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22 June 2024

NUI Strategy and Policies

NUI Strategic Plan 2023-2027

The quality and prestige of NUI qualifications nationally and internationally remain a hallmark of the plan, but we also commit to presenting our universities as research intensive institutions that deliver significant social capital and have a tangible positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Other key objectives of the strategic plan are:

  1. to support students to reach their potential at all levels;
  2. to develop our capacity to support and promote the Irish language and culture;
  3. to embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals into our operations.

The plan is centred around 4 key pillars:

(click goal to expand)

  1. Education & Research;
    1. Objectives:
    2. Present NUI institutions as research intensive universities embracing the best of research informed teaching.
    3. Enhance student voice within NUI.
    4. Support students to reach their potential at all levels.
    5. Ensure that quality assurance policies are appropriate and quality enhancement continues to be a priority.
    6. Proactively engage with processes around Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), Micro credentials and so called ‘stacking’ of minor awards into a major award to ensure NUI advances the views of member institutions.
    7. Financially support ambitious research of exceptional quality and celebrate and publicise research in member institutions.
    8. Develop its supports for students from underrepresented communities and groups in higher education.
  2. People & Culture;
    1. Objectives:
    2. Attract, recruit and retain staff of the highest calibre.
    3. Increase diversity of NUI staffing profile.
    4. Support staff in personal and professional development.
    5. Develop capacity to promote and support the Irish language and culture.
  3. Engagement & Partnership;
    1. Objectives:
    2. Develop a comprehensive communications strategy. Aim to improve internal and external reputation, improve knowledge of what NUI does and increase its impact.
    3. Position NUI to develop long-term term visions for Irish higher education through engagement across the sector nationally and internationally.
    4. Maximise the international reputation of the NUI brand, its research-intensive universities, and Irish higher education through engagement, partnership and collaboration.
    5. Increase the impact of Senate and review its working to ensure that it is optimised.
    6. Provide quality services to NUI members in the provision of degree parchment, document services, meeting rooms and archival support.
    7. Engage with NUI degree, honorary degree, higher degree and award alumni to capitalise on their expertise to advance the NUI mission and impact.
    8. Lead on humanitarian issues and become a leader in social justice and sustainability.
    9. Increase interaction with external organisations and be an active ambassador for our institutions and Irish higher education internationally.
    10. To advocate for Seanad Éireann electoral reform and to facilitate it.
  4. Sustainability;
    1. Objectives:
    2. Lower NUI’s environmental impact on energy and waste while conserving our historic built environment and improving our space utilisation.
    3. Embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) in all processes and policies.
    4. Manage financial resources to ensure the University’s long-term sustainability.
    5. Sustain investment in information technology capability while streamlining administrative processes.
    6. Modernise internal and Seanad Éireann election processes.

Additionally, NUI will use its unique position in the sector to take a long-term, objective view to plan beyond the normal horizons for higher education institutions. This long-term vision and engagement across the sector will be beneficial to the sector and NUI’s stakeholders.

NUI Strategic Plan 2023 - 2027 Download

NUI Strategic Plan 2018-2022

This document sets out the strategy for the National University of Ireland for the period 2018-2022. This strategy builds on the work and achievements of the 2014-17 period, and seeks to reflect the views of NUI’s constituent universities, Recognised Colleges and wider, interested parties.

NUI has five strategic goals to pursue as part of its new five-year plan:

(click goal to expand)

