A Message from NCI President Gina Quin
Foreword by the Chairman of the Governing Body Fr. Leonard Moloney, SJ
2018/19 was an award-filled year for National College of Ireland, earning four QS Stars, receiving three Education Awards, including Overall Excellence in Education, and many academic achievements of faculty and students. Such acknowledgments are important. For all those in NCI striving to achieve our mission to change lives through education, external validation is not just gratifying, but assures us that our hard work has real world value. As we continue to grow and seek to expand our campus, objective confirmation of the impact of NCI is of particular importance, especially as contained within the fruit of each award is a seed of what comes next: what could be improved, what could be built upon, what potential can be further realised. This past year has seen National College of Ireland prosper. A healthy financial surplus has been driven by academic innovation, continued strong reputation, growing student numbers and excellent management. At the same time, the academic and support teams have increased to serve the growing body of students who have chosen NCI as their third-level step to future fulfilment. The College continues to significantly impact educational disadvantage in Dublin’s inner city through its Early Learning Initiative. Consistent growth achieved over time, has been carefully cultivated by NCI in measured response to emerging education and industry needs. The College has seen an increase in research and publications, stronger relationships with academic and industry peers and, most importantly, graduates going out into the world equipped to reach their full potential. In 2018/19 the College reached a decisive point: NCI needs room to deepen its roots here in the heart of the IFSC and extend its support to learners and the economy at large. As a living intersection between community, education and business, growth at NCI promotes consonant growth locally and nationally. The College is actively seeking an expansion of its physical footprint to allow further impact on learners and our community. NCI’s Early Learning Initiative (ELI) is a shining example of the College’s commitment to change lives through education and to reach out to its community. In 2018/19, ELI made almost 9,000 interventions with children and families living in disadvantaged areas. Weaving partnerships with government, donors and business, ELI has dramatically improved the educational outcomes and aspirations of hundreds of children, and has shared best practice in the areas of early years’ education and restorative practice locally, nationally and internationally. 2018 saw two important anniversaries for the College; ELI celebrated its 10th birthday and the School of Computing celebrated its 20th anniversary of commencing programmes in computing and technology. Together with our School of Business, our Psychology and Learning and Teaching programmes, Springboard and professional apprenticeship programmes, and our academic research, these anniversaries have offered plenty of opportunity to excel in our chosen areas of academic excellence. I am proud to chair the Governing Body of this College that serves so many: those who may be the first in their family to attend third-level, those returning to study after a long break, developing skills in a changing world, those who are taking a second chance at education, and those young people coming to college for the first time. I would like to thank my fellow members of the Governing Body and I look forward to continuing to work with our President, Gina Quin and all the team at NCI.
NCI at a glance
College News
July 2018 Celebrations of the Early Learning Initiatives 10th anniversary continue, as ELI grows and thrives. The school of computing continues its 20th anniversary celebrations. The school is now one of the largest computing schools in Ireland with leading edge programmes in the areas of Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Fintech, Software Development and Cybersecurity. A July briefing by Senator Terry Leyden (vice-chairperson of the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs) to the School of Computing MSc classes formed the basis of a competition for the students. The winning project of innovative solutions to cross-border trade between Ireland and UK post-Brexit, was presented later in the year by Chris Gaffney, Pramit Kumar and Anudeep Yalamuru to members of the Oireachtas at the Dáil. The solution presented utilises Blockchain and QR Code technologies to create frictionless border transit solutions. It later featured in an article in The Irish Times, offering advice to businesses on the kind of technologies they need to be aware of in order to prepare for Brexit: AUGUST 2018 Dr Vivien Byers joins the School of Business as Vice Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Research. Professor Christos Grecos joins the School of Computing as Vice Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Research Dee McKiernan joins Learning & Teaching to take on the role of Manager of Student Counselling Service. Dee will further develop our existing supports for student mental health and wellness. Faye McGinley moved from the School of Business Office to Learning & Teaching, as our new Education Engagement and Retention Officer. SEPTEMBER 2018 NCI welcomes Dr Meghan Marrero as a Fulbright Scholar for the autumn term. Meghan is a Professor of Science Education at Mercy College in New York, where she is also Co-Director of the Center for STEM Education. In her time at NCI, Meghan will work with the Early Learning Initiative to provide family learning opportunities around science and engineering for parents and their young children, and conduct research on these interventions. Meghan will also collaborate with Learning and Teaching faculty to host an event for further education educators this fall. OCTOBER 2018 Two new programmes launched by Learning and Teaching: Certificate in Technology and Learning  Certificate in Technology Enhanced Learning  Additionally, Learning and Teaching launched short-programmes to develop technology and learning skills for ETB professionals, developed with SOLAS The School of Computing