Modern Cosmetic Science

Unveiling Beauty's Tech Frontier: Exploring the Latest Breakthroughs in Modern Cosmetic Science.


Cultivating change: TU courses exploring innovative solutions to global problems

Courses at technological universities have always had a particular focus on hands-on, practical learning that addresses the needs of industry and society.

At this moment in time, one of the greatest social challenges is how we can use technology to address social and environmental challenges, particularly in areas such as sustainability and healthcare.

Unsurprisingly, technological universities have a number of courses that are providing the next generation of key workers.

Courses focused on social good

TU Dublin: At TU Dublin, Lynda Young is senior manager for undergraduate student recruitment.

“At TU Dublin we believe it is our duty to educate the next generation on both the technological and societal challenges that they will face as graduates,” she says.

“There is an element of technology used for social good across all our programmes. For example, our school of computer science teaches artificial intelligence [AI], and while students learn how to build and apply AI, they also learn how to deal with the societal choices that come with it, and [explore] how AI can be socially harmonious.”

TUS: Renewable and electrical energy engineering is among the courses at TUS that use technology to address social and environmental challenges. Indeed, the majority, if not all, of the sustainability and environmental courses at TUS rely, at least in part, on technology.

One example is TUS’s renewable and electrical energy engineering course, which is offered as a three-year level seven degree or a four-year level eight, with progression facilitated for students who want to gain that honours degree.

The programme equips students with the knowledge and skills related to producing energy, and in particular electrical energy, from renewable sources. The course is a mixture of theory and practical hands-on learning in all aspects of renewable energy technology, electrical technology and automated monitoring and control of energy systems.

The students also learn about the challenges of utilising and maximising renewable electricity on the electricity grid – critically important for meeting our ambitious energy, climate and sustainability targets and goals.

There is a paid work placement in year three of the programme, with many students offered jobs with their placement employer (see panel: Méabh Hourigan). Graduates go on to work in areas such as design, implementation and optimisation of renewable energy systems, management of energy in buildings, design and control of electrical engineering systems. There is a 100 per cent employment record from the course.

SETU: SETU currently delivers courses across multiple disciplines with the largest concentrations across health and welfare, business and engineering.

It runs a number of courses that contribute to social good including, at undergraduate level, a level eight BEng in sustainable farm management and agribusiness, and a level eight BSc in sports rehabilitation and athletic therapy.

ATU: ATU, with campuses throughout the west and northwest, formed the department of environmental humanities and social sciences in 2021.

“It has distinctive strengths in cross-disciplinary collaboration, sustainability leadership, place-based learning, experiential learning and community development,” says Dr Deirdre Garvey, head of the department.

“We are cognisant of the wider global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, increasing social inequalities and increased migration and our role as a third-level education provider, in creating awareness, developing agency and leading by our actions.

“Our long-established programme in outdoor education has been refocused to a new outdoor and environmental education common entry degree, offering different degree award options including geography and therapeutic applications. A philosophy of stewardship and care for the environment is woven into the programme and is especially evident in all the practical elements of the programme when the students are outdoors. Students develop empathetic approaches to the natural world and to find a sense of place, connection and belonging with nature,” Garvey says.

Meanwhile, Prof Graham Heaslip, head of the school of engineering at ATU Galway-Mayo, says technology is already shaping learning in higher education but will become more influential.

“There are countless examples where technology has had a positive impact on the communities we live in by addressing the very real-world problems of poverty, hunger, sanitation and clean drinking water,” Heaslip says.

“One innovative course in ATU is the certificate in sustainable development goals, partnership, people, planet and prosperity. The aim of the programme is to introduce the theory and application of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with a particular focus on their application in the regional context.

“A recent development is the BSc in sustainable engineering technologies, a tertiary programme [where students begin at further education and progress to higher education] where graduates will lead the integration of sustainability issues at all levels and sectors of the organisation, from product/service and process design to infrastructure management.”

MTU: At MTU, meanwhile, there is also a range of courses which use technology for good.

“We have a dedicated research unit which leads a number of European projects in regenerative tourism as well as offering the first masters of its kind in this area,” says Michael Loftus, vice-president for external affairs at MTU.

“MTU offers a level-eight BEng in sustainable energy engineering, a level-eight BSc in environmental science and sustainable technology and a BEng in environmental engineering, as well as incorporating a wide range of sustainability-focused modules across its academic portfolio.

“These courses feature high levels of laboratory time, strong engagement with industry-related project work and strong input from industry in relation to course design,” Loftus says.

“Interest in these courses has remained strong over a period of several years. MTU envisages that this will remain to be the case over coming years as global sustainability challenges will continue to feature centrally.”

This year will also see the first offering of the new masters in arts in regenerative tourism, says Loftus.

“Regenerative tourism offers tourism businesses and destinations a new mindset of tourism development through a regenerative lens, and is a more balanced, holistic approach that includes championing local places, tackling climate action, benefiting host communities, empowering visitors to be responsible and ensuring long-term sustainability,” he says.

Progression and pathways

Technological universities have blazed a trail in forging stronger links and pathways between the further and higher education sectors.

TU Dublin: “TU Dublin’s breadth of courses means we offer everything from apprenticeships to PhDs with access points at levels six, seven and eight across all faculties,” says Young. “We make more offers to QQI applicants than any other Irish third-level institution – 21 per cent of all offers nationwide.

“Our aim is to welcome a greater number of students at level six and seven, taking advantage of all the diverse pathways on offer.

MTU: From a student progression perspective, students who join MTU through the engineering common entry route have the option to join the level eight BEng (Hons) in sustainable energy engineering, says Loftus.

“Meanwhile, students from all of these programmes can exploit the MTU ladder system to progress to cognate programmes at higher NFQ levels offered by MTU and other higher education institutions,” he says.

TUS: Students can enter and exit courses at various levels, and the university has long recognised and accredited skills and knowledge obtained on further education and training (FET) programmes. Students can use their level five or six major award to apply, through the CAO, for a place in the first year of a higher education course.

TUS has established links with several partner colleges of further education, offering preferential entry to applicants that hold a QQI level five or level six award from one of the university’s partner colleges, once the applicant satisfies entry criteria.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *