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Research and Innovation

Researcher studies source material

Research and Innovation

Goal Owners

  • Vice President for Research and Innovation

1.1 Implement the UCC Futures framework, informed by smart specialisation and the UN SDGs.

  1. Position UCC’s research activities within the ten inclusive and interdisciplinary themes of the UCC Futures framework. This will support researchers to compete successfully for funding and drive innovative, solution-focused research.
  2. Embed impact mapping in our research ecosystem so that all researchers can articulate the links between their research and global grand challenges via the  framework of the UN SDGs. Prioritise research where UCC can have maximum impact.
  3. Develop enabling structures for academic staff to prioritise research and dissemination of quality research publication outputs in high-impact peer-reviewed journals.
  4. Develop research and innovation excellence criteria that reflect the diversity of research outputs, providing for discipline-specific articulation of achievement and success.
  5. Ensure maximum societal, cultural and economic impact through active cross-disciplinary collaboration with our communities, across the city and region, nationally and internationally.

1.2 Improve strategic hiring, retention and development of our people at all career stages, supported by a research ecosystem and career framework.

  1. Use a strategic hiring approach under the UCC Futures thematic areas where all new academic hires demonstrate the potential to achieve prestigious funding awards such as European Research Council (ERC) or equivalent.
  2. Supporting the enhanced excellence agenda, increase the number of ERC awards secured by UCC researchers.
  3. Collaborate closely with key stakeholders to inform and shape national/EU research funding ecosystem policy and strategy
  4. Revise the Research Overhead Allocation policy and establish a Strategic Research Fund.
  5. Deliver a Digital Enablement programme to leverage better data and infrastructure that supports institutional strategic objectives across the research lifecycle.

1.3 Increase PhD enrolment numbers, enhance the research student experience, and embed research and innovation into our curriculum.

  1. Inform and influence the reform of state supports for PhD researchers.
  2. Develop and execute an action plan to grow the number of doctoral students and fellowships.
  3. Prioritise structured PhD programmes in signature areas of excellence that can be developed at scale.
  4. Enhance the experience of PhD students through structured programmes, enhanced support of supervisors and increased opportunity for practice-based PhDs. Mentoring and supervision programmes, tracked and informed by the Research Administration Project (RAP), will be embedded and aligned with our Graduate Attributes Programme (GAP).
  5. Ensure research excellence, particularly that demonstrated through UCC Futures, is embedded within our curriculum offerings, enabling UCC students to experience a comprehensive, research-informed education.

1.4 Transform UCC’s research culture through the implementation of engaged research and open research, underpinned by academic integrity, and ethical and responsible practice.

  1. Launch UCC’s first Research Charter, driving research culture change to develop and implement a holistic research and innovation environment.
  2. Develop policies and mechanisms to support the effective dissemination of research expertise and maximise impact by taking a coordinated, holistic approach to embedding principles and practices of open research.
  3. Actively support staff and students to embrace a range of rigorous research approaches and methodologies that share a common interest in collaborative engaged research 'with' and 'within' society, such as Public Patient Involvement, Inclusion Health, Evidence for Public Policy and Citizen Science. Enhance public outreach efforts on our research initiatives, both in collaborative engaged research and otherwise, in the pursuit of improving community engagement with research and its practical applications.
  4. Provide supports to ensure FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data stewardship.
  5. Ensure that the environment in UCC supports the conduct of research to the highest ethical standards, and that UCC researchers are appropriately trained.
  6. Enhance research excellence and impact by integrating equality, diversity and inclusion into the design, execution and monitoring of research activity.

1.5 Create an innovation culture and entrepreneurial campus, underpinned by an ethos of creativity and discovery.

  1. Increase our knowledge exchange measures through strategic alignment with the UCC Futures framework. Significantly increase the number of spin-out companies arising from UCC research, creating employment, engaging enterprise and driving investment in the university sector.
  2. Create an Entrepreneur in Residence programme to enhance the impact of our research and innovation, as well as the creation of new ventures, products and services for societal benefit. Create a new student Entrepreneurship/ Start-up Hub within the existing university infrastructure.
  3. Establish an externally facing business engagement unit to strengthen engagement with key sectors and enhance commercial activity, particularly with indigenous enterprise.
  4. Be inclusive of a broad range of creative contributions from performance and composition to discovery and invention, strengthening knowledge exchange and cross-disciplinary research collaboration.
  5. Align the south/southwest hospitals research framework with that of the University to support the development of an Academic Health Sciences System.
  6. Work with external stakeholders, including local authorities, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, to play a leading role in the economic development of Cork as an innovation region, including through the development of UCC’s city centre campus, Cork Science and Innovation Park, and the embedding of the Cork Innovation Corridor concept into national plans as they develop for innovative cities.

About Goal One: Research and Innovation

Deliver impactful research and innovation that addresses global grand challenges in signature areas of excellence through the UCC Futures framework, resulting in a  distinctive research reputation. 

Our ambition is to be the leading university in Ireland for research and innovation, based on a reputation for discovery, research integrity and sustainability. We will prioritise addressing global grand challenges through the lens of the UN SDGs and the UCC Futures framework.

The UCC Futures framework is an ambitious programme that aims to radically transform how we carry out research at UCC. To drive change, we must also embrace it by transforming our methodologies and work practices. Focusing on ten interdisciplinary themes drawing on expertise in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, we will adopt a holistic approach, linking education, research and knowledge exchange, to develop solutions focused on global grand challenges. The imperative to translate research and knowledge into innovative, equitable and sustainable solutions that deliver value and impact in real-world contexts has never been greater. Reflecting this, we will prioritise engaged and open research practices, set in a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Transformation of the research ecosystem under UCC Futures will be complemented by strategies to attract and retain the talent to augment our expertise and capacity to deliver research excellence. We will focus on increasing the number of research active staff and doctoral candidates in the key thematic areas of UCC Futures, and implementing a research-informed curriculum. Establishing cohesion between research and innovation and our curriculum will foster UCC’s reputation for excellence in strategic areas.

The imperative to translate research and knowledge into innovative, equitable and sustainable solutions that deliver value and impact in real-world  contexts has never been greater.


Our Research and Innovation measures of success will include securing €130 million from Horizon Europe funding programmes by 2028, and an additional 20 European Research Council (ERC) awards. We will work with government in their review and reform of supports for PhD students, with a view to significantly increasing the number of doctoral candidates we enrol each year. We will focus on increasing overall scholarly output across all publication types by 10% per annum and where more than 65% of all publications are open access by 2028. A priority will be the achievement of our research commercialisation targets under the Knowledge Transfer Ireland framework. We will have further measures of success which will be developed over the course of the implementation of this plan and will be informed by evolving national strategy and our own ambition.

President's Office

Oifig an Uachtaráin

East Wing, Main Quadrangle, Western Road , Cork T12 K8AF