International Advisory board member Prof Armando Fox (University of California, Berkeley) visited NCI and delivered a lecture on the future trends in computing and online learning. NOVEMBER 2018 National College of Ireland becomes the first third-level partner in the government’s P-TECH intiative Dr Leo Casey is appointed to the Board of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Dr Meera Oke presented at the 29th annual conference of European Early Childhood Education and Research Association in Thessaloniki, with her colleague Professor Nóirín Hayes from Trinity College Dublin. The paper, entitled Burnout and work-life experience of Irish Early Childcare Educators – Implications for Policy and Practice, was very warmly received. NCI researchers Katarina Filipovic and Jonathan Lambert also contributed to this paper. DECEMBER 2018 December brought an early Christmas present for our International Department, who achieved an award of 4 QS Stars, a high rating that shows NCI as a strong player in international higher education rankings. Overall: 4 Stars Teaching: 3 Stars Employability: 5 Stars Research: 1 Stars Internationalization: 4 Stars Facilities: 5 Stars Social Responsibility: 5 Stars Inclusiveness: 5 Stars Specialist Criteria (Program Strength): Accounting & Finance, 3 Stars JANUARY 2019 The collaboration continued between the Learning and Teaching department at NCI and the Early Learning Initiative in contributing to the EU Erasmus+ Literacy Project Making Literacy Meaningful, FEBRUARY 2019 NCI swept the board at Education Awards – Best Marketing Team, Best Careers Service, and Overall Education Award. MARCH 2019 NCI School of Computing won the first and second prizes at the annual All Ireland Citi upStart event on March 6, 2019. It is interesting to note that NCI has won the prize now for three years in a row with strong competition from universities all over Ireland. The universities in the final round competing were Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and Queen’s University Belfast. The EMEA CTO of Citi Mr Nathan O’Reilly while congratulating NCI highlighted that “NCI is blazing a trail”. The first prize (SOLAR-BOT) is won by a team of students from MSc Cybersecurity programme. SOLAR-BOT is an automated robotic system to clean the solar panels in a power plant. The second prize (DR Eye Scan) is won by a joint team consisting of MSc Data Analytics and MSc Cloud Computing students. DR Eye Scan combines Data Science, Machine learning, Mobile App Development and 3D modelling to make a cost-effective solution to augment at home health monitoring, clinical eye check-ups and state level health programmes. Big Data EU funded project: Dr Adriana Chis (Investigator) and Dr Horacio Gonzalez Velez (co-Investigator) have secured CHIST-ERA Award (total project 1.1 million and NCI share is 148.5K) as Principal Investigator. Dr Simon Caton is also also a co-Investigator in the project. The project is entitled "Smart Pharmaceutical Manufacturing". The project is worth 1.1 M EUR with 5 partners in Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland (148.5K for NCI). This will help in further development of data science research capacity in the school. APRIL 2019 AI & Machine Learning funded project: Dr Anu Sahni (PI) and Dr Pramod Pathak (co-PI) have been awarded Innovation Partnership programme funding from Enterprise Ireland. This funding has been awarded to work with Glantus Ltd to research and develop a recommender system and credit model. This further strengthens our position in applied research & innovation in emerging areas (AI & Machine Learning). The project is for 12 months and total award is € 212,178. Maria Montilla, final year BA(H) Psychology won the best overall undergraduate poster presentation award at the recent PSI Student Congress.In addition, Aqsa Anjum received a highly commended for his work.Over 200 students representing all universities were present, so this was a wonderful achievement for the students but also further validation of the quality of the Psychology programme here at NCI. NCI hosted the International Blockchain Standards Committee at the end of month. School of Computing associate faculty Mr Vikas Sahni is on the board of the standards committee for the blockchain. For the second year, NCI proudly played host to the Generation Apprenticeship competition. MAY 2019 Instead of a thesis, NCI ‘s Marketing Practice degree students undertook a Capstone Project, requiring them to set up, promote and operate a real Shopify Business, with the support of Gary Mullen from Shopify. They then setup stands in the Atrium of the College, to showcase their businesses to family and friends, NCI staff and potential employers. The Annual KTI Knowledge Transfer Showcase for graduating degree students from the School of Computing was once again a roaring success. Congratulations to Daniel Devine who won the Overall Prize for best project, sponsored by Citi, for his project Spirobot. JUNE 2019 The Early Learning Initiative hosted a Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) Study Day at NCI, along with 10 conference presentations; 10 journal/report/book chapter publications; 4 research projects and 3 community newsletters. ELI and NCI’s Newton team collaborated to provide children in Dublin’s Docklands a Technology Enhanced Learning Experience. Pupils from Central Model Primary School attended NCI in June, for a hands-on session. Children were subsequently assessed both on what they had learned (subjects covered included the Solar System and Wildlife), as well as their response to learning with technology. National College of Ireland (NCI) is a partner in the NEWTON Project - a large EU Horizon 2020 Innovation Action project which involves 14 partners from 7 countries. NCI contributes with innovative learning pedagogical methods, educational material for STEM subjects and deployment of the pilots. NCI’s interdepartmental Research Committee, led by Dr Cristina Hava-Muntean, organised a Research Day, where academics from the many disciplines represented across the College shared their current research. A very successful event, this day not only allowed fresh insight into the work of colleagues, but revealed new opportunities for collaboration.


