Our Five-Year Focus

Research and Impact

Maynooth University will position itself as a globally recognised leader in research excellence. We will achieve this by being clear about our research focus, leveraging our existing research and building new areas of expertise relevant to addressing contemporary and future challenges. We will foster the development of new knowledge and ideas across all disciplines and support the development of open scholarship practices.


We will empower our research community to imagine and create better futures for all.

We will invest in people, systems and infrastructure to support research. We will be bold in promoting our research accomplishments. We will take a structured approach to capturing excellence and impact. We will empower our research community to imagine and create better futures for all.

Enhancing and supporting our research excellence and capacity

We will build on our long history of research excellence across a wide range of disciplines, fostering the development of knowledge and open research practices. We will enable reflection on ideas and the use of imagination to develop new insights, being forward looking, creative and innovative.

To achieve our research goals, we recognise the importance of being a university of choice for students, staff and partners. We will build a dynamic and supportive research environment to foster collaboration and high-quality outcomes. We will enhance our international focus through partnerships and networks. We will establish a new Distinguished International Collaborator Programme to further augment our reputation for excellence and impact.

We will invest in identifying, attracting, developing and retaining excellent staff and students from diverse backgrounds. We will adopt an inclusive, data-informed approach to talent recruitment and development from PhD student to Professor. We will develop our research staff at all career stages with appropriate support, including providing opportunities for leadership development, research leave and global mobility.

We will develop our current and future leaders to advance disciplinary, interdisciplinary and engaged research in support of our goals.


Focusing on ‘Beacons’ of research excellence

We will attain a critical volume of research excellence in defined research areas, whilst maintaining the ethos of research as a broad, collaborative and inclusive endeavour. We will focus our investment on these defined research areas, interdisciplinary research and strategic funding alignment. Our interdisciplinary research beacons will be focused on:

  • Data and Digital Transformation
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Heritage, Culture and Language
  • Society and Public Policy
  • Sustainability and Climate Change.

We will build further capacity and performance in high-quality research and strengthen external partnerships. We will align our research beacons with national and European funding priorities to ensure that we are at the forefront of leading innovation and securing a sustainable research environment. We will build on our existing strong research structures to expand our capacity to support research excellence. We will gather further interdisciplinary momentum through establishing Futures Institutes focused on data and digital transformation, health and wellbeing, and sustainability and climate change. We will be recognised for excellence and impact through national and international benchmarks and indicators of progress and esteem.

Supporting our research students and early career researchers

Investing in the future of research is investing in the next generation of research talent. We will focus on significant growth in research student numbers by creating a vibrant and supportive environment, including the provision of enhanced scholarships. We will provide research students and early career researchers with opportunities for engaging in the academic, practitioner and professional communities for personal and professional development.

We will establish a Graduate Research Academy to provide a supportive community for our students and early career researchers. We will provide training in research skills, research engagement, and in skills that are transferrable beyond academia. The Graduate Research Academy will bring early career researchers from across the University together for professional and social connection and support. We will work in partnership with the research student community to enhance their learning and broader experience. We will connect our students with our alumni and other partners to create opportunities beyond the University and following graduation.


We will establish a Graduate Research Academy to provide a supportive community for our students and early career researchers.

Building research recognition

The research we undertake is valuable, has integrity and should be widely known. We will be bold in communicating and promoting our research successes.

We will promote research achievements both internally and externally through enhanced communications, appropriate training, and through greater external engagement and a broader programme of research promotion activities. We will engage strategically with national, European, and global research collaborators and enhance recognition through key indicators of research esteem.

Capturing excellence and demonstrating impact and innovation

The enhancement of our research capabilities requires us to take a structured approach. We will establish frameworks to support, capture and evaluate research excellence, impact and innovation in diverse formats. We will refer to national and international benchmarks to understand our research performance and to invest strategically in our future success.

We will facilitate external engagement for real-world impact by strengthening mutually beneficial partnerships with enterprise, industry, government and the community. We will work with stakeholders nationally to support commercialisation and engagement by enterprise and industry with universities. To amplify our international footprint, we will proactively engage in the global rankings process.

Our Goal: To be recognised for the excellence and impact of our research.

We will achieve this by:

Investing in beacons of interdisciplinary research excellence and focusing our research to align with national, European and international priorities

Implementing a strategy for identifying, attracting, developing and retaining the best staff and students, including the establishment of a Graduate Research Academy

Implementing a strategy for advancing research achievement through collaboration and partnerships, including the establishment of a new Distinguished International Collaborator Programme

Developing frameworks for research support and for capturing, evaluating and enhancing research excellence and impact

We will monitor our progress by:

Assessing our performance on key research metrics and impact

Growth in our research student cohort and the impact of our students and staff in national and international arenas

The quality of our research collaborations and partnerships and their positive impact on society

The evaluation of research excellence and positive societal impact becoming a regular part of annual staff contribution reviews

Students and Learning

Our greatest impact on society is through inspiring and educating creative, inquisitive and critically engaged minds.

We are here to serve our community by responding to the needs of our students and society, and by creating innovative programs of study that meet students’ needs and reflect modern ways of learning and living. We educate our students in an inclusive environment in which everyone can thrive personally and intellectually, in which they have a space to understand themselves as people, as engaged citizens and as independent thinkers.

We will embed a culture of partnership with students that nurtures engagement, belonging and community.


Our graduates are highly employable next generation creators and decision-makers. They are engaged sociallyconscious global citizens and critical thinkers, committed to a better society and a more sustainable world.

Enhancing student learning and experience

We will embed a culture of partnership with students that nurtures engagement, belonging and community, working with our students to develop student learning, our curriculum, our campus and the broader student experience.

We will make significant investments in our campus environment to enhance the student experience, including the integration and expansion of student support services physically and digitally through the creation of a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for students to provide a comprehensive range of high-quality, technology-enabled, proactive supports that will help them reach their full academic, professional and personal potential.

We recognise the complex and evolving current and future needs of our students. Our curriculum and programme delivery will be developed to be flexible and responsive to these needs. We will build on the broad-based, research-informed and critically-reflective education for which we are known. We will increase opportunities to co-design curriculum and assessment with students and external partners to ensure that we meet future needs. We expect these changes to enhance student capacities, student success and student satisfaction over the course of this strategic plan.

We will embrace our University campus as a diverse and inclusive environment where students are empowered to explore and express their authentic selves. For many of our students this exploration occurs through engagement with campus life. We will continue to enhance our students’ University experience by working closely with Maynooth Students’ Union, through supporting the strong and varied Maynooth student clubs and societies, and through developing our sports and cultural facilities further.

We will continue to work proactively across the university sector and with key stakeholders to ensure sustainable public funding and staff models to support our commitment to providing an excellent education and University experience for our students.


We will establish a School of Health and Medicine within a five- to ten-year timeframe.

Engaging in lifelong learning: strengths-based and future-focused education

We will build on our students’ existing capacities and personal attributes through a model of strengths-based education that integrates our flexible curriculum and the development of skills for future life with the education of inquisitive and independent people. We provide a space for learning and personal growth. This space will be a source of inspiration for our students’ intellectual curiosity, creativity, adaptability and empathy.

We will invest in the future of our students by integrating ‘real-world’ and international learning opportunities into their learning experience. All undergraduate students at Maynooth will graduate with digital and data literacy and future-focused capacities that will enable them to navigate fast-evolving societal contexts. We will expand and embed flexible and experiential curriculum options within our programme portfolio to meet our students’ evolving needs, the needs of the workforce and to enable access to education for more diverse groups of students.

We will continue to enhance our students’ University experience by working closely with Maynooth Students’ Union, through supporting the strong and varied Maynooth student clubs and societies, and through developing our sports and cultural facilities further.


We are committed to providing lifelong learning for the advancement of society. Those in the workplace can access flexible learning to reskill and upskill to meet the demands of the rapidly changing work environment, or pursue areas of personal interest. Our flexible postgraduate learning opportunities will focus on societal issues which are of critical interest to enterprise, industry and the broader society, from carbon reduction to digital transformation and data governance.

