UCD In Conversation

UCD: In Conversation is an interview series featuring conversations with world-class academic and alumni leaders.

Hosted on Zoom, these lively, virtual discussions focus on critical global challenges and offer insights for uncertain times.

The series reflects UCD’s Strategy 2020-2024 ‘Rising to the Future’ which identifies four strategic themes to focus UCD’s contribution to global challenges. These thematic pillars carry through the conversation topics: Creating a Sustainable Global Society, Transforming through Digital Technology, Building a Healthy World, and Empowering Humanity.

UCD alumni are invited to tune in from home and submit questions for a Q&A session at the end of each interview. Our community of nearly 300,000 alumni is more connected than ever and there is no better time for us to rise to the future and inspire transformational change.

Climate Neutral Dairy Farming

Thursday, 21 October 2021 at 7pm (IST) via Zoom

Agriculture accounts for 35.3 percent of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, of which 95 per cent are emissions associated with livestock agriculture.

Join Professor Kevin O’Connor, Dr Fionnuala Murphy and Enda Buckley, Director of Sustainability at Carbery, for a stimulating discussion on the Farm Zero C Project, aiming to achieve net-zero emissions, which has received €2m in SFI funding to help it deliver climate-neutral dairy farming by 2027.

UCD Golden & Diamond Jubilee Reunion 2021 (Classes of 1961 & 1971)

Thursday, 16 September 2021 at 7pm (IST) online 

Featuring alumni Dr Tony Scott, Charles Lysaght, Éanna Ní Lamhna, Frances Fitzgerald MEP and Dr Desmond Green from the Classes of 61 & 71 in conversation and reminiscing with former broadcaster and arts manager, Doireann Ní Bhriain.


Cybercrime causes, trends and prevention

Thursday, 12 August 2021 at 1pm (IST) via Zoom

Cybercrime is one of the fastest evolving and expanding criminal areas globally, with law enforcement and other defence entities often lacking the necessary resources and research to keep up. 3.96 billion people use social media, so it’s inevitable that identity theft, cyberstalking, cyberbullying and, sadly, child predators will be a reality for some.

Join our panel of experts, Cliona Curley, Cybercrime Analyst and Co-Founder of CyberSafeKids, Paul Darcy, Digital Forensic Specialist and Cindy Murphy, President and Founder of Tetra Defense, a US-based Digital Forensics, Incident Response and Cyber Risk Management company.

Cliona Curley 300

Ireland’s Housing Crisis

Thursday, 22 July 2021 at 1pm (IST) via Zoom

Housing in Ireland continues to be a headline topic across the media as more people feel the dream of owning a home seems ever out of financial reach.

With a younger generation unable to afford a property of their own and another older generation facing an impending insecure retirement paying rent, what’s the reality behind the headlines and what we can do to make a change?

Social Democrat TD and UCD Alumni Cian O’Callaghan, Michelle Norris, Director, at the Geary Institute for Public Policy at UCD and Aidan Regan, Associate Professor, UCD School of International Politics and Relations will appear in conversation.

Sustainable Development, what role does sport play?

Thursday, 15 July 2021 at 1pm (IST) via Zoom

While sport is known to be an offender when it comes to unsustainable practices there has been a major shift within clubs, organisations and events to refocus and seize the opportunity that comes with engaging in sustainable development. Carbon neutral stadiums, social inclusion projects, contribution towards mental health, skills development and philanthropy are examples of how sport is contributing to building a healthier, happier world.

Join Professor Eleni Theodoraki from UCD’s School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science in conversation with Giovanni Di Cola, Special Advisor at the International Labour Organization and Dr Míde Ní Shúilleabháin, Voluntary Chair of the GAA Green Club Steering Group as they discuss the power Sport has in contributing to the truly global issue of our planet’s sustainability. 

Headshot of Professor Eleni Theodoraki
Headshot of Míde Ní Shúilleabháin
Headshot of Giovanni Di Cola

The Irish economy on the frontier of globalisation: policies for today and tomorrow

Thursday, 1 July 2021 at 1pm (IST) via Zoom

The conversation will consider Ireland’s economic position today, the economic challenges and opportunities faced as we emerge from the pandemic, and the role of policies in building resilience to the crises of tomorrow. Sharon Donnery, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec, will be in conversation with Emmet Oliver, Lecturer at the Quinn School of Business and former journalist and broadcaster.


