AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


Universal Design Fund Project Building Think-In Session 2

This hackathon-style event is organised by AHEAD in partnership with the Irish Universities Association and the Technological Higher Education Association, and is aimed at professionals involved in the development of project proposals for the new PATH 4 Phase 1 Universal Design Fund. 

When: Path 4 Think-In Follow Up Session - September 14th 13:30-14:30, Online. Register for PATH 4 Think In Follow Up

Who is this event for: Irish HEI staff interested in driving or contributing to PATH 4 Universal Design projects.

Register for the PATH 4 Think In Follow Up - September 14thThe recent announcement of the PATH 4 Phase 1 Universal Design fund is welcome. With growing interest on the ground in universal design (UD) and universal design for learning (UDL) practices, it is timely that the Department of Further and Higher Education, Innovation, Research and Science have signalled the state's commitment to these approaches through the establishment of this specific fund to promote the universal design of higher education.

Like many at the recent PATH 4 consultation, we believe that this funding stream will have the greatest impact on advancing sustainable universal design and UDL practice if projects are developed as a community - in regional and national clusters of institutions. In this way, we believe a greater shared understanding and vision of universal design in HE will emerge, and over time, support us to strategically build more flexibility, accessibility, voice and choice into the fabric of higher education.

So, while AHEAD is not in a position to access this fund directly itself, we have created this Think-In as a forum for you to bring your ideas and reflections on the potential of this fund, and connect and project-build with colleagues interested in collaborating on cross-institutional projects around similar themes. This event is also a useful platform to promote collaboration across campuses in newly formed Technological Universities where structures for collaboration may be at earlier stages of development.

 Aims of the Think-In

  • Explore potential applications of the Universal Design Fund and key areas where more sustainable national/regional impact on embedding UD/UDL might be achieved through collaborative proposals
  • Provide breakout spaces for staff to brainstorm project ideas under different themes and connect with interested peers. 
  • Gather a shared noticeboard of staff contacts who are interested in engaging in developing collaborative proposals under different themes so participants can follow-up and continue the conversation

We would ask all interested participants to come to this Think-In in an action mind-set, ready to put their hand up to lead or support development of collaborative proposals to the Universal Design Fund.

Projects Selected in Session 1 for Project Building in Session 2

Session 1:

At session 1 on July 18th, we:

  • Re-introduced to UD and UDL in Higher Ed and importance of a systems approach. 

  • Witnessed great showcases of successful institutional projects in this space. 

  • Brainstormed where PATH 4 funding could be used to develop impactful collaborative projects under 5 key themes. Selected a small number of project ideas for further exploration in Session 2 and beyond. 

Selected project ideas:

5 project ideas emerged from the session 1 brainstorm:

  • Research - Establishing a broader understanding of impact in evaluating the implementation of UDL in tertiary education
  • Policy - Develop a National Charter for the Implementation Universal Design in Tertiary Education (UD for 3 Charter)
  • Taking Leadership on the Universal Design Agenda - A Symposium for Higher Education Leaders
  • Guidelines for the Development of Higher Education Programmes for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Digital Accessibility - Developing a template Web Accessibility Statement for Tertiary Education Institutions

Session 2:

At session 2 on July 28th, we:

  • Updated on Project Ideas and Expressions of Interest in forming project teams – what’s involved
  • Breakouts into project teams to brainstorm a project outline and plan based on template provided
  • Feedback/Reaction from the themed rooms and sharing of project outlines, challenges and plans to continue development



The core funding received by AHEAD for its higher education activities is provided by the Higher Education Authority.

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

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