Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.04
Liaison Thomas Adams
Submission Date July 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

National University of Ireland, Galway
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jamie Goggins
Chair of Community University Sustainability Partnership Board
School of Engineering
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

NUIG engages in public policy and notable examples recently are the Galway Transport Strategy, the Nuns Island development and the Moycullen 2030 Village Plan.

Details on the Galway Transport Strategy can be perused here: https://www.galwaycity.ie/galway-transport-strategy.

Detail on the Nuns island development which sees NUIG collaborate with Galway City Council to design a Master plan are here: https://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/news-and-events/news-archive/2018/september2018/nui-galway-to-develop-plan-for-nuns-island-area-of-galway-city-with-galway-city-council.html.

Researchers from NUI Galway’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, together with Forbairt Pobail Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen Community Development Association), have developed a people powered plan for the future development of the village. The Moycullen 2030 Village Plan project was funded by the Irish Research Council. Link: https://www.moycullen2030.org

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

The current Regional Planning Guidelines have been prepared by the West Regional Authority for the period 2010 – 2022 and set out a vision for the region. The Guidelines state that NUIG Galway, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the University of Limerick have formed an alliance and have a combined strategy for the delivery of third level education in the West and Mid-West and will create centres of excellence to benefit the region. This strategy is recognised by the NWRA guidelines and illustrates the active public policy and strategy advocacy in this area. Please read more here: https://www.nwra.ie/wp-content/uploads/Planning-Guidelines-for-the-West-Region.pdf

An NUIG policy submission to an NWRA consultation is detailed in the NWRA report at the link below and illustrates NUIG advocating for policy on a Galway Light Rail System rather than the business as usual growth in car numbers. More here: https://www.nwra.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Directors-Report-on-Submissions-.pdf

NUIG has engaged with the planning of the Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy 2020-2032 educating and informing it. Selected NUIG researchers hosted strategic workshops and information sessions to prepare formal submissions to the Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy 2020-2032 (RSES) for the Northern and Western region. More information here: https://www.nwra.ie/rses/ .

NUIG researchers have delivered a Masterclass in Regional Development to stakeholders at the regional level. This is a bespoke programme that brings together senior regional stakeholders and policy thought leaders on various topics for more read here: https://www.nwra.ie/news/masterclass-in-regional-development/

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

NUIG engages with public policy at the national level and a number of examples are listed here.

Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, is on the Council (Board of Directors) of the Economic and Social Research Institute, which is confirmed on their website here: https://www.esri.ie/about-us/esri-governance . The ESRI is Ireland’s leading not-for-profit economic and social policy research institute. They are fully independent and their work is free of any expressed ideology or political position. “The ESRI produces independent, high-quality research with the objective of informing policies that support a healthy economy and promote social progress.” From its foundation in 1960, the Institute’s role has been to provide a strong, independent source of research evidence for policy and civil society in Ireland. Its mandate was that it would be funded by government and yet independent of government. This independence means that researchers have no fear of publishing research findings that do not provide support for government policy. Great care was taken to protect the Institute’s independence in setting up and revising the Institute’s governance structures over the years. Independence, objectivity and excellence remain core values of the ESRI and its researchers.

Saolta Hospital Group are a group of hospitals whose region covers one third of the land mass of Ireland, it provides health care to a population of 830,000, employs in excess of 10,000 employees, and has a budget in excess of €800 million. The Irish Government established an Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare providing a unique and historic opportunity to develop consensus on a long-term policy direction for Ireland’s healthcare system. Their task has been to consider how best to ensure that, in future, everyone has access to an affordable, universal, single-tier healthcare system, in which patients are treated promptly on the basis of need, rather than ability to pay. The Committee has worked tirelessly in its consideration of the national and international evidence, through public hearings, facilitated workshops and in-depth consideration of the evidence. The Committee has published its report called - Committee on the Future of Healthcare, Sláintecare Report. The Saolta Hospital Group have worked directly with the committee making a number of submissions to the report, more evidence here on pages 170, 171 and 172: https://assets.gov.ie/22609/e68786c13e1b4d7daca89b495c506bb8.pdf . Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, President of NUI Galway is a board member of the non-statutory board of the Saolta Hospital Group, more here: https://www.saolta.ie/content/board-members . He is also the Chair of its Strategy Committee, more here: https://www.saolta.ie/content/board-members)

