University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork (UCC) is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland, and located in Cork.
The university was founded in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway. It became University College, Cork, under the Irish Universities Act of 1908. The Universities Act 1997 renamed the university as National University of Ireland, Cork, and a Ministerial Order of 1998 renamed the university as University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork, though it continues to be almost universally known as University College Cork.
Amongst other rankings and awards, the university was named Irish University of the Year by the Sunday Times on five occasions; most recently in 2017. In 2015, UCC was also named as top performing university by the European Commission funded U-Multirank system, based on obtaining the highest number of "A" scores (21 out of 28 metrics) among a field of 1200 partaking universities. UCC also became the first university to achieve the ISO 50001 standard in energy management in 2011.
Queen's College, Cork, was founded by the provisions of an act which enabled Queen Victoria to endow new colleges for the "Advancement of Learning in Ireland". Under the powers of this act, the three colleges of Belfast, Cork and Galway were incorporated on 30 December 1845. The college opened in 1849 with 23 professors and 181 students and a year later became part of the Queen's University of Ireland.
The original site chosen for the college was appropriate in that it is believed to have had a connection with the patron saint of Cork, Saint Finbarr. His monastery and school of learning were close by at Gill Abbey Rock and the mill attached to the monastery is thought to have stood on the bank of the south channel of the River Lee, which runs through the College lower grounds. This association is also reflected in the College motto "Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn" which is also the university motto.
Adjacent to Gillabbey and overlooking the valley of the river Lee, the site was selected in 1846. The Tudor Gothic quadrangle and early campus buildings were designed and built by Sir Thomas Deane (1792-1871) and Benjamin Woodward (1816-1861). Queen's College Cork officially opened its doors in 1849, with further buildings added later, including the Medical/Windle Building in the 1860s.
In the following century, the Irish Universities Act (1908) formed the National University of Ireland, consisting of the three constituent colleges of Dublin, Cork and Galway, and the college was given the status of a university college as University College, Cork. The Universities Act, 1997, made the university college a constituent university of the National University and made the constituent university a full university for all purposes except the awarding of degrees and diplomas which remains the sole remit of the National University.
As of 2013, the university had over 20,000 full-time students, of which approximately 14,000 were undergraduate degree candidates. This student base is supported by approximately 2,800 staff, of which 762 are faculty. There are approximately 1153 non-academic staff and 832 research staff.
The university is one of Ireland's leading research institutes, with the highest research income in the state. The university's internal research reputation spans all of its faculties where it offers over 120 degree and professional programmes through seven schools and 27 departments. The university had seven faculties in Arts and Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Food Science and Technology, Law, Medicine, and Science. Between 2005 and 2006 the university was restructured from these seven faculties into four colleges: Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science; Business and Law; Medicine and Health; and Science, Engineering and Food Science. UCC is home to the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies, which allows students to study Chinese culture as well as the language through Arts and Commerce. The department won the European Award for Languages 2008.
Student numbers, at over 20,000 in 2013, increased from the late 1980s, precipitating the expansion of the campus by the acquisition of adjacent buildings and lands. This expansion continued with the opening of the Alfred O'Rahilly building in the late 1990s, the Cavanagh Pharmacy building, the Brookfield Health Sciences centre, the extended Áras na MacLéinn (Devere Hall), the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in 2004, Experience UCC (Visitors' Centre) and an extension to the Boole Library – named for the first professor of mathematics at UCC, George Boole, who developed the algebra that would later make computer programming possible. The University also completed the Western Gateway Building in 2009 on the site of the former Cork Greyhound track on the Western Road as well as significant refurbishment to the Tyndall institute buildings at the Lee Maltings Complex.
The university has a number of related companies including: Cytrea, which is involved in pharmaceutical formulations; Firecomms, an ICT company concentrating on optical communications; Alimentary Health a biotech healthcare company; Biosensia who develop integrated micro-system analytical chips; Sensl developers of low light sensors and imaging systems; Luxcel which is involved in the development of probes and sensors for the pharmaceutical and food safety industries; and Optical Metrology Innovations who develop laser metrology systems.
The college was involved in some controversy in 2006 when one academic, Professor Des Clarke alleged that the university authorities were guilty of financial mismanagement, and called for a full independent inquiry into governance. The subsequent inquiry found that there was no evidence of financial mismanagement.
Also in 2006, the University re-opened the Crawford Observatory, a structure built in 1880 on the grounds of the university by Sir Howard Grubb. Grubb, son of the Grubb telescope building family in Dublin, designed the observatory and built the astronomical instruments for the structure. The University paid for an extensive restoration and conservation program of the building and the three main telescopes, the Equatorial, the Transit Circle and the Sidereostatic telescope.
In October 2008, the governing body of the university announced that UCC would be the first institution in Ireland to use embryonic stem cells in research.
In November 2009, many UCC buildings were damaged by flooding. The floods also affected other parts of Cork City, with many students being evacuated from accommodation. The college authorities postponed academic activities for a week, and indicated that it would take until 2010 before all flood damaged property would be repaired. A major scene of damage was the newly opened Western Gateway Building, with the main lecture theatre requiring a total refit just months after opening for classes.
As of 2015, the university had a number of celebrations to mark the bicentenary of mathematician, philosopher and logician George Boole - UCC's first professor of mathematics.