Bloomsday 2021: Why Ulysses Matters

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

This Bloomsday, join Simon O’Connor, Director of Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), Professor Anne Fogarty, Professor of James Joyce Studies at UCD, and Katherine McSharry, Deputy Director at the National Library of Ireland, as they discuss the significance of Ulysses for the work of MoLI and Joyce’s significance for UCD. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn about the living legacy of a book that has shaped Dublin’s identity and Irish literature for the last 100 years.

Simon OConnor

Launch UCD Festival@home 2021

Thursday, 13 May 2021 at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

The unique and award-winning UCD Festival@home is nearly upon us! We invite you to join us for the launch of the second virtual edition of the festival.

Broadcaster, writer and UCD Festival literary curator Rick O’Shea is in conversation with some of the festival collaborators, including science communicator Phil Smyth, UCD School of Architecture’s Ellen Rowley and UCD Newman Fellow and Poet Julie Morrissy as they talk through the festival programme and preview some of the highlights that will feature across the festival weekend 27-29 May 2021.


100 Days of Biden

Thursday, 29 April 2021 at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Featuring our guests Professor Liam Kennedy, UCD Clinton Institute, Dr Suzanne Lynch, Washington Correspondent for the Irish Times and Professor Scott Lucas, Professor of American Studies, University of Birmingham, we will reflect on the paramount first 100 days of President Biden’s term. Rife with executive orders, economic stimulus packages, vaccinations for the masses and social revolution, have President Biden’s first 100 days lived up to expectations?


Suzanne Lynch Photograph Aidan Crawley
Credit: it freelance

Transforming Ireland’s Energy Sector

Thursday, 25 March, 2021 at 7:00pm (IST) viz Zoom

Professor Andrew Keane, Director of the Energy Institute at University College Dublin and Director of the SFI Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP). Paul Manning, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer for NovoGrid will appear in conversation with PJ Rudden, Founder of Aengus Consulting Ltd, and Chairman of Construction Innovation and Digital Adoption at Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to discuss energy production in Ireland and how UCD spin-out NovoGrid can improve energy efficiency with GridBoost technology.


The Gender Impacts of COVID-19

Thursday, 11 March, 2021 at 7:00pm (IST) viz Zoom

To mark International Women’s Day, the UCD Alumni team are delighted to have Frances Fitzgerald MEP join us to discuss her European Parliament report “The gender perspective in the COVID-19 crisis and post-crisis period” with Prof Ursula Barry, Professor of Gender Studies at the Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities at UCD.

No one has been left untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic but women have been particularly impacted personally, socially and economically. They remain at the forefront of the crisis in Europe making up 76% of healthcare workers, 93% of childcare workers, 95% of domestic cleaners and 82% of cashiers and they will continue to be impacted by COVID long after vaccines have led us back to a new normal.  This important discussion will explore the impacts of COVID as a gendered experience and the actions that must be taken to create a more equal, post-COVID world.

Arthur Cox UCD Women in Leadership

Wednesday, 24 & Thursday, 25 February at 9:00 am (IST) online

Hosted online, the event, as always, will include key discussions, breakouts, and networking online.

In the lead up to the main event, join us for the second of two free career-building masterclasses.  Carol O’Kelly, CEO of Redstorm Communications Ltd, will host What it Takes to master personal branding on 17 February. Don’t forget to view the first masterclass with lecturer and negotiator Stephen Boyle on What it Takes to negotiate effectively. 

On 24 February, speakers will discuss leadership, mental health, diversity and authenticity.


This event is kindly supported by Arthur Cox, Aldi & Abbott.

Hear from the experts, UCD and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thursday, 4 February at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

COVID-19 has disrupted lives across the globe since it was first detected in December 2019. Thirteen months on, experts have developed and continue to develop solutions to support the management of symptoms and also, to stop the virus in its tracks in the form of a vaccine.

Join us as we hear from Dr Cillian De Gascun, Prof Teresa Lambe and Prof Karina Butler who are connected to UCD and have been leading in the fight against this deadly virus and making significant impact in the fields of vaccine development and trials, laboratory testing, viral evolution and immunisation.