In July 2021 NUI Galway launched a new publicly available online learning hub to promote educational and information resources on sexual consent. The online learning hub was launched by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, as part of a Government policy to improve the understanding on the meaning of, and importance of, consent in sexual activity. The Ministers policy was to shine a light on this NUIG exemplar initiative as a policy tool for other institutions. This initiative built on the work of the pioneering Active Consent research team in NUI Galway. Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, President of NUI Galway said, "NUI Galway is delighted to partner with the Department of Justice and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science on this excellent initiative. At the heart of NUI Galway’s values are respect and openness. By championing respect and openness through initiatives such as the Consent Information Hub, we can have a profound and sustainable transformative impact on society. We look forward to supporting this initiative and all who participate." More information here: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR21000177 and https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40701086.html

Our NUIG president Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, chairs the Irish Universities Association, more information here: https://www.iua.ie/about/council/ . The IUA strongly endorsed the above NUIG policy as part of their remit, more information here: https://activeconsent.usi.ie . A number of other institutions in Ireland have since duplicated this and examples are: (1) the Cork Institute of Technology, more information here: https://www.cit.ie/edi.active-consent and (2) the University of Limerick, more information here: https://www.ul.ie/equality-diversity-inclusion/activeconsent-training .

Examples of the IUA directly lobbying government for third level funding amongst other things are plentiful. As part of this Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, the chair of the IUA and the president of NUI Galway said: “An Taoiseach and the Minister have given their strong support for increased investment in education and research as the bedrock of Ireland’s continuing development as a society and sustained competitiveness as an economy….. For this generation of students, it is imperative that this generation of political leadership now act on the recommendations from that study consistent with the commitments in the Programme for Government and make a step-change investment in the sector in Budget 2022 after decades of under-funding”. More evidence here: https://universitytimes.ie/2021/09/iua-calls-for-e900m-package-for-third-level-in-budget-2022/

In April 2021, an NUI Galway Domestic Violence Leave Policy was agreed by the University Management Team. The purpose of NUI Galway's Domestic Violence Leave Policy is to provide for a period of paid time away from work for staff members who have suffered or are suffering from domestic violence or abuse. The Domestic Violence Leave Policy places NUI Galway as a leader in the sector, recognising that Higher Education Institutions are not only institutions of learning that contribute to knowledge on deep-rooted social problems such as domestic violence; they are equally places of work committed to creating a safe and respectful working environment that promotes dignity and wellbeing of all members of their communities. The Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris who launched the policy said: “The introduction of the Domestic Violence Leave Policy at NUI Galway marks a critical step forward in ensuring that Higher Education Institutions are safe and supportive workplaces. I really want to commend NUI Galway for this important work and I hope it will be the first of many institutions to adopt such a policy.” https://universitytimes.ie/2021/05/nui-galway-to-launch-domestic-violence-leave-policy . The Minister efforts have enhanced policy adoption, and evidence can be seen here: https://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/english-creative-arts/news/launch-of-start-here-active-consent.html

The Irish Universities Association under the chairmanship of the NUIG president launch many sustainability initiatives as policy implementation examples for other institutions. One example is Campus Living Labs, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, built a project aimed at reducing waste and increasing recycling on IUA University campuses, more information here: https://www.iua.ie/press-releases/campus-living-labs-sustainability-project-sees-universities-and-the-environmental-protection-agency-working-together-to-reduce-waste-on-campus/ . The Director General of the IUA said: “The IUA is excited to partner with EPA on this joint initiative to improve the sustainability of University campuses by reducing waste and improving recycling through innovative interventions. Irish universities will join in their efforts to make Irish campuses more sustainable in line with our national goals.’’ This is an example of the NUIG President and IUA chair advocating policy that leads by example whereby lighthouse green lab projects lead the way for other laboratories, more information here: https://www.iua.ie/press-releases/campus-living-labs-sustainability-project-sees-universities-and-the-environmental-protection-agency-working-together-to-reduce-waste-on-campus/ .

Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh is also a board member of the National Library of Ireland on the appointment of the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, more here: https://www.nli.ie/en/the-board.aspx

Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, the chair of the IUA and the president of NUI Galway has gone before the Oireachtas Higher Education Committee on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic requesting more resources for students in need, more evidence here:

Through his chairmanship The Irish Universities Association established the Enhancing Digital Capacity in Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities project. This is a national programme bringing together seven universities with the high-level aim of enhancing the digital attributes and educational experiences of Irish university students by enabling the mainstreamed and integrated use of digital technologies across the teaching and learning process. Through professional development the intention is to empower all staff who teach and support learning to build digital competence and confidence, and thus become the drivers and key enablers of change themselves. More here:

