Engineers Ireland has introduced new sustainability criteria for third-level institutions to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

The Engineers Ireland accreditation is an objective evaluation and approval of engineering programmes, ensuring that they meet international standards, the needs of the engineering profession and broader responsibilities to society, environment and economy.

University College Cork (UCC) is the first institute in Ireland to be accredited under Engineers Ireland’s new criteria.

Dr Richard Manton, interim registrar at Engineers Ireland, said: “Students, graduates, third level institutions, industry and the entire engineering profession benefit from a properly accredited pool of engineering programmes.

Seated are l-r: Head of School of Engineering Professor Jorge Oliveira; John Power, president of Engineers Ireland; deputy president and registrar of UCC Professor Stephen Byrne; and Michal Dymet, chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland. Standing l-r: Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir; Dr Dominic O’Sullivan; Professor Peter Parbrook; Dr Richard Manton; interim registrar of Engineers Ireland; Dr Kevin McCarthy; Dr Fatemeh Kavousi; Professor Jerry Murphy; Dr Denis Kelliher; and Professor Edmond Byrne. Photo: Tomas Tyner, UCC.

International recognition

"Whether you are an engineering professional seeking a job, an employer seeking qualified engineering professionals, or a student choosing a programme, accreditation maintains a consistent standard and international recognition in education programmes across all the disciplines of engineering in Ireland.

“UCC was the first university to complete a full accreditation under Engineers Ireland’s new accreditation criteria. The new criteria emphasise sustainability, engineering management, data analytics and the ethical usage of technology and data, along with Engineers Ireland’s long-standing criteria on engineering science, design, ethics, teamwork, and communication. I would like to thank UCC staff, students, and graduates for their engagement throughout the accreditation process.”

UCC achieved the Chartered Engineer accreditation standard for its bachelor and master's programmes in civil, structural and environmental engineering; electrical and electronic engineering; energy engineering; and process and chemical engineering. Accreditation parchments for each programme were presented by the president of Engineers Ireland, John Power, at a ceremony in the Hub in UCC.

Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, associate vice president of sustainability and director of Environmental Research Institute, said: “It’s a proud day for UCC, to see our eight engineering programmes securing full accreditation. One aspect that was particularly noted by the accreditation panels was the recognition of the strengths of our programmes regarding sustainability.

"One example is our recently introduced master's programme in energy engineering, which was accredited for the first time. The accreditation panel highlighted as a notable aspect that ‘this is an important programme dealing with a key area of national policy on climate change and sustainability’.

Circular economy

“Likewise, the progression of sustainability in enterprises and circular economy subjects in the other programmes was noted, especially civil, structural and environmental and process and chemical engineering – the latter had received the IChemE Sustainability Teaching award (UK + Ireland) in 2017.

"Engineering in UCC has been pioneering education for sustainability, which is now reflected also in UCC’s strategic plan 2023-2028, with an enhanced focus on developing innovative sustainability solutions for local, national, regional and global impact, and embedding sustainability into education.”

Professor Stephen Byrne, UCC deputy president and registrar, added: “The School of Engineering have had a leading role within the HEI sector in Ireland with the introduction of their integrated five-year master’s degree progammes, with a common entry pathway. Other professional degree programme such as pharmacy took inspiration from engineering with the implementation of their five-year integrated degree in 2015. 

"Both professional accreditation bodies have played a significant role nationally and internationally in enabling change in the educational programme but also in ensuring the quality assured work integrated learning opportunities are embedded within the degree offerings.”

Engineers Ireland accreditation creates, maintains and ensures a consistent standard of engineering programmes in Ireland. For more information, see: