbell’s work training homeless individuals in storytelling and confidence alongside tour guiding skills, and Jennifer Harrington’s role in helping to engage women in the engineering community.

The enterprise engagement award was designed to highlight social enterprise that specifically promotes social regeneration and local economic development.

Last year Prof Deirdre Butler from the DCU School of STEM Innovation and Global Studies received the award of €500 for her work in “Smart Partnership” to develop STEM skills as well as multiple initiatives in that same area.

The layout of the awards has changed over the past ten years however the first winner of the Enterprise Engagement award was in 2016, showing the award has been without a winner for the first time in three years.

Professor Brian MacCraith said of the awards: “We have always recognised the mutual benefits that arise, for our university and the wider community, when we reach out to one another… this year’s award-winning contributions embody the mission and values of DCU to transform lives and societies.”

DCU’s website has outlined the various forms of engagement which would make an entrant eligible for the award, including civic and public engagement, enterprise engagement, sustainably, and student engagement.

Entries to the award are nominated through a google form available to DCU students through their Loop pages. All staff and students at DCU are eligible for the awards, which include the overall President’s Award for Engagement (Staff and Student categories, both with a €1000 award) and the Special Merit Awards (Staff and student both worth €500).

The selection process is conducted by a panel established by the university’s Civic Engagement Forum and includes representatives from both academic and administrative staff, students, and an external member.

Béibhinn Thorsch

Image Credit: Senior Times