gradireland Higher Education Awards & Symposium 2019

On Friday 22 November 2019, gradireland hosted the annual Higher Education Symposium & Awards at the Crowne Plaza Northwood Hotel in Santry, Dublin. This event, sponsored by MSD, Aldi, ESB, Jameson, Novartis, Musgrave and PwC, was attended by over 150 higher education professionals and stakeholders, making it one of our biggest Symposiums to-date. The event was focused on discussing the future of Higher Education in Ireland, exploring current international best practice and Irish and international research findings. Following the Symposium, the winners of the Higher Education Awards were revealed at a gala ceremony. 

Delegates arriving at the gradireland Higher Education Awards and Symposium

The Symposium 

The symposium commenced shortly after 10am with a welcome from gradireland Director Gavan O’Brien. The first presentation of the day was from Dr Denise Frawley , Head of Performance Evaluation at the Higher Education Authority who presented on the findings of the most recent HEA Graduate Outcomes Survey (Class of 2017), which surveyed nearly 30,000 graduates to understand what their next step was post-graduation.  

Next up was a moderated discussion with Ger Lardner, Career & Skills Consultant specialising in Doctoral Candidates in UCD and Dr Fiona Blighe, Scientific Programme Manager at Science Foundation Ireland, on PhD employability outcomes, new methods of developing PhD candidates and the introduction of Centres of Research Training. 

Following a coffee break delegates saw a remote presentation from Amsterdam by Laura E. Rumbley, PhD (Associate Director, Knowledge Development & Research, European Association for International Education) on what does successful internationalisation look like in European higher education? The presentation covered what ways do financial considerations drive or hinder this process? In recent years, the need to answer these questions has become increasingly important. 

Dr Jorgensen providing his presentation remotely from Brussels to delegates

This was followed by another moderated discussion on strategies towards equality, diversity and inclusion at universities. This started with a remote presentation from Dr Thomas Ekman Jørgensen, Senior Policy Coordinator at the European University Association (EUA). Lewis Purser, Director of Learning & Teaching and Academic Affairs, followed this up with a presentation and discussion on the Irish context of diversity and graduate outcomes.  

The symposium concluded with a moderated discussion on Lifelong learning for lifelong employability with Róisín Donnelly, Head of learning development, College of Business, Technological University Dublin and Dr Maria Gallo, Director of the Centre for Lifelong at St. Angela’s College, Sligo, a College of the National University of Ireland, Galway.

We would like to thank all those who took part and brief biographies of the speakers at the symposium are available here

The Awards 

The afternoon saw the hosting of the gradireland Higher Education Awards, with awards across eight categories, the full shortlist is available here.

And the winners were…. 

Postgraduate Course of the Year in Computer Science & IT, sponsored by ESB 

Winner: University College Cork, MSc in Information Systems for Business Performance  

Postgraduate Course of the Year in Health Sciences sponsored by MSD Ireland 

The team from the MSc in Sports Performance at UL receiving their award. The award was presented by Paul Bacon, Global Talent Acquisition, MSD Ireland (second from left).

Winner: University of Limerick, MSc Sports Performance 

Postgraduate Course of the Year in Law sponsored by PwC 

The Masters in International and Comparative Business Law won the award in this category. The award was presented by Mark Cumisky, career and skills consultant, UCD.

Winner: NUI Galway, MSc in International and Comparative Business Law 

Postgraduate Course of the Year in Science, sponsored by Novartis 

The MsC in Climate Change landed the award for best course in the Science category, receiving it from Mairéad Lyons, Group Lead with Novartis (right).

Winner: Maynooth University, MSc Climate Change 

Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business, Finance & Management sponsored by Aldi 

The MSc in Computational Finance at UL won in this category. The award was presented by Hannah Condron, Personnel Development Manager for Aldi (right).

Winner: University of Limerick, MSc in Computational Finance 

Postgraduate Course of the year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences sponsored by Musgrave 

Trinity College Dublin was the winner in this category with their MPhil in Literary Translation and received their award from Siobháin Scanlon, Early Careers Manager for Musgrave (right).

Winner: Trinity College Dublin, MPhil in Literary Translation 

Best New Course sponsored by Jameson International Graduate Programme 

NUI Galway’s MSc in Cellular Manufacturing and Therapy was named best new course. The award was presented by Gillian Skinner, Marketing & Talent Specialist with the Jameson International Graduate Programme (right).

Winner: NUI Galway, MSc in Cellular Manufacturing and Therapy 

For more on postgraduate study and to find a course that suits you, click here.

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