TCD’s New Strategic Plan Update 2006 Aims to Join Top 50 World Universities

Posted on: 10 October 2006

Trinity College launched an updated Strategic Plan on October 9th last which sets out to maintain its internationally recognised position as a world leading university.

Last week the College was ranked as the 78th top university in the world and the 25th university in Europe by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) university league tables.

This plan¹ builds on the successes arising from the College’s first strategic plan 2003-2008. For example Trinity College’s Genetics Department is in the top 50 worldwide, the Immunology Department is in the top 3 worldwide, while its Neuroscience is in the top .01% and its publishing in Arts and Humanities is foremost in Ireland.

Launching the Plan, TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty stated:
“The recent academic restructuring of the College now lends itself to new levels of dynamism, cooperation and creativity. It allows for interdisciplinarity where research teams across a number of disciplines work together.

“Interdisciplinarity forms a key element in the College strategy for increasing Trinity’s international standing as a research-led university. Trinity has already developed significant international strength in its research in eight major themes. It is the College’s aim to become a world-class leader in at least one of these areas of research in the next 10 years. These research areas include: Globalisation; Ireland: Culture and the Creative Arts; Communications and Intelligent Systems; Nano and Materials Science; Immunology and Infection; Cancer; Genetics and Neuroscience. ²

“Trinity College also intends to take a lead role in forming collaborative agreements with other universities. ³ The Irish university sector must be mindful of the sector’s international competitiveness and not dissipate its resources by wasteful duplication of effort. Trinity must play a lead role in developing a collaborative programme that enhances the reputation of both the College and its partners, so that all can benefit and ultimately create real synergies where the whole is greater than the sum of parts.

“Trinity College is committed to providing world-leading undergraduate curriculum and teaching. Building on the success of the Broad Curriculum initiative, the curriculum will be broadened further to extend student choice.

“Trinity College’s revised strategy is reflective of national policy in advancing the new ‘Fourth level Ireland’ and the objective of doubling the number of PhDs across all disciplines by 2013 in order to move towards a knowledge-based economy. The College will be looking towards Government funding which becomes competitively available through the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI), the Strategic Innovation Fund and the recently announced Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. Trinity has also embarked on a major fundraising campaign to fund the implementation of the Plan.”

The Provost also highlighted that the overall level of public funding for undergraduate education was low and that the average student: staff ratio of 18:1 was high by international standards. It was an ongoing challenge for the College to provide high-quality research, teaching and infrastructural supports to staff and students.


Notes to the editor
1.Trinity’s headline actions planned in its Strategic Plan Update include:

The Recruitment of world-class leaders in research and education.
The Recruitment of approximately 225 high-calibre academic staff over the next five-years to support the increase in postgraduates by 1,000.

Undergraduate education strategy which aims to provide world-leading curriculum and teaching.
Undergraduate education will be revitalised by broadening the curriculum and developing high quality initiatives in academic practice and student learning support systems at Trinity’s Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning.The existing initiative, the Trinity Access Programme will be supported to improve access, inclusiveness and diversity.

Academic and Administrative Restructuring
The recent academic restructuring will be consolidated through the reshaping of the administrative and support areas and through the implementation of an eStrategy and associated information systems initiatives.

Infrastructural Expansion
Investment in key student and research facilities and in library and laboratory advances to accommodate the increase in postgraduate students and staff. This will involve additional library space, laboratories and equipment.

Other notes:
2. These areas of world-class research have emerged from four existing areas of interdisciplinary strands: Informatics, Mathematics and Computation; Business and Innovation; Ageing and Policy. In advancing these key areas of research further, the recruitment of world class leaders in research is essential.

3. The College has signed a number of strategic partnerships with NUI Galway in relation to the humanities and bioengineering; with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in relation to medicine and with UCC in relation to science and technology. It has also recently entered a cooperative venture with UCD, DCU, IT Sligo and IDA Ireland in the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) with the view to collaborative academic and industry research in bioprocessing technologies.