Enhancing research-informed teaching, learning and assessment

Our education is delivered in a rich teaching environment that is pedagogically innovative and research-informed. We will continue to guide our students in the acquisition of new knowledge, fostering critical thinking, curiosity and creativity through engagement with the latest technological, societal and intellectual developments in their fields.

Access to high-quality, technology-enhanced learning is critical to the educational experience of students. All students at Maynooth University will benefit from a digitally-enhanced learning environment, with investment in learning analytics to support students’ learning strategies, to guide students on their personalised and collective educational journeys, and to inform teaching.

We will prioritise a review of university assessment and feedback to ensure the continued integrity of assessment practices. We will consider the principles of Universal Design for Learning to support inclusive approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. Further, we will build on existing practices to develop university-wide internal feedback mechanisms for quality assurance and enhancement of teaching and learning, and increase the visibility of best practice across the University.

Supporting staff to support students

We will support our staff to navigate the rapidly changing and increasingly diverse learning environment through the provision of a flexible suite of professional development opportunities for all staff. We will embrace communities of practice and a culture of continuous improvement with quality and excellence at the heart of what we do. We will seek feedback from students on their learning experience and support staff to adjust and develop their teaching and assessment practices. We will support our staff to build their careers based on teaching innovation and excellence and reward best practice adoption and creation.

Growing academic programmes

We will continue to serve our growing region by providing excellent education that offers a wide range of attractive opportunities for school leavers from diverse backgrounds and that places choice and personal development at its core.

We will invest in the development of a suite of high-quality, flexible and demand-led taught programmes. Following a period of rapid growth in domestic undergraduate student numbers, we will now aim for moderate growth in our domestic undergraduate cohort. We will diversify our campus community by significant and sustainable growth in domestic postgraduate and international students, both of which start from a low base. We will invest in the expansion of postgraduate research education programmes to support significant growth in research student numbers, advancing the development of transversal skills and employment pathways for doctoral graduates from different disciplines, sectors and backgrounds.

Establishing a School of Health and Medicine

Maynooth has a significant and well-regarded portfolio of health-related science, public policy and social science research but is the only university in Ireland with no mainstream health education courses. As there is an acute need for healthcare professionals in Ireland and in the world, we see it as our responsibility to align our curriculum to support healthcare workforce development and innovation. Expanding on our established research and teaching excellence in the biological and biomedical sciences, we will establish a School of Health and Medicine within a five- to ten-year timeframe.

As a new site in health and medical education we are in a position to provide an innovative, flexible and future-ready health curriculum to best serve the needs of the healthcare sector in the midst of significant technological and demographic change. We will provide education through a range of disciplines, using a community and digital health focus to address the significant national and global skills shortages across the healthcare professions. Taking an innovative and collaborative approach to health education, we will develop flexible models of education, including pathways from the further education sector, with interprofessional learning and medical simulation at the core of delivery. Building on our successful programmes to support greater diversity in the professions, we will expand our initiatives to enable greater access to the health professions for under-represented groups.

Our Goal: We will create a dynamic, responsive and inclusive learning environment, in partnership with our students, in which we provide an excellent and transformative education that enables our graduates to make impactful contributions to society.

We will achieve this by:

Enabling significant growth in international, postgraduate taught and research student numbers through demand-led programmes

Delivering flexible high-quality education, with all students graduating with future-focused skills in data and digital literacy

Integrating and expanding high-quality, technology-enabled student support services in partnership with students, including a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for student facing supports

Reviewing assessment practices to ensure integrity, quality and inclusivity of assessment practices in a digital world, and enhancing feedback mechanisms for quality enhancement of teaching and learning

Establishing a School of Health and Medicine with an innovative curriculum and delivery, community and digital health focus and interprofessional learning at its core, to serve the future healthcare needs of our community

We will monitor our progress by:

Growth in student numbers and data on graduate employability

Improved student satisfaction, integration of future skills through learning outcomes, and embedding of digitally-enhanced learning

Success indicators relating to supports provided through the ‘One-Stop Shop’

Embedding of assessment principles and student feedback on enhancing quality of teaching and learning across the University

Successful introduction of health and wellbeing disciplines into the curriculum


Today’s challenges demand global cooperation and openness to new perspectives. Knowledge is explored and shared across boundaries, and exposing oneself to other cultures and ideas is a form of education in itself. Internationalisation, today more than ever, underpins a university’s global competitiveness.