  1. To add demonstrable value to NUI's constituent universities, recognised colleges and associated institutions;
    1. Major objectives:
    2. Continue to meet the needs of member institutions for shared services.
    3. Ensure responsiveness to changing members’ needs, through dialogue and feedback.
    4. Develop an NUI communications strategy and policies for enhanced engagement with members, associated institutions and other stakeholders.
    5. Promote scholars, scholarship and links with NUI’s global community of award winners.
    6. Develop a forum for member institutions to share learning on academic and related issues.
    7. Enhance meeting and conference facilities at 49 Merrion Square and increase usage.
  2. To support Irish higher education and advocate for its advancement at home and abroad;
    1. Major objectives:
    2. Increase Irish scholarship in the field of higher education, to advance understanding of the history, contribution and evolving role of the Irish university in 21st century society.
    3. Collaborate with member institutions, other universities, the Department of Education & Skills, Higher Education Authority, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, Irish Universities Association and others to advocate for and advance the interests of Irish higher education.
    4. Further develop international recognition of NUI, the research and scholarship of its member institutions and the qualifications awarded across the federation.
  3. To develop and capitalise on the NUI brand nationally and internationally, for the benefit of members
    and the wider sector;
    1. Major objectives:
    2. Ensure recognition of the NUI brand in Ireland and internationally as a mark of the highest academic quality standards.
    3. Promote the NUI brand internationally by recognising and capitalising on the size and scale of the NUI graduate community.
  4. To make a meaningful contribution to Irish civic society;
    1. Major objectives:
    2. Fulfil NUI’s constitutional role to in relation to the electoral register and the election process for the NUI constituency of Seanad Éireann.
    3. Enhance NUI’s discursive role in relation to social, cultural, historical, and intellectual topics relevant to wider civic society.
    4. Maintain the NUI and Royal University (RUI) archives in line with international best practice.
  5. To enhance NUI's staff skills-base and its enabling support structures.
    1. Major objectives:
    2. Ensure that NUI has the necessary HR tools in place to support and enable staff and the organisation as a whole.
    3. Ensure that NUI complies with relevant HE governance requirements, and has resources and policies in place to support Risk and Business Continuity Planning and to fulfill FOI and Data Protection legislative requirements.
    4. Ensure that NUI’s financial, administrative and IT support systems can effectively enable strategic goals.

NUI’s central vision is to continue to be an integral part of the Irish higher education system, contributing to its development, being an advocate for its advancement and supporting its member institutions.

NUI Strategic Plan 2018 - 2022 Download

Strategic Plan 2014-2017

This document sets out the strategy for the National University of Ireland for the period 2014-2017. Having emerged from a period of considerable uncertainty concerning its future, NUI engaged in a systematic review of its role and functions and related to this, undertook an extensive series of consultations across the NUI universitites and colleges and more generally in the higher education sector with a view to the preparation of its future strategy.


Policies and Quality Assurance


NUI Quality Policy

NUI Senate is responsible for articulating the quality and quality assurance and enhancement standards of the federal university. This document sets out four quality principles for all federation member institutions and identifies ancillary NUI policy documents in this area.



NUI Policy on Extern Examiners for Research Degrees in the Recognised Colleges

This policy applies to NUI recognised colleges, including institutions that are designated awarding bodies (DABs) in their own right. It covers the full range of research degree awards that are placed in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) at levels 9 and 10, including professional research degree awards. Recognised colleges may offer some or all these research degree awards.



NUI Protocol for tranisitioning to Permanent Online Delivery in the 2022-23 Session in the Recognised Colleges

The purpose of this protocol is to set out NUI’s procedures for the re-validation of existing RCSI and IPA programmes transitioning from temporarily approved online delivery modes1 to permanent online modes of delivery starting in the academic year 2022-23. This protocol does not apply to proposals for new, fully online academic programmes in the Recognised colleges, which should continue to follow NUI’s published regulations for new programme approvals2, until further notice.



Policy, regulations and procedures for the approval of Research Degrees in the Recognised Colleges

This policy contains regulations and procedures for use by NUI Recognised Colleges, when developing programmes of education and training that will lead to NUI research degree qualifications.



Policy and Procedures for updating NUI on Graduate Name Changes in the NUI Constituent Universities and Recognised Colleges

NUI has a statutory duty to maintain, in perpetuity, a register of all graduates with degrees and other qualifications of the National University of Ireland. This policy and procedures document should be used by staff in the Registry/Student Records offices in NUI’s constituent universities (or linked colleges thereof) and in NUI Recognised Colleges. A list of these institutions is available here. This policy will be kept under annual review.



Guidelines for the Institutional Review of Quality Assurance Effectiveness at Recognised Colleges that are Linked Providers

These Guidelines are intended for use by Recognised Colleges that are also Linked Providers of NUI, under the terms of the 2012 Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training Act). NUI provides these guidelines to assist these Colleges to prepare for external review of the effectiveness of their approved Quality Assurance policy and procedures. Such review must take place at least once every seven years.



The Quality Assurance Relationship between the National University of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – University of Medicine and Health Sciences

RCSI - University of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been a Recognised College of NUI since 1977. This document sets out the scope and nature of the Quality Assurance relationship between NUI and RCSI, clarifying that as RCSI is a Designated Awarding Body (DAB) in its own right, it is not termed a Linked Provider of NUI. However given the important statutory relationship between both institutions, Quality Assurance responsibilities continue to exist in policy and practice.



