HCI Pillar 3 mid-term report exceeds targets

Date Released: 3 July 2023

HCI Pillar 3 mid-term report exceeds targets

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) released its mid-term evaluation report on the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 3 projects at the Convention Centre Dublin which included the University of Galway funded project Designing Futures. Designing Futures were very well represented at the event with representation on the Learner Panel by Cian Coyne, a final year Commerce student and Martin Hynes, Director of Process Development in Boston Scientific who took part in the Enterprise Partner Panel. Our project exhibition included a showcase of the Empathy Lab and our new empathy baby ‘Finn’ and Vertically Integrated Projects ‘From Bench to Bedside’ and ‘Soundscapes’.

The reports notes the following in relation to Designing Futures:

Innovation & Alignment

There are a number of examples of innovation which have been supported by the project.

  • The creation of a process for the development of Transdisciplinary Modules and Vertically Integrated Projects in the curriculum. This is based on research into innovative pedagogies and facilitates student-centred learning.
  • The IdeasLab cultivates a vibrant community that fosters and empowers the next generation of design thinkers, problem solvers, and change agents. It extends beyond the confines of traditional education, embracing a dynamic and multidisciplinary approach that integrates diverse perspectives and disciplines.
  • The newly designed Empathy Lab empowers students to consider the deeper layers of the human experience, using technology and human simulation to capture the essence of our real, messy, human selves and is the first if its kind in the world.
  • The introduction of a Skills Passport which represents a full and formal acknowledgement of students’ skills development, activities and achievements, including academic curricular, co-curricular achievement both inside and outside the classroom.
  • This project has introduced the role of Student Success Coach to support students to take an active role in ‘designing their lives’ to achieve their unique academic, personal and life goals during their time at University of Galway.

Policy Alignment

In terms of the alignment of the project with Irish Higher Education policy, namely:

  • National Skills Strategy (DoE 2017)
  • Technology Skills 2022
  • Ireland’s Third ICT Skills Action Plan (DoE 2018)
  • Project Ireland 2040 (DHPLG 2018)

Indecon’s conclusion is that Designing Futures has successfully been established, governance and project management structures created, and that overall delivery is on target, with student enrolment exceeding expectations.

A copy of the executive summary and full report can be accessed on the HEA’s website here.