UCD is one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities; an environment where undergraduate education, masters and PhD training, research, innovation and community engagement form a dynamic spectrum of activity. Since its foundation in 1854, the University has made a unique contribution to the creation of modern Ireland, based on successful engagement with Irish society on every level and across every sphere of activity. With a total student population of 38,371, UCD is currently ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide. In UCD a third of undergraduate students are from access and inclusion groups and a third are international students. 

UCD Access & Lifelong Learning’s vision is that UCD will be a University for All, where all students, regardless of background or circumstances, feel welcome, belong and are valued. In doing so, all students can undertake their studies, participate fully in the life of the University, and realise their academic, professional, career and personal goals. Our University for All initiative embeds inclusion across the university further developing UCD’s capacity to attract, retain and develop our diverse student population.


UCD developed the Toolkit for Inclusive Higher Education Institutions in 2018 and have since been using it successfully locally as well as sharing it with an international community of practice. Taking part in this project provides us with an opportunity to further develop this work and will inform in part the direction of our second edition of the Toolkit. UCD also has significant expertise in Inclusion capacity building and professional development through Universal Design digital badges. This project provides an opportunity to share and further develop this work. We wish to further understand the context of our project partners and use this knowledge to ensure that our work is applicable to as wide an audience as possible going forward. 


Our role in this project is to develop a Toolkit for use by those who wish to set up an IDEA office. The development of this toolkit will be informed by the other work packages on this project as well as our own research and experience in the development of successful inclusion initiatives and services.



Dr Anna M. Kelly

Director, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning

Anna M. Kelly is Director of Access & Lifelong Learning, University College Dublin. Anna offers leadership to the University community to realise its strategic objective to be a university for all.


Dr Lisa Padden

Programme Manager, UCD University for All

Lisa Padden is Programme Manager for University College Dublin’s University for All initiative. Lisa has particular expertise in change management, capacity building and professional development in the areas of Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning.


Dr Bairbre Fleming

Deputy Director, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning

Bairbre Fleming is Deputy Director of Access and Lifelong Learning in University College Dublin. She has extensive experience teaching and supporting underrepresented students with particular emphasis on mature students and part-time programmes.