About IDRC @ UCD

The Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland @ UCD

Inclusive Design is a Methodology, a Philosophy and Movement!

It started in Ireland here at UCD and it is gaining traction fast.

See more:

Background: Universal Design assumes as ‘norm’ from which some of us deviate. Inclusive Design assumes No norms and insists upon a 1- size-fits-1 model, invented by Prof Jutta Treviranus (world renowned found of Inclusive Design, a PhD graduate of our programme).

The Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland @ UCD has been constituted as a research centre to facilitate and promote post-disciplinary action research and scholarship in the domain of Inclusive Design to support the educational and life needs of ALL people with all abilities and assistive technology requirements

The IDRC operates as the main academic Euopean hub for the international network, national resource as well as a main hub of expertise for Europe, to act as a central research support unit to host funded Post-Doc fellows and PhDs. A Masters in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation is also in the pipeline.

The IDRC hosts a set of showcase spaces or ‘labs’ where researchers, industry collaborators, clinicians and clients can work and play together, to achieve joint goals addressing real-world needs. Some projects use the N=1 model, others start at large scale.

The Centre brought a range of cutting edge technology innovations with SMARTlab when it arrived at UCD in 2010, including Assistive Technology and Multimodal Interfaces equipment and programmes (eye gaze interface systems and tools, gamified apps and early AR tools, performance tech tools, et al) and the SMARTlab’s Virtual World and Games for Learning methods came with us from our London MAGIC lab (Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre) in the London docklands. We partner closely on projects in this space with the Oxford-based charity SpecialEffect, led by Dr Mick Donegan (former SMARTlab Deputy Director, London) creating games with and for kids with complex needs.

Constituted as a national centre with an all-island remit and a global reach, the IDRC is a locus of research and education, providing postgraduate research training and supervision, and hosting national and international scholars undertaking practice-based clinical and scholarly research in the cognate disciplines of Inclusive Design.

The Centre lead research activity in Ireland and beyond in a significant and growing and still largely untapped area of scholarship, and provides a national resource of human expertise and material resources capable of meeting the needs of scholars and clinicians studying a range of subjects from Unconscious Bias in Data, XR futures, workspaces of the future, Assistive Technologies to Disability Support, Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs, Higher Education and the History of Health and Special Needs Education, Robotics and Haptics for Inclusive Communications, Sensory Design, Design for more inclusive built environments, Virtual Worlds and Games for Learning, and Social Media tools for empowering SMARThealth systems.

This centre aims to support and include all people as equal researchers engaged in the co-design of more inclusive social and health/education spaces and curricula: not only people with disabilities but also a wider range of people constrained by personal or professional circumstances, or economic or social disadvantage are of particular concern to the extended reach of the Centre, which will not adhere to a simple ‘medical model’ of disability (which tended in the past to see disability as a problem of the person not fitting into the world) but will rather endorse and support a social model of inclusivity (which sees disability, injury, economic or political or personal marginalisation all as symptoms of an unhealthy society, wherein it is society and its systems and structures that require ‘repair’, not people).

A resource for scholars and practitioners in the Health Sciences and Human Sciences as well as in IT and Technology Development and the industries that support these domains, the Centre generates much-needed additional research capacity for a range of disciplines and acts as a centre of excellence for the collection and preservation of digital archives of best practice interventions in this important field.

The Centre hosts regular (bo=weekly) online seminars with global experts (free and open to all) and three annual week-long intensive seminars for the PhD cohort in particular. We provide a locus for inter-disciplinary collaboration in research, digital invention and archiving, and education, and serve as both a national and an international resource for visiting scholars, students, industry partners, and members of the public.

Established in December 2013, and building upon the move of the SMARTlab team to Dublin with Professor Lizbeth Goodman in September 2010, the IDRC@UCD is the local university-approved instantiation of the SMARTlab (which has run globally for nearly 30 years). It provides the national and international framework for interdisciplinary expertise to deliver on major research programmes in Research, Policy and Practice for Inclusive Design, including STEM & STEAm Education, Empathic Computing, Future Forsighting, Assistive Technologies for People with Intellectual and other abilities and disabilities, Gamification for Connected Health, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Performance Technologies, Unconscious Bias/Data Bias, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and multiple interdisciplinary programmes directly supporting the Sustainable Development Goals with our partners in the United Nations and their NGOs and IGOs. Collaborating faculty, Postdocs and 32 active PhDs (plus 56 successful PhD graduated from our PhD in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation) run projects in all these domains, some in partnership with industry and others co-funded by research councils and philanthropic funds via our SMARTlab Centre for Creative Technology Innovation.

Our ‘mother ship’ site is the IDRC and linked Inclusive Design Institute at Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCADU) in Toronto, directed by Professor Jutta Treviranus. Our partner in Asiana is the Centre for Inclusive Design, Sydney, directed by Dr Manisha Amin. South American programmes in this domain are led by Dr Silvia Margarita Baldiris Novarra, whilst European charity partner projects are directed by Dr Eva de Lera of Raising the Floor International: dedicated to ‘all boats rising’ (rather than some hitting a glass ceiling) when in projects led by women and diverse communities to solve their own issues and to create their own solutions in a co-design process.

