NUI Galway Outlines Ambitious Vision Based on Shared Values

For the launch of NUI Galway’s new Strategic Plan 2020-2025, University President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, signed the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Accord on behalf of NUI Galway. The accord commits the University to deliver on the UN goals in its teaching, research and actions, to annually report on the University’s progress on sustainability, and to do so in ways which share learnings nationally and internationally.
Jan 09 2020 Posted: 08:56 GMT

NUI Galway today outlined a new strategy which places the 175 year old institution as a central driver of transformational change for Galway and the West of Ireland.

The new strategy, titled “Shared Vision, Shaped by Values”, has been developed following extensive dialogue with students, academics, alumni, policymakers, and the wider community, marks a new approach for NUI Galway, and places the shared values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability as the guiding light for the future direction of the University.

The strategy will see NUI Galway focus on its continued contribution to enhancing policy and society, enriching creativity, improving health and wellbeing, realising potential through data and enabling technologies, data science and sustaining our planet and people.  With these strengths, NUI Galway will lead through its contribution to the region’s international reputation as a recognised centre of excellence for Medical Technologies, Data Science, Culture and Creativity, Climate and Oceans, and Public Policy.

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are a university with no gates.  Our location at the very edge of Europe gives us a unique perspective and an opportunity. Our regional footprint is the largest of any University in Ireland spanning the Atlantic seaboard. Galway is the most international city in Ireland. Our uniqueness means we can work in ways others cannot.  At the edge, we look at the world from a different angle. Between sea and land, we see the horizon every day and, like all great explorers, all great adventurers, we wonder what’s on the other side.  This places us in an international context and enhanced co-operation with other international institutions, from this place and for this purpose, will also therefore be a focus of our new strategy. 

 “For the public good, NUI Galway belongs to the people. In this strategy and in these times, we will use our location for the benefit of Ireland as an institution formed by values. Our research, our teaching and our engagement – with our students and our staff – has purpose, evoking also our sense of people and place, further contributing profoundly to the sustainability and development of culture, creative industries, data science, medical technologies, marine ecology and our economy. For example, given our geography at the intersection of Europe with the North Atlantic, the climate information we can gather is unique. The University will deliver subsequent climate research for the benefit of humanity. Beidh an Ghaeilge freisin i gcroílár straitéis agus structúir na hollscoile, luachmhar agus aitheanta mar luach dár gcomhluadar,” he added.

The strategy also outlines an ambitious development programme, titled “Building for the Future”, which will see NUI Galway leading the transformational change of Galway and the West of Ireland, with major social, economic and cultural impact for future generations. This includes the prioritisation of the following, for example, based on the NUI Galway’s shared values:

Open to our communities,

  • a new innovation district, incorporating a riverside campus, on Nuns’ Island / Earls Island as the primary driver of the urban regeneration of Galway city and
  • a landmark cultural and performance space, acknowledging the University’s role as a national cultural institution and its contribution to Galway as a city of culture;

Reflecting respect for our students,

  • additional affordable and sustainable on-campus student accommodation and
  • a sports campus for the future, delivering a new Water Sports Centre and 3G pitch;

Contributing to sustainability,

  • universal design principles in our capital development across all our campuses and a programme of retrofitting older buildings to enhance physical access for all and
  • expansion of the Galway to Connemara Greenway with greater connections for cyclists and pedestrians between the campus and the city;

Committed to excellence,

  • a new Library, incorporating a Learning Commons that encourages and supports new forms of learning and engagement
  • applying the expertise of the University, through the creation of a new “City Lab”, in partnership with regional and national stakeholders, to make Galway and the wider region a better place to live and work.

The University is also determined that employment at NUI Galway will be fair, equitable and inclusive. The University is committed to the practice of maintaining and promoting decent, high standards of employment and fairness for all those who work on its campuses.

The critical role of the University in delivering sustainable development is central to the strategy. NUI Galway has signed the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, moving to further develop research and teaching focused on the SDGs, and together developing a roadmap to move ambitiously towards a carbon neutral campus by 2030.

Professor Ó hÓgartaigh continued: “We are here for our students and society, and now we must be here for our planet too. Our new strategy recognises how critical this moment is and, as the generation most influenced by climate change, our students demand climate action through our research, our teaching and our influential role as a public institution. We are distinctively shaped by our values, which emerged in consultation with our students, our staff and our other partners.  Those values shape the research which drives us, the teaching we share, the support we give and our engagement in the world and for the world.  Mar a spreagann dán Uí Dhireáin, tá currach lán éisc anseo, ag teacht chun cladaigh … san Earrach thiar.”

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