NUI Policy in relation to the Usage of Titles of Degrees and other Qualifications

This policy is intended for use by NUI Constituent Universities and Recognised Colleges, providing an overarching set of principles to support and guide Academic Councils and equivalent bodies in their choice of title for degrees and other qualifications.



Guidelines for the Periodic External Review of Programmes Leading to NUI Degrees and Other Qualifications in Recognised Colleges that are also Linked Providers of NUI

These guidelines are intended for use by Recognised Colleges of the National University of Ireland that are also Linked Providers of NUI, in accordance with the terms of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. As a Designated Awarding Body, NUI is responsible for validating and accrediting programmes of education and/or training offered by such Colleges that lead to the award of NUI degrees or other qualifications. These guidelines are intended to support Recognised Colleges which are Linked Providers as they plan and implement a cycle of periodic external review of previously validated and accredited programmes.



Statutory Guidelines for NUI Review of Linked Provider Institutions

NUI is a Designated Awarding Body (DAB) under the 2012 Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act. Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) provides guidelines to support NUI in the exercise of its statutory responsibilities in the area of Quality Assurance of Linked Provider institutions.

The 2012 Act defines Linked Providers as Higher Education Institutions that enter into arrangements with Designated Awarding Bodies to provide approved programmes of education and training. NUI’s Recognised Colleges (excluding RCSI) are termed Linked Providers under the 2012 Act.



Human Rights Principles and Code of Conduct for the National University of Ireland and its Member Institutions

The preparation of these principles and code of conduct was informed by the growing recognition within Ireland that all public institutions must operate in full compliance with the highest standards of human rights, and by appreciation of the new challenges and opportunities associated with the increasing internationalisation of NUI universities and member institutions both at home and abroad.

The purpose of these principles and code of conduct is to guide NUI universities and member institutions as they discuss, adopt and implement their own policies.



Guidelines for higher education institutions considering an application for NUI Recognised College status

NUI is empowered under legislation and its 1908 Charter to grant to Institutions of Higher Education the status of ‘Recognised College’ of the University. NUI is also a Designated Awarding Body (DAB) under the more recent 2012 Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act. NUI welcomes interest and applications for Recognised College status from existing or newly established institutions of higher education in the Republic of Ireland.

For more information, please download the Guidance document provided below.



Regulations, Procedures and Guidelines for the approval of New Programmes and changes to Existing Programmes in the Recognised Colleges

This policy outlines the process for approval by the NUI Senate of new programmes or changes to existing programmes proposed by Recognised Colleges of the University. It also outlines the University’s policy on the use of titles and the alignment of awards with the National Framework of Qualifications including award-type descriptors and credit weightings. This edition (May 2020) will supersede all earlier editions.



NUI Quality Assurance and Enhancement Framework

This National University of Ireland (NUI) Quality Assurance and Enhancement Framework (the Framework) sets out NUI’s approach to quality with specific reference to mechanisms for assuring and enhancing the quality of procedures with regard to recognised colleges that are also linked providers of the University.



NUI Policy and Procedures for the Approval of Quality Assurance Procedures in the Recognised Colleges

As a Designated Awarding Body (DAB) under the 2012 Quality and Qualifications Act, NUI must approve the internal QAE procedures in operation within its Recognised Colleges (RCs). The purpose of this policy is therefore, to set out the process by which NUI approves the quality assurance procedures of its RCs. The policy also outlines the process by which NUI reviews and approves updated or revised RC procedures on an on-going basis.



Quality Assurance for Collaborative and Transnational Provision of Academic Programmes Leading to NUI Qualifications

This policy provides guidance to Recognised Colleges on the issues that should be considered in the development of collaborative or transnational provision. It contains guidance on strategic considerations, due diligence and Memoranda of Understanding. It also outlines the University's procedures for the approval, monitoring and review of collaborative and transnational provision.



Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

This policy seeks to facilitate an inclusive approach to accessing qualifications of the University by recognising that a substantial proportion of learning occurs outside formal learning environments. The principles and practice considerations outlined in this document are intended to underpin the University’s support for lifelong learning within a framework of quality and provide a guide for member institutions in developing their own RPL procedures for programmes leading to NUI awards. 



NUI Policy on Extern Examiners