Belfield at 50 – Spaces and Pictures

Thursday, 10 December at 7:00 pm (IST) via YouTube Live

Take a trip down memory lane as we discuss Belfield’s ever-changing campus design, from the water tower, to the lake, to the surprising details you might have missed. Hear from Dr Ellen Rowley, who curated UCD’s architectural history for the book book ‘Making Belfield,’ and Daniel Holfeld, who captured the atmospheric qualities of UCD’s architecture in the ‘Conveying Space’ photographic exhibition. The conversation is moderated by Seán Rocks, who presents ARENA, RTÉ Radio 1’s flagship arts, popular culture, and entertainment programme. 

COVID-19 has prompted new and lasting approaches to creative innovation.

Thursday 26 November at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Join us on Thursday, 26 November at 7.00pm for a special episode as we mark the UCD Alumni Awards.

This week we will be joined by UCD Alumni Awardee in Research, Innovation and Impact Dr Sandra Collins – Director, the National Library of Ireland and UCD Alumni Awardee in Engineering and Architecture Róisín Heneghan – Award-winning architect with broadcaster and UCD alumnus Pat Kenny, a long-time friend of the UCD Alumni Awards.

The health of all living things on Earth is connected through the biosphere. ‘One Health’ concerns designing and implementing collaborative programmes, policies, legislation and research for better public health outcomes.

Thursday 19 November at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Join us on Thursday, 19 November at 7.00pm for a special episode as we mark the UCD Alumni Awards.

This week we will be joined by UCD Alumni Awardee in Health and Agricultural Sciences Professor Delia Grace Randolph – Epidemiologist and food safety expert and UCD Alumni Awardee in Science Dr Cormac Kilty – Biotech entrepreneur  in conversation with  broadcaster and UCD alumnus Pat Kenny, a long-time friend of the UCD Alumni Awards.

Research shows that the ability to navigate, overcome and recover from adversity is the key ingredient for happiness, success and satisfaction in life.

Thursday, 12 November at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Join us on Thursday, 12 November at 7.00pm for a special episode as we mark the UCD Alumni Awards

This week we will be joined by UCD Alumni Awardee in Business Mark Pollock – Athlete, explorer, motivational speaker and author; UCD Alumni Awardee in Sport Dr Jack McCaffrey – Dublin GAA football star, and paediatric doctor and UCD Alumni Awardee in Law Sally Hayden – Journalist and photographer focused on humanitarian crises in conversation with  broadcaster and UCD alumnus Pat Kenny, a long-time friend of the UCD Alumni Awards. 

Proudly supported by Intel.

COVID-19 is inflicting high and rising human costs worldwide, and necessary protections are impacting economic activity. What does this mean for Ireland? This conversation reflects our strategic theme, Creating a Sustainable Global Society.

Thursday 5 November at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Join us on Thursday, 5 November at 7.00pm for a special episode as we mark the UCD Alumni Awards.

This week we will be joined by UCD Alumni Awardee in Social Sciences, Sharon Donnery, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Ireland and UCD Alumni Awardee in Arts and Humanities Dalton Philips – CEO, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) in conversation with broadcaster and UCD alumnus Pat Kenny, a long-time friend of the UCD Alumni Awards.

Proudly supported by RKD.

Is this the most important election in US history?

Thursday, 29 October at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Our guests Professor Liam Kennedy, UCD Clinton Institute and Professor Scott Lucas, Professor of American Studies, University of Birmingham were joined in conversation with columnist & broadcaster Sarah Carey to mark the upcoming US presidential election. Arguably, the most important American election since 1945, and possibly since before the US Civil War which will have implications not only for the White House and Congress, but also on the fate of US democracy and the entire country’s values.

Emma Donoghue and Sarah Moss

Thursday 24 September at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Emma Donoghue, award-winning novelist, playwright and screenwriter, will appear in conversation with Professor Sarah Moss, an award-winning novelist and literary scholar, who has just begun her tenure as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the UCD School of English, Drama and Film.

Fireside Chat with the Class of 1960 & 1970

Thursday 17 September at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

A special episode to mark the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Reunions for the Classes of 1970 & 1960, which was unable to take place in person this year. Take a trip down memory lane with Doireann Ní Bhriain in a fireside chat with Úna Claffey, Mary Finley Geoghegan, Bride Rosney, and Colman Pearce from the classes of 1970 and 1960 . Hear from David Andrews, Mícheáil Ó’Muircheartaigh and others on their memories of UCD.  Who knows what tales will surface!