The IDRC at UCD was set up and approved by UCD ACCE as a formal research entity of the university, in part to host the academic chair role for the award-winning 8.9 million euro ASSISTID research project: funded by the European Commission as a co-Fund with the charity Respect and the all-island research group known as DOCTRID at RCSI (the Royal College of Surgeons Institute), ASSISTED (Assistive Technologies in Support of People with Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism), for which Professor Lizbeth Goodman of UCD served as Academic Chair and PI of six Postdoc projects for ASSISTID from 2013-17. The projects included partners at CSI, Ulster University Belfast, and the University of Michigan as well as the European network of the Marie Curie Programme, which was its host.

Since its establishment in 2013 the IDRC@UCD has also won and run the following projects:

48 interdisciplinary practice-based PhDs (with 16 graduations since 2013)

10 Postdocs

5 IRC EPS full time PhDs awarded to Dr Colin Keogh (2020) and to Pierre Jolivet, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Julie LeMoines and Joseph Young, ongoing

Dr Colin Keogh: IRC Researcher of the Year- 2020

Cheryl L’Hirondelle: Governor General’s Award in Media Arts, Canada, 2021

3 full-time international PhD scholarship awards (completed)

9.5 full-time PhD awards from Enterprise Ireland in collaboration with IMR under the REDF scheme (ongoing)

9 Erasmus+ and Swiss EC Creative Technology Internships

-The Inclusive Design Handbook was created by the IDRC team in partnership with other IDRC sites under the Leonardo Programme of the EC, along with a suite of accessibility tools and methods currently in use globally: 2013-2018

-Sláintecare Project funded by the Irish Department of Health and HSE: Healthsense app- Gamified solution to Innoculate against Misinformation during COVID 19 and beyond: 2019, completed and moving into new pilot phase

-Living Lab status with the HSE Digital Innovation Team, 2021

-European Commission Horizon Europe- WearSustain future of sustainability in wearable tech, Mentorships (Dr Anita McKeown, Colin Keogh, Prof Lizbeth Goodman), 2018-20

-BeEarth Experience: the immersive virtual reality experience created by PI/PhD candidate Ylva Hansdotter to address the SDG of Climate Action for the UN, 2019-

-PhD candidate Vincent Hyland’s six part RTE series and related Ecotelly project using Augmented Reality to tell ‘stories from another world’ under water: 2018-

-Seamless Care: major project commercialisation funding from Enterprise Ireland awarded to Dr Aviva Cohen and her team to further develop her ASSISTID Marie Curie Postdoc: 2019-ongoing (mentors Prof Lizbeth Goodman of UCD and Prof Karola Dillenburger of Queen’s University Belfast)

-Environmental Protection Agency: CoDesRes sustainable methodologies for a local place-making project led by Dr Anita McKeown, 2019-21

-Learnovate: Prof Lizbeth Goodman was one of the founding PIs of the TCD centre, and led the first collaboration with Intel to create the first fully interactive context-specific virtual world for collaborative learning on the subject of sustainable home design, co-created with Nicola Herbertson, Bo Zhang, Dr Nigel Newbutt, and Steve Benton

– Unconscious Bias Pilot context-specific virtual world (UCD Seed funding)- 2020: ongoing

-Launch of the SMARTlab Niagara centre in Canada, led by Tara O’Neill, 2021

-Launch of the SMARTlab Oz centre in Australia, led by Dr Zi Siang See with Dr Donovan Jones, Shanna Fealey and Haireena Oi, 2019

– Launch of the SMARTlab Skelligs living lab in Cahirsiveen in partnership with Living Iveragh and Kerry County Council, with Dr Anita McKeown, Dr Oliver McCrohan, Jean Byrne, June O’Connell, Michael Donnelly and PhD candidates Vincent Hyland, Eleanor Turner and Lucy Hunt

-Launch of the SMARTlab INCLUDE (Inclusive Design Engineering) Lab at the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing in Mullingar: soft launch with EI, Microsoft, VR First and partners 2018; full launch pending (due to COVID restrictions) for 2021

– Recent award of the 26 million euros EC IMI centre, Screen4Care, to conduct innovative early screening for rare diseases, for which SMARTlab and the IDRC will direct the 5th Work Package on Patient Engagement, Virtual Clinics and Outreach, developing a novel Meta Symptom Checker and Screen4Care platform and related tools.

-The Chair of the STEM Education Panel for the WEF Global G100 Top Women Leaders award, to Professor Lizbeth Goodman (2021)

-Woman of the Decade Award to Professor Lizbeth Goodman, WEF at Davos, 2019-2020

-Women’s Leadership Task Force Chair: UNDP October 2020

-Co-chair of the AERAP Women in Science and Technology panel informing policy on women’s leadership in research and impact for the European Commission and European Parliament, to Professor Lizbeth Goodman (2020-)

-A philanthropic donation arising from our award-winning work with the Women Economic Forum at Davos and beyond is soon to be announced. This will support major investment in research into Sustainable and Empathetic Education, The Future of Education through our Academy4theFuture, and Inclusive Design reform.

Skip to toolbar