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Meet the team

Insights & Planning Office

Abi Kelly, Director of International Engagement and External Relations

Abi Kelly joined RCSI in April 2020 as Director of International Engagement and External Relations. Her role is to support the University’s reputation raising strategy and build its brand among key stakeholders.

Abi is a member of the Senior Management Team and her remit spans the Insights and Planning Office (rankings, institutional metrics, data governance, RCSI Engage, international engagement, visibility and impact) Strategic Communications and Outreach activity. Abi chairs the Web Governance Board, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Student Engagement Group.

A key ambition for RCSI is to be recognised in the Top 200 of universities in the world.

Prior to her role with RCSI, Abi spent eight years at Newcastle University (UK) where she was Executive Director of Corporate Affairs managing the external profile of this Russell Group university. She also led communications for the N8 Research Partnership, a collaborative mission group of the eight research-intensive universities in the North of England.

She has spent 28 years working in the Public Relations industry in the UK, including roles in local and regional government, and as a PR Consultant for private-sector clients including Whitbread and Nissan.

Gráinne McDonagh, Head of Insights and Planning 

Gráinne McDonagh is Head of Insights & Planning at RCSI. Since 2017, Gráinne has played a key role in developing and implementing RCSI’s strategy for international reputation, engagement and impact in education and research. The Insights & Planning Office was established in 2017 to provide strategically relevant information and analysis to enable senior management decision-making that aligns institutional strategy with opportunities to further the reputation, growth, performance and capability of the university. Gráinne leads the IPO team comprising of specialists in the areas of data governance, university reputation, international and community engagement. A key focus for 2022 is developing RCSI’s business intelligence capabilities to support engagement and international relations and projects relating communicating our global impact. Gráinne holds a first class honours degree in Management from the Irish Management Institute (IMI) and Professional Certificate in Governance from the Institute of Public Administration (IPA). She joined RCSI in November 2000 and has held various leadership, management and project executive roles in professional (surgical) training, higher education (university) and transnational education related activities.

Catherine Sullivan, Data and Insights Manager

As Data & Insights Manager, Catherine is responsible for developing RCSI’s organisational capacity in data management, university rankings, institutional research and metrics. Her role involves conducting research and analysis on international best practice in relation to rankings, data governance and responsible metrics in higher education, including regular evaluation of RCSI’s performance.

Catherine joined RCSI in 2015 and was involved in the initial establishment of the Insights and Planning Office as part of her role in the Dean’s Office. Since 2015, Catherine has been involved in numerous exciting projects across the university, including the formation and launch of the StAR Programme, university designation and various data governance initiatives. Catherine also worked on international collaborative projects with RUMC, Malaysia.

Before joining RCSI, Catherine worked in Professional Engineering Institutions in Ireland & the UK. She has over a decade of experience in engineering programme accreditation, membership & professional titles and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Catherine holds a BA(Hons) in International Business & Languages and an HDipSc in Learning Technology.

Roisin Moriarity, International Engagement Manager

Róisín started as a UCD undergraduate student, completing her research component in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, RCSI in 2003. This would begin her journey in RCSI seeing her graduate with a PhD in Platelet Function and Immunology in 2009 from Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics. Following this, Róisín went to work in DIT and DCU becoming an expert in advanced cellular imaging techniques including real-time fluorescent lifetime imaging of cells and Raman spectroscopy. In 2015, Róisín returned to her alma mater, transitioning from an active research role to an administrative role as Postgraduate Coordinator for the School of Postgraduate Studies (SPGS). Here, Róisín saw this as a great opportunity to support early-stage researcher development and designed a Professional Certificate in Research Practice (PCAP) (approved by RCSI’s Awards and Qualifications Committee in 2018), which consolidates the core and optional training received by postgraduate research scholars.

Róisín joined the Insights and Planning Office in March 2019 and has now been appointed with the role of International Engagement Manager. Throughout Róisín’s career, she has valued the collaboration and collegial nature of scientists and their ability to share ideas and enthusiasm for bettering human health. From collaborating and co-organising a venture forum for the Celtic Alliance for Nanohealth (a cross border alliance between Ireland and Wales) while in DCU to visiting multiple Universities in Australia and Japan as part of a Government of Ireland Academic Mobility Programme while in SPGS, Róisín is excited to tackle the challenges of engaging and collaborating internationally in a world post-COVID-19.

Maria Kelly, Head of RCSI Engage

Maria is the Head of RCSI Engage and has responsibility for widening access and participation, promotion of STEMM and community engagement. She is responsible for advocating for students from underrepresented groups and also engaging with local and national school groups.

Isha McDonnell, International Reputation Project Coordinator

Isha coordinates and supports the building of organisational capacity in international peer-to-peer engagement and strategic communication aimed at enhancing the university’s education and research reputation. Her role captures the implementation of systems and processes such as CampusTIES CRM, strategic social media and event support, internal communications, i.e. RCSI Collaborate Bulletin (collaborate@rcsi.ie), data analytics and the use of research metric systems like SciVal and Altmetric, supporting the interdepartmental RCSI Discover strategic communications initiative, and managing the RCSI Discover blog (discover@rcsi.ie) and research outputs tracking for international scholarly engagement purposes.

Isha’s background includes a BA (Hons) degree in Social Sciences and Cultural Innovation from DCU, where she graduated first in her class in 2017. She went on to complete an MSc in Public Relations & Strategic Communications, earning a First Class Honours for her research thesis on online political communication tactics and youth voter engagement during the 2017 UK General Election. Prior to joining RCSI in 2018, she briefly worked in DCU Communications Department supporting media activities, social media campaigns, website development, database management and general operations.


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