We will internationalise our student population and our campus, expand and diversify our international strategic partnerships, and facilitate international opportunities for all.

We will enhance the opportunities for all our students and staff to think and engage globally, signalling our commitment to world-class, internationally-informed education and research. We will internationalise our student population and our campus, expand and diversify our international strategic partnerships, and facilitate international opportunities for all.

Enabling international engagement and mobility

International engagement and mobility amplify the impact of our research, enhance our University’s reputation, and broaden the life experiences and career prospects of students and staff alike.

We will embed international education opportunities for all within our curriculum and our educational offerings, with a particular focus on students for whom international experiences have been difficult to access.

We will support enhanced opportunities for inward and outward mobility, for both staff and students, by leveraging international partnerships, funding opportunities, and shorter, more agile approaches to exchange, learning and travel. We are mindful of our carbon footprint created by global travel and will seek to mitigate its impact on our planet.

We will establish a Distinguished International Collaborator Programme for incoming visiting scholars, enabling us to engage proactively and strategically with world-leading researchers from across the world and build long-term research partnerships that will enable us to be part of tackling the many big challenges facing our world. We will enrich our research environment and global reputation through our strategic development as a globally connected university.

Establishing key international strategic partnerships

Partnership is key to both scaling up and achieving our internationalisation objectives. We will align with a diverse range of international partners who share our aims in engaging with societal, economic and environmental challenges.

We will strengthen university-wide strategic partnership networks to enhance our international reputation and cultivate opportunities for research, learning and teaching, mobility, and international student recruitment. We will create new pathways to support international student access to Maynooth, including articulation agreements and partnerships with global institutions.

We will enhance the opportunities for all our students and staff to think and engage globally.


Growing and developing our international student community

We provide a warm welcome and an outstanding educational experience to our international students who enrich our campus environment and the learning experience of all our students. Grounded in a student-centred approach that ensures a supportive and enjoyable student experience, we will pursue a targeted strategy for international student recruitment focused on key markets. This will be enabled by a review of the course portfolio from an international perspective and subsequent development of a demand-attuned suite of programmes.

Enabling an integrated approach to internationalisation

Successful internationalisation of our campus requires that we bring a global lens to the full spectrum of education and research activity on our campus. Therefore, we will develop a university-wide, integrated approach to our internationalisation work with initiatives that embed internationalisation across our campus.

We will review our University structures, committees, resourcing and policies to support our internationalisation strategy. Building on the integral work of academic departments in advancing and supporting mobility, we will create structures within each faculty to embed an international perspective in our activities, and identify, advance and coordinate opportunities. We will adapt the International Office to be a full-service, value-adding directorate for international activity across the University.

Our Goal: We will internationalise our student population and campus, expand and diversify our international strategic partnerships, and facilitate international opportunities for all, in support of the University’s objectives.

We will achieve this by:

Establishing key strategic international partnerships and networks

Expanding strategic opportunities for student and staff international mobility and engagement

Developing a university-wide integrated approach to internationalisation

Significantly growing and developing our international student community

We will monitor our progress by:

Tracking the number and impact of staff and students engaging with strategic partners

Success and impact of new and diverse global opportunities and strategic partnerships

Success of embedding international activities and structures across the University

Growth in international student numbers and student satisfaction

Engagement and Partnerships

Maynooth University identifies itself as a place where authentic connections with society lead to better outcomes for all. To nurture, grow and leverage this historic strength requires focus and coordination. Foremost, it requires partnership.


We will build on our long-standing commitment to and performance in engaged research, collaborating closely with our external partners to advance research that engages with societal challenges and has immediate and long-term positive impacts for our partners and for broader society.

The University will take a number of steps to enhance its ability to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships with government, enterprise and industry, community, sports and cultural organisations, alumni and the broader public, in order to build mutually beneficial relationships and amplify our joint positive impact on society.

Enabling meaningful partnerships

We will build on our long-standing commitment to and performance in engaged research, collaborating closely with our external partners to advance research that engages with societal challenges and has immediate and long-term positive impacts for our partners and for broader society.

