Project Name



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Project Team

  • Dr Claire Mc Bride, Head of TU Dublin Enterprise Academy
  • Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director, UCD Innovation Academy
  • Eleanor Kelly, Head of Strategy and Partnerships, UCD Innovation Academy
  • Kat English, Manager, TU Dublin Enterprise Academy

Provide a short description of the project for our website

Convene is a collaborative project between Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) and University College Dublin (UCD) to explore new ways that academia and enterprise can work more closely together to meet priority and emerging skills needs.


At TU Dublin, a new, dedicated business unit – the Enterprise Academy – has been established to support enterprise in their talent development efforts and learning strategies. The Enterprise Academy offers a single point of contact for enterprise to access TU Dublin’s dynamic skills and learning ecosystem. Sector Conveners, a new role within higher education, offer deep sectoral expertise and knowledge of academic systems and processes to broker and support the development of accredited programmes and pathways with faculties. Our work is informed by the latest research and skills intelligence, as well as next-practice frameworks in cross-cutting themes such as mentoring, transversal skills and work-based learning.


At UCD, Convene is embedded within the UCD Innovation Academy. For more than a decade, the UCD Innovation Academy has practised and promoted experiential learning, multi-disciplinary collaboration and solving real world problems for real world organisations. Through Convene, the UCD Innovation Academy is building on this track record to pioneer innovative new methods of teaching and delivery and to pursue new models of enterprise partnership.

As a collaboration between Ireland’s two largest universities, there is tremendous potential for impact. Our partnership demonstrates the synergies between a research-intensive university and a Technological University within a regional innovation ecosystem, a dynamic that is relevant to Cork, Limerick and Galway in Ireland as well as other areas in the EU and across the world. We are working to address both culture change and system change within Irish higher education. We share our learnings in a commitment to improving higher education for all.

Highlight interesting collaborations / partnerships

Convene’s first major collaboration, the co-design and launch of the UCD–TU Dublin Joint Professional Diploma in Transversal Skills took place in 2020 as an agile response to unemployment, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors, caused by the Covid pandemic and lockdowns. The programme was co-designed and co-delivered by UCD and TU Dublin under their Convene partnership drawing on both institutions’ complementary expertise and industry reach. The joint nature of the diploma was the first of its kind between the two institutions – now Ireland’s two largest universities – and an exemplar for future collaborative programmes. Designed by the Convene team, the programme was first funded under the government’s July stimulus package. In 2020/21 there were 1105 registrations of interest for 100 places on this course.

Convene’s work in the area of Transversal Skills continues at UCD through Global Innovation Teams, a unique educational model involving multi-disciplinary teams of students working on ‘real world’ enterprise challenges with the support of enterprise mentors with expanded themes including sustainability and digital resilience. At TU Dublin, innovations to future-proof existing students and facilitating enterprise engagement include enterprise challenges and the development of scalable frameworks for cross-disciplinary themes such as mentoring, design thinking and career skills.


UCD partnered with Cappfinity, a global strengths assessment enterprise to design and launch Virtual Reality for Future Skills, the first undergraduate module of its kind globally that teaches learners transversal skills through the medium of Virtual Reality. The programme combines technological and pedagogical innovation, drawing on Cappfinity’s industry insights into the future of work. While VR is increasingly common as a training tool, it is yet to be explored as a medium for experiential learning – this module is the first to do so, incorporating UCD Innovation Academy’s ten years facilitating experiential learning and transversal skills with new technology, all designed around current enterprise needs.

Provide a brief summary of the project’s key enterprise engagements to date

The Convene Enterprise Forum, which has taken place three times to-date, brings together high-profile government leaders, policy experts, academics and other stakeholders for discussion on issues relevant to enterprise. Free to attend, the Forum provides engagement opportunities between our enterprise partners and University staff, as well as a networking platform. Topics to-date have included skills for sustainability, the future of work and university-enterprise cooperation.


A Unique Sector-Focused Approach


A showcase of TU Dublin’s sectoral approach is our partnership with Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland. The collaboration builds on a deep history of engagement and includes a mix of accredited Work-Based Learning solutions that respond directly to the needs of industry. Programmes include Passport to Production, to attract new entrants and drive wider representation in the screen industry and Recognition of Prior Learning as a pathway for career professionals within the creative and cultural sector to gain accredited recognition for their skills learned on-the-job.


Addressing Key Drivers of Change: Sustainability and Digital Transformation


Revolution Farm is a pioneering collaboration combining technological, educational and entrepreneurial innovation. Revolution Farm is a sustainable micro enterprise that grows mushrooms from spent coffee grounds that are then turned into ragu, sold in jars in stores across Ireland. UCD partnered with Revolution Farm to set up Ireland’s first on campus circular economy micro-enterprise supported by student ‘sustainability explorer’ teams.


In an ongoing collaboration with Intel, TU Dublin adapted two online courses: Game Asset Design and Game Programming. The modules address Intel’s need to develop quick, safe and low-cost training solutions for new staff on expensive, high-end training equipment using immersive technologies to simulate the precise training requirements in a more efficient way. These stackable credits that will be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning when a TU Dublin Level 9 Post Graduate Diploma in Immersive Technologies launches in September 2023.

Project Showcase

Last updated: Monday 24 April 2023

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