Senator Terry Leyden visited NCI to challenge MSc students in the School of Computing to devise the most frictionless plan possible for cross-border trade post-Brexit

Professor Armando Fox, University of California, Berkeley, visited NCI in his capacity as a member of the Cloud Competency Centre’s International Board

Colm Burke being interviewed for The Irish Independent

Generation Apprenticeship competition launch

Gary Mullen of Shopify at NCI’s Marketing

Graduate Project Showcase

Daniel Devine and Spirobot – Overall Winner at KTI Project Showcase 2019

NCI Research Day

Newton at NCI


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NCI Graduation, November 2018 at Dublin Convention Centre
Annual Report 2018-2019
This last year has seen NCI move from strength to strength, The College is in a healthy academic and financial position and we continue to work hard to ensure our programmes remain relevant in a highly competitive market. The College consistently achieves very high levels of graduate employment (98% of NCI graduates gain employment), a testament to the quality of our graduates and our teaching. We are firmly committed to our unique NCI ethos; the warmth of the College staff, delivering a friendly and supportive college environment that helps our students to excel both academically and in their personal well-being. This is a credit to everyone here at NCI! Thanks to all! Achieving academic excellence and innovation is at the heart of NCI’s academic approach to all programmes, in computing, psychology, learning and teaching, business or HR, finance or apprenticeships. In 2018 NCI celebrated 10 years of the Early Learning Initiative (ELI), which continues to work to prevent educational disadvantage through structured programmes with families, children and schools. ELI knits NCI into the fabric of our local community and seeks to increase the educational capital of Dublin’s inner city. This year, we also marked the 20th anniversary of the School of Computing. From its establishment, the School of Computing has been responsive to developments in ICT, serving students, honing their talents and critical thinking to form knowledgeable, skilled professionals. The School has forged strong sectoral links, collaborating with other academic institutes, working closely with employers and government bodies to address the skills gap in emerging technologies, and bringing valuable research opportunities to the College. The School of Computing is guided by an International Board of world leading academics in the field of technology, and NCI was delighted to welcome these International Board Members to the College in 2018. Our School of Business continues to deliver excellent programmes, ensuring our pedagogic expertise is underpinning our learner experiences and driving research activity and publications. Business disciplines, HR, psychology and strong Postgraduate delivery including our MBA programme, are all part of our dynamic learning opportunities for both full and part-time students. NCI is growing in terms of faculty, student body and ambition, and is operating in surplus. The College is ready to grow in size, and is actively planning for expansion. Credit for NCI’s success must be shared by our academic staff, our administrative teams, student support, facilities teams, and the expertise and commitment of our voluntary Governing Body members. It is a privilege to lead a team working together to meet our next challenge: to expand our campus, enabling us to better elaborate our mission to change lives through education. Gina Quin President, NCI
NCI at the 2019 Education Awards