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22 June 2024

Launch of 2023-27 Strategic Plan and the NUI Denis Donoghue Award


Strategic Plan Banner

On May 4th, at 1pm in 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, the National University of Ireland launched their new strategic plan for 2023-27, as well as the new Denis Donoghue award. NUI Strategic Plan 2023-27: Deep roots, new horizons signals a step change in how NUI operates, engages, and is perceived.

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

Launching the Strategic Plan, the Chancellor of NUI, Dr Maurice Manning, remarked

“The development process for the Strategy highlighted two strands of thought.
Firstly, that NUI is an important institution that has played and will continue to play a significant role
in our sector. Secondly, that opportunities exist for NUI to broaden our offering and further enhance
our impact in the sector. These strands of thought are captured in the tagline of our strategic plan:
“Deep roots, new horizons”.

Dr Maurice Manning
NUI Chancellor


The Registrar of NUI, Dr Patrick O’Leary remarked

“One of NUI’s key strategic objectives is to develop supports for students from
underrepresented communities and groups in higher education. We are delighted today to formally
launch the NUI Denis Donoghue Award which encapsulates the great contribution that its namesake
made on his students throughout his career. This award will continue Denis Donoghue’s lifelong
focus on supporting and inspiring scholarship by directly supporting some of those NUI students
that need it the most.”

Dr Patrick O’Leary
NUI Registrar


The NUI Denis Donoghue Award will be an annual award established in memory of Denis Donoghue and funded by a bequest from his daughter, the novelist Emma Donoghue.

The purpose of the award is simple: to foster success and facilitate excellence, by providing monetary support to students from under-represented groups in higher education in Ireland. The NUI Denis Donoghue Award lends itself towards this aim by directly supporting some of those NUI students who need it most.

Emma Donoghue, who provided a short introductory video for the launch, described her “brilliant and hard-working father” who passed away two years ago, and how his journey in higher education was impacted by economic factors. She remarked

“Economic obstacles, barriers and stones block the path of students who just want to learn and
grow and find out what they can contribute to the world. So, to honour Denis’ name, I couldn’t be
happier than to establish this NUI Denis Donoghue Award to help students like him today.”

Emma Donoghue



Further information from:

Cora Lenihan
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square
Dublin 2, D02 V583
Ph: 01 4392424
Twitter: @NUIMerrionSq







Denis Donoghue Award

The NUI Denis Donoghue Award will be valued to a maximum of €5,000 per awardee. Typically, three awards will be granted per year. Uniquely for NUI, the awardees will be determined via anonymised lottery.

To be eligible to apply for the NUI Denis Donoghue Award applicants must be from groups that are under-represented in higher education.

These groups include:

  1. Students from communities that have low levels of participation in higher education;
  2. First-time mature students (23 or older on 1 January of their year of entry to higher education)
  3. Students with a disability (particularly those with a physical or mobility impairment, those who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who are blind or have a visual impairment)
  4. Members of the Irish Traveller community
  5. Further education and training award holders progressing to higher education
  6. Lone parents
  7. Students from ethnic minorities


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