We will further develop our connections with industry and civic partners to enhance our curriculum and provide career-enhancing opportunities for our students. Recognising the importance of these partnerships to our academic endeavour, the mutual benefits they offer, and our broader responsibilities as a civic university, we will invest in new and existing structures that enable and support engagement with diverse sectors and partners.

We will create a Partnership Office that facilitates a two-way pipeline of engagement between the University and its many external stakeholders. This office will serve as the ‘Front Door’ to the University for companies, community organisations, policymaking bodies and the broader public that are looking to engage with Maynooth University. The Partnership Office will provide structural and operational support to colleagues looking to identify partners for their research and academic activities, and to provide opportunities for their students. We will create a framework for effective engagement with tiered levels of partnership and associated supports that lead to tangible benefits for our partners, for society and for the University. The Partnership Office will coordinate and track the University’s engagement activity to measure our progress and assemble data that advances our reputation for positive societal impact, communicated through a Maynooth University Impact Report.

Communicating our story

Increasing national and global recognition of Maynooth University will take a whole-of-university effort, but an important early step is to improve internal awareness of the achievements and activities of our colleagues and students. Each member of staff and every student plays an integral part in our efforts to communicate our successes. To this end, we will enhance our internal communications, including the creation of communications tools that enable the sharing of achievements and other vital information with staff as part of a comprehensive internal communications plan.

We will also enhance our external communications capabilities, with a particular focus on reaching national and international audiences. With increased support services and training for colleagues, departments and research institutes, we will build capacity for public engagement activity and communications, while also initiating a series of brand-building activities focused on our key strategic goals.

We will focus on building connections between our graduates and our current students to provide enhanced opportunities for career readiness and access to opportunities after they graduate.


Enriching our connection with alumni

The more than 100,000 Maynooth alumni around the world are passionate advocates for Maynooth University and have great ambition for our future. They embody the transformative nature of a Maynooth education and demonstrate a willingness to help today’s students transition successfully beyond graduation.

To maintain and develop relationships with our alumni, we will build an extensive calendar of alumni engagement that strengthen connections between alumni and the University, and among alumni themselves, which transcend the campus and time. As key partners in achieving our strategic goals and our future success, we will focus on building connections between our graduates and our current students to provide enhanced opportunities for career readiness and access to opportunities after they graduate.

Developing philanthropic partnerships

We will support and expand our capacity to raise philanthropic funds to create positive impacts for our students, our University and broader society. As a key enabler for the delivery of our strategy, we will build a university development function that identifies and liaises with a range of individual and corporate partners to increase philanthropic support, and facilitates colleagues across the University in their engagement with external sponsors and donors.

Showcasing our achievements through engagement and events

We will take a bold approach to enabling and raising awareness of the outstanding contributions made by our University in our local region, nationally and internationally. We will build a framework of supports and standards that enable us to showcase our strengths, expand our relationships with external stakeholders, and better utilise our campus for arts and cultural endeavour, sport and exercise, scientific exploration and intellectual debate, and as a partner for start-ups and social enterprises.

We will establish an events function that leads the planning, coordination and delivery of high-quality university events that maximize the potential for positive impact. These engagements will act as a window into our University that shows the University at its best, and the function will facilitate the convening of major gatherings and visits by external stakeholders.

Our Goal: We will grow and leverage mutually-beneficial partnerships in order to support our strategic objectives.

We will achieve this by:

Establishing a Partnership Office to enable meaningful and strategic engagement with industry, enterprise and civic society

Building our national and international reputation through coordinated and integrated internal and external communication strategies

Developing our connection and engagement with alumni

Developing our relationship with philanthropic partners to achieve our strategic objectives

Enabling the delivery of strategic reputation-enhancing, high-quality events, and establishing an events management function

We will monitor our progress by:

Recording the number and impact of successful strategic partnerships enabled by the Partnership Office

Key metrics that assess university reputation and success of internal and external communication strategies

Number of alumni engaging with the University

Number and scope of mutually beneficial collaborations with philanthropic partners

Positive impact on the University’s reputation through our high-profile events