The Practitioners Forum returns this June, hosted in the O’Donoghue Centre by the Atlantic Technological University and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The Practitioners Forum is an opportunity for staff and students involved with and PGR to meet and develop the project collectively. This one-day forum will involve an active and engaged examination of many aspects of, including student partnership, data analysis solutions, and PGR 

Guest speakers will include Dr Orla Flynn (President of ATU), Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh (President of NUI, Galway), Prof Hamish Coates (Tsinghua University Institute of Education and editor of Global Student Engagement), and Megan O'Connor (Vice President for Academic Affairs, Union of Students in Ireland). Guest facilitators will lead all workshops, and there will be presentations from participating HEIs. 

Sharing good practice in the participating HEIs - call for proposals

The session on Multiple Perspectives on Student Engagement will include presentations from participating HEIs and stakeholder organisations.

Do you have an example of innovative and/ or effective practice from your use of and/ or PGR results?

Would you like to share your case studies from the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 further?

  • The nature of the impact could be in any aspect of the student experience (undergrad and/ or postgrad).
  • If possible, include insights into the strengths and challenges of initiatives as this would be valuable to colleagues seeking to achieve success or be inspired in similar endeavours in their own HEI/ organisation.
  • Two options are available: A 10 minute presentation (including time for questions) OR a poster.

If you wish to participate, please contact before MONDAY 16 MAY. Please include a description of the success/ initiative/ development you wish to share, and your presentation modality preference.

The institutions/ organisations presenting (verbal presentation and posters) will be finalised no later than WEDNESDAY 18 MAY


11.30 Registration and refreshments*

12.00 Welcome and Opening Address from Dr Orla Flynn, President of ATU, and Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of the NUI, Galway

12.15 The Open Forum I - Analysing the data and closing the feedback loop – A solutions workshop

13.30 Lunch

*The event management team will be on-site from 10am so feel free to arrive anytime after this for a more leisurely coffee!

Photograph of woman reading National Report 2019 at the launch of the report
Photograph of three students

14.15 The Open Forum II - Moving Forward (no matter what your starting point is)

  • lifecycle and strategy
  • Partnership
  • Data analysis deep dive
  • PGR

15.30 Multiple Perspectives on student engagement

  • International perspectives from Prof Hamish Coates (Tsinghua University's Institute of Education; and editor of Global Student Engagement)
  • Impact and innovation in the participating HEIs

16.20 Closing remarks by Megan O'Connor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Union of Students in Ireland 

16.30 Informal gathering at a venue in Galway city (more information below)


Who should attend?

All members of staff, faculty, management and students involved with and PGR are invited to attend. It is strongly recommended that all institutions are represented by at least one member of staff/ faculty for, at least one member of staff/ faculty for PGR (if applicable), and at least one student/ student representative. Representatives of stakeholder organisations are very welcome. 


Photograph of adults sitting around a table with lots of Post-it notes on the table



Please register in advance


The Open Forum I - Analysing the data and closing the feedback loop – A solutions workshop

These workshops present an opportunity to learn about, discuss and influence these data analysis solutions cross-sectorally. Facilitators will circulate through four breakout groups of attendees for 15 minutes a session. Each speaker will present a solution from the Analysis and Impact Group and the attendees will discuss its use and relevance in their own HEI.

This is not only for those directly involved in data analysis! It will help SU representatives understand and expand their role in analysis. It will help communications and marketing staff see the potential uses of the results in their own work. It will help senior management harness the available results into their decision-making and strategising. And even if your role in your HEI is not any of those listed, we will make sure you see the relevance and value of these solutions in making your work on easier. 

