Professor Andrew J Deeks
Placing higher education at the heart of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda offers unique benefits for companies.
Social responsibility is increasingly becoming a major focus of universities and businesses. By working together in partnership, academia and industry can have a greater impact on the social and economic wellbeing of the community and society.
Universities are at the forefront of knowledge creation and innovation. They play a vital role in developing the talents of future leaders, creators and influencers. A university education equips students with essential life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and teamwork. Universities also strive to create diverse communities supported by a culture of equality, inclusion and respect.
From the industry perspective, companies recognise that their success relies on the availability of a diverse, resilient and highly skilled workforce – and this has its roots in higher education. Building a strong talent pipeline starts with investing in the student experience and supporting equality of access to higher education. By partnering with universities, companies can ensure that students have the skills they need to adapt and thrive in the rapidly changing world of work.
Together, we are fostering exceptional talent and preparing our graduates to take their place as active and engaged global citizens.
Importance of corporate partnerships for the innovation economy
From human health and empowerment to sustainability and digital innovation, UCD is working with corporate partners to tackle some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Partnerships with business and industry are critical to the university’s success. These mutually beneficial partnerships maximise resources and expertise in the pursuit of shared goals.
“The engagement and philanthropic support of our corporate partners is hugely important for the university and for society more broadly,” says UCD President, Professor Andrew J Deeks. “Together, we are fostering exceptional talent and preparing our graduates to take their place as active and engaged global citizens.”
Companies across different sectors are shaping Ireland’s research landscape and increasing their knowledge capital by commissioning research via the prestigious Newman Fellowship Programme. The programme supports novel research by high-calibre postdoctoral Fellows across a host of disciplines, from clinical therapeutics and agricultural science to law, history and creativity.
Other companies are playing their part in knowledge advancement as philanthropic supporters of UCD Foundation’s Breakthrough Research Fund. This fund means that researchers can access critical resources to address urgent societal needs, as in the case of COVID-19 research. It also underpins the university’s preparedness to respond rapidly to emerging research challenges and opportunities.
Attracting a diverse and talented workforce
UCD offers many opportunities for companies to connect with talented students and support the development of the next generation of leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. These include funding access and postgraduate scholarships, supporting internship and mentoring programmes, delivering guest lectures, and sponsoring initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion and advance female leadership in STEM.
Companies benefit from these activities by building their brand awareness and reputation among students. The opportunity to participate in meaningful initiatives such as mentoring also increases employee engagement and satisfaction. For the university, such partnerships can enhance the diversity and vibrancy of the academic community, making it an attractive place to study and work.