The Role of the Arts in Restorative Justice

Thursday 3 September at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Join Dr Marie Keenan, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice; together with Ailbhe Griffith and award- winning filmmaker Alan Gilsenan for a fascinating conversation about Restorative Justice and the Role of The Arts.

MoLI – a museum of the past, a laboratory for the future

Thursday 13 August at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Simon O’Connor, Director of MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland was joined in conversation with Dr Lucy Collins, Associate Professor in the UCD School of English, Drama and Film. Simon and Lucy discussed the immersive exhibitions on view at MoLI, including the exhibition on writer Nuala O’Faolain and the contemporary commissions gallery featuring a new film work by Alan Gilsenan. They also took a look at notable pieces in UCD’s Special Collections library.

COVID-19, Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing in a Crisis—A Practical Discussion

Thursday 30 July at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Dr. Tony Bates, Founder and former CEO of Jigsaw and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at UCD, and Dr. Sarah Fortune, Senior Lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago, Dunedin will appear in conversation with Professor Eilis Hennessy of the UCD School of Psychology.

The Transformative Power of Community Engaged Learning

Thursday 16 July at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Dr Deirdre McGillicuddy, Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Education in conversation with Gary Broderick, Director SAOL (Women’s Recovery and Education Project) and Dr Hilda Loughran, Associate Professor in the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, exploring the transformative power of community engaged learning.

So What Next: Becoming Anti-Racist

Thursday 2 July at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Dr Ebun Joseph, preeminent leader, race relations consultant, Career Development Specialist, and module coordinator for UCD’s Black Studies module (Ireland’s first) in conversation with Dr Alice Feldman, UCD School of Sociology, Convenor of the UCD MA Race, Migration and Decolonial Studies, (a first in Ireland and Europe).

Academic, Diversity & Inclusion

The Climate Emergency & COVID-19

Thursday 18 June at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Dr. Cara Augustenborg, Environmental Scientist, Climate Change Champion, Broadcaster and Environmental Policy Fellow at the UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, will appear in conversation with Dr. Lisa Ryan, Assistant Professor and Lecturer in Energy Economics at the UCD School of Economics.

Leadership in a Time of Crisis

Thursday 11 June at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chairman of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Chief Executive of the British Council, will appear in conversation with Professor Orla Feely, Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact and Professor of Electronic Engineering at University College Dublin.

Crisis Driven Innovation: Adaptability Through Technology

Thursday 28 May at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Dr Colin Keogh, co-founder of Open Source Ventilator and the Rapid Foundation and engineer at UCD’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, will appear in conversation with Colman Farrell, Head of Programme Development at the UCD Innovation Academy.

COVID-19’s Impact on Creative Spaces

Thursday 21 May at 7:30 pm (IST) via YouTube Live to launch the UCD Festival @Home

Author Colm Tóibín and UCD Creative Fellow will appear in conversation with Professor Margaret Kelleher, Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama in the UCD School of English, Drama and Film in a powerful conversation on the past, present, and future of art and crisis.

The Philosophy of Wellbeing

Thursday 14 May at 7:00 pm (IST) via Zoom

Can philosophy help us during a global pandemic? Join us to discuss how philosophy can help us live well in the face of radical uncertainty and spiralling self-doubt. Dr. Emma Farrell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCD School of Education and Dr. Áine Mahon, Assistant Professor in Philosophy of Education, UCD School of Education will appear in conversation with Dr. Shane Bergin, Physicist and Assistant Professor in Science Education, UCD School of Education.

It’s Normal To Be Different

Thursday 7 May at 7:00pm (IST) via Zoom

UCD alumna, Caroline Casey, award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of the Valuable 500, will appear in conversation with Martina Fitzgerald, political journalist, author and fellow UCD alumna. 

Our Genes and the Fight Against Chronic Disease & COVID-19

Thursday 30 April at 7:30pm (IST) via Zoom

UCD alumnus, David Kavanagh PhD, Director of Clinical Partnerships at Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) will appear in conversation with Professor William Gallagher, Director of the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research, to give us front line details about how understanding our genes can help us in the battle with chronic disease and COVID-19.