The solutions will be the: Report Templates and Guide

Facilitated by Dr Jing Burgi-Tian, Institutional Research and Analysis Officer, DCU

Qualitative analysis results and next steps

Facilitated by Maura McGinn, Director of Institutional Research, UCD

Report automation tool

Facilitated by Dr Lydia Devenney, Teaching and Learning Postdoctoral Researcher, ATU

Data visualisations

Facilitated by Janice Lau, Senior Statistics Manager, HEA

The Open Forum II - Moving Forward (no matter what your starting point is)

The purpose of these workshops is to prompt creative and critical thinking about how to move forward with listening to students and to what they say through and PGR Each workshop will last 35 minutes and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in two workshops. Expect lots of active participation, learning, possibly sharing your own experiences, and solving some problems. 

The objectives of the groups will vary, as some will invite open discussion, and some will focus on a specific problem. Shared goals will be agreed at the beginning of the session. The themes are: lifecycle and strategy

Led by Lee O'Farrell (UCD), this session will require attendees to engage critically with the assumptions of the initiative. It will be facilitated by an external facilitator, but led by attendees' priorities as you consider the "bigger picture" of the purpose and impact of the project. 


Led by Oisín Hassan (NStEP), this session will focus on getting institutional stakeholders (e.g. Programme Directors and Heads of School) interested in the survey results, and on creating meaningful staff-student partnerships.

Data analysis deep dive

This focused session will be led by Blaž Podobnik (MIC), who will delve into solutions such as the report automation tool. Attendees can can expect detailed engagement with the data for their own institution, and to leave with new resources and knowledge. Attendees will also be invited to share their thoughts on these tools and influence their next iterations.

Focus on PGR 

This session will be led by Dr Jennifer Brennan (THEA) and Dr Emer Cunningham (UCD). It will open a dedicated space to consider good practice in the use of PGR results. It will also focus on what is needed by practitioners to support the data analysis. It will give those working with PGR an opportunity to influence where the initiative goes next. 

Informal reflections and get together

There will be an opportunity at the end of the event for some informal reflections and a get together. This may be the first opportunity you've had to spend time in person with these colleagues since the Practitioners Forum in 2019 and we don't want that opportunity to pass us by... Expect lovely food and lively conversation before heading home after a busy and engaging day!

Location: An Púcán, Forster Street

This lively pub is very close to the train and bus station, so you can drop in for a bite to eat or a drink on your way there, even if you can't stay for long!

We will have an area booked and finger food will be served shortly after we arrive. 

Transport and accommodation

Transportation to Galway

Bus - Very regular and reliable buses from Dublin and Cork with GoBus and Dublin, Limerick and Cork with Citylink.

Train - Train departing Dublin Heuston at 7.35am arrives at 10.06am, and 9.25am arrives at 11.52am

Train departing Limerick Colbert at 9.20am arrives at 11.13am

Taxis are available from outside the bus and train station, though the walk to the O'Donoghue Centre takes less than 15 minutes and is lovely. 


Parking on campus is limited. There is reasonably priced parking in the Galway Cathedral carpark, which is a convenient location for the O'Donoghue Centre. 


The following hotels offer discounted rates for attendees: 
Nox Hotel,
Address: Headford Rd, Galway, H91 KX65
Galway Bay Hotel
Address: Salthill Road Lower, Upper Salthill, Galway, H91 W295
The Menlo Park Hotel
Address: Headford Road, Galway, H91 E98N
The Ardilaun Hotel
Address: Taylor's Hill Rd, Galway

Contact for more information on how to book. 

The Galmont is also a convenient hotel and can be booked directly with the hotel.

Practitioners Forum - Purpose and Goals

PGR National Report 2021 launch photo


1. Share good practice.

2. Network with other and PGR practitioners.

3. Discuss aspects of and PGR collectively.

4. Form communities of interest for aspects of and PGR

5. Identify issues for the Project Manager and project Groups to address centrally on behalf of all institutions.


1. Everyone will leave with some new ideas about several aspects of and/ or PGR

2. Meeting colleagues will lead to new connections.

3. Everyone will be actively involved in discussions.

4. Additional communities of interest will form and these communities of interest will identify ways their role can be enhanced and supported.

5. The Project Manager and project Groups will learn more about what is working and how they can lead centrally on enhancements. National Report 2021 launch photo