Staff in Atlantic Technological University  (ATU) are celebrating winning a top accolade in The Education Awards 2022, the 'Best Master's Programme' award, for its two-year Master of Science in Design and Innovation programme.

Delivered from the ATU Galway campus, the part-time multidisciplinary course was first offered two years ago in response to a number of important reports including the 'National Planning Framework (NPF) Project Ireland 2040', which sets out the priorities for shaping the future growth and development of Ireland and the west and northwest region.  

Foster enterprise and innovation

The NPF stipulates that increasing innovation capacity “will depend on creating places that can foster enterprise and innovation and attract investment and talent”. The enterprise agencies forecast that the number of Research and Development (R&D) personnel needed in the enterprise sector will increase significantly in the next number of years.

The MSc in Design and Innovation programme is designed for people from varied disciplines who want to develop their innovation, design, management and leadership skills, while in full or part-time employment in industry, services and public bodies.

Programme chair Dr Gabriel J Costello said: “To meet the region’s innovation needs, a cross-functional team was established led by the School of Engineering in collaboration with the Centre for Creative Arts and Media (CCAM) and the School of Business, ATU.

"Ideas and opinions were sourced locally and nationally from indigenous and multinational businesses in the medtech, ICT and Manufacturing sectors. Valuable input was received from the Department of Product Development and Transformation in the IDA.”

‘Learning by Doing’ approach

Lecturer Emer Cahill added: “The master's uses a ‘Learning by Doing’ approach, inspired by the Stanford d School’s design philosophy. Assessment is 100% project based delivered mainly on-line, in evenings and every second Saturday. 

"The projects undertaken by students will bring tangible benefits to their own organisation, and students will learn skills that can be applied in any industry, service, or public body. It has been designed with the busy professional in mind. Students on this part-time programme can upskill while working full-time.”

Dr Martin Taggart, lecturer, added: “The Master of Science in Design and Innovation programme provides a fantastic conduit for the students to distil and contribute their knowledge and experience to a wider audience.

"The students have deep knowledge and experience of their own industries and workplaces. The masters programme gives them the confidence and the tools to develop that knowledge and experience into high quality applied research that solves real world problems in the workplace and additionally contributes to increased knowledge in their specialist field.”

The current participants who will graduate this year are professionals working in medtech, pharma, refrigeration, furniture design, civil engineering, manufacturing and education sectors.

In one of the programme modules, a group of students worked on a research project with the Galway Parkinson’s Association and local design company Synecco, aimed at assisting patients and their families with medication adherence. They presented their work at a public Expo in the ATU Galway City campus last December.

The next two-year cycle of the programme will commence in September 2022. To apply for this award-winning course, or for further information, please email:                   

You can also visit the programme website: Master of Science in Design and Innovation | ATU - Atlantic Technological University