Philanthropic funding at DCU to drive further research on Autism education and neurodiversity

Autism Research
(L-R) Eimear Harty (HR Director, Bank of Ireland), Dr Aoife Brennan (Head of the School of Inclusive and Special Education at DCU), Professor Anne Looney (Executive Dean, DCU Institute of Education), Dr. Michelle Cullen (Managing Director and Inclusion and Diversity Lead at Accenture in Ireland), Matt Elliott (Chief People Officer at Bank of Ireland), Claire Whelehan (Director of Philanthropy at DCU)

by HRHQ Editorial Team

Dublin City University has announced a significant new programme of philanthropically funded research on autism education and neurodiversity at DCU Institute of Education. Four PhD scholarships are to be created, as well as a six-month postdoctoral position.

Bank of Ireland and Accenture have partnered with DCU to conduct a six-month study that will identify barriers and enablers to the participation of neurodivergent people in the workplace. Currently, just under one-in-five workers believe their company’s policies and practices support neurodivergent people. It is expected that this project will ultimately produce neuro-affirmative and inclusive guidelines for Irish businesses. This research will be led by Dr Aoife Brennan, Head of the School of Inclusive and Special Education at DCU and Dr Laura Gormley, the programme chair of DCU’s Graduate Certificate in Autism Education.

Separately, a total of four full-time PhD scholarships, through matched funding from philanthropist Paul Kerley and Bank of Ireland, are to be created. This will enable research on Autism education in post-primary schools, starting in September 2024. The PhD topics will include developing neuro-affirmative practices in mainstream schools, supporting the academic success of Autistic learners, supporting their wellbeing in schools and understanding the experience of Autistic girls in post-primary school.