Professor Jim Livesey (Vice-President for Research and Innovation, NUI Galway) is Chair of the Vice-Presidents of Research sectoral group in Ireland and in this role he has advocated to the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science as part of the development of the national research strategy to redirect strategy to sustainability through challenge funding mechanisms. This has been the work of many hands but we already see the results of that thinking in the budget provision for SDG-focused challenges and the explicit citation of this approach to research in the National Development Plan. Professor Livesey said: “I’ve admired the creativity and quality of the research here (NUIG) for many years. The values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence that animate the university are solid foundations on which to build research of global significance, with national and regional impact. I look forward to working with the research teams in the university as well as regional, national, and international partners as we identify where Galway can make the greatest contribution to research across the domains.” More information here, https://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/news-and-events/news-archive/2021/march/nui-galway-announce-the-appointment-of-new-vice-president-for-research-and-innovation.html

Professor Jim Livesey (Vice-President for Research and Innovation, NUI Galway) is Chair of the Vice-Presidents of Research sectoral group in Ireland and under his chairmanship they have developed a set of briefing points for the research managers when speaking with civil servants and members of the Oireachtas to advance the request for consistent multi-year funding for research into sustainability strategies.

The Climate Research Coordination Group (CRCG) was established under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2014–2020 Research Strategy. The CRCG acts to coordinate climate change-related research in Ireland. It does so by supporting and promoting collaboration between relevant research funding organisations and by providing a forum for the exchange of information on activities and plans. A key objective is to advance shared strategic objectives for climate change research and ensure coherence in climate change research investments in Ireland as well as effective linking of these to European Union funding streams. CRCG meetings are facilitated by the EPA. Its membership is made up of departmental officials, local authority representatives, state agencies and bodies, and stakeholders, who either fund or use outputs from climate change research. NUIG work on developments related to the National Climate Research Infrastructure. The Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change (AC3) and AEROSOURCE networks are composed of the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) network, the AEROSOURCE network for chemical speciation of aerosols and the GHG monitoring network. In 2020, the EPA agreed a new contract with NUIG in the operation and maintenance of this research infrastructure. Link evidence is provided by both the (1) EPA and (2) the Climate Action Regional Offices, here:
(1) https://www.epa.ie/publications/research/climate-change/Climate_Research_Coordination_Group_3rd_Report_on_Activities_July_2021_final.pdf
(2) https://www.caro.ie/getattachment/Projects-Research/Research/EPA-Research-159-Ensemble-of-regional-climate (7)/Climate_Research_Coordination_Group_3rd_Report_on_Activities.pdf.aspx?lang=en-GB

The Whitaker Institute’s academics, reports and data have extensively informed the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s National Remote Working Strategy published in January 2021 entitled Making Remote Work. This recent impact of NUIG’s policy is referenced on page 10, 12, 13, 16, 22 of this government report: https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Making-Remote-Work.pdf

The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit in NUIG was a member of the Marine Protected Area Advisory Group for the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and chaired the economic, social and cultural perspectives section of the Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network report published by the Department in 2021. More can be read here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/135a8-expanding-irelands-marine-protected-area-network/
The state of Ireland’s housing has rightly attracted considerable attention in recent years. Homelessness, lack of affordability, poor-quality or generally unsuitable accommodation are problems that face many thousands of our citizens, despite a return to strong economic growth. Related to this NUIG academics form part of the expert panel membership for Engineers Ireland State of Ireland 2019 Report. This review of housing and infrastructure in Ireland and can be reviewed here: https://www.engineersireland.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=SHtzZx9nDDg%3D&portalid=0&resourceView=1

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

NUI Galway has signed the SDG Accord, demonstrating our commitment at an institutional level to embed the SDGs into our education, research, leadership, operations, administration and engagement activities. More can be read on this here:

The SDG Accord annually conducts international SDG policy advocacy on behalf of its signatories at the UN High Level Political Forum. Through its report the SDG Accord presents its review of progress across the SDGs for its alliance who aspire to lead by example on the SDGs. This is international promotion of the SDGs and activism on the SDGs at the highest political scale and occurs annually until 2030. As the UN has 193 country members this illustrates that the SDG Accord currently conducts international policy advocacy on behalf of its signatories and will increasingly do so in the future. More can be read here: https://www.sdgaccord.org/files/the_sdg_accord_un_high_political_forum_doc_-_interactive.pdf

NUI Galway also signed up to the Athena SWAN charter in 2015 and identified the attainment of an Athena SWAN Bronze award as a key priority in Vision 2020, the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. NUI Galway achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze award in April 2018. More on this public policy is here:

A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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