How do you Build a Bold Research Culture? Insights from the National Institute for Digital Learning Experience

Mark Brown
Dublin City University, Ireland

Grainne Conole
Dublin City University, Ireland


This paper reflects on and offers insights into the challenge of building and fostering a strong culture of research and innovation in the area of blended, online and digital (BOLD) learning by drawing on the experience of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU). It begins by outlining the importance of a strong research and innovation culture that engages with some of the big questions facing Higher Education in order to help steer a pathway through such rapidly changing and uncertain times. The development and associated activities of the NIDL are then described with a number of success factors identified and benchmarked against other international research centres. In briefly reporting lessons and examples from these centres the paper serves to illustrate some of the enabling conditions that are crucial to supporting teaching and learning transformations in the digital world. Finally, we conclude that strategically focussed and well networked research and development centres play an important role in building individual agency and institutional capacity to harness the BOLD opportunities available to 21st century educators.

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