Race and ethnicity

RCSI welcomes the increasing ethnic and national diversity of our community, and is committed to equal treatment of all regardless of race.

The University has a long tradition of celebrating cultural diversity and is currently ranked in the top 50 in the world for 'International Outlook' by Times Higher Education. RCSI operates across five international campuses and has 70 countries represented in Dublin.

RCSI statement on race equality

One of the many strengths of our University is the truly international nature of our student community. The diversity of our students, with over 84 countries represented on our Dublin campus, is something we are rightly proud to celebrate.

Our multicultural community is one where respect, acceptance and kindness – qualities that you expect from people who are working to enhance human health – is a hallmark.

We understand that students and staff will have been deeply shocked by the death of George Floyd in the United States and the protests that have followed. It has led many institutions and individuals to ask what more can be done to stand up and speak out against racism in all its forms.

RCSI is committed to equal treatment of all regardless of race and we stand with our global community in condemning racism and discrimination.

Our EDI team, together with our Students’ Union, is focused on guiding the university and providing support for both our staff and students to take positive action. The EDI Committee, which includes student representation, is responsible for monitoring progress on our EDI Policy and associated actions. As part of this, we assess students’ experiences of Campus life to identify any issues around discrimination and how we can best address them. 

If you have had a negative experience, are struggling with the current situation and need personal support, please remember that the CoMPPAS Student Welfare team is available. They can link you to a wide range of additional support.

We recognise that there is always more we can do and through the Irish University Association’s Equality Network we will be developing more training for our staff around meeting the needs of diverse students in teaching and learning settings.

One area of particular focus for us is in embedding culturally relevant teaching into our curriculum. Our Deputy Dean for International Curriculum Development, Professor Sam McConkey, was appointed in 2018 to ensure we deliver truly international programmes across our multiple international campuses.

Our International Citizenship Programme provides a model that can be used to support the development of cultural and social awareness in our future doctors. The two-year programme aims to develop the specific skills associated with cultural competence and healthcare leadership through a process of civic engagement, mentorship and critical reflection.

We believe that graduates will be more prepared for the increasingly complex and globalised nature of medicine. By making sure that our future healthcare leaders are culturally competent, socially conscious and have a sense of civic responsibility, we hope to contribute to a more inclusive and fair society.

Race Equality Forum

In January 2021, RCSI convened a new Race Equality Forum. The Forum is comprised of RCSI students and staff. The University is committed to undertaking a comprehensive consultation aimed at informed a dedicated RCSI Race Equality Action Plan. These actions are underpinned by our institutional commitment to EDI, which is a pillar of our RCSI Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022.

Intersectionality Working Group

RCSI is a member of the Intersectionality Working Group, a sub-group of the Athena SWAN National Committee. The Working Group served as an expert advisory group to the Higher Education Authority’s Centre for Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to ensure the played a key role in the inclusion of ethnicity in higher education data collection and the development of survey instruments.

Race equality survey

In December 2020, RCSI endorsed and participated in the first national race equality survey issued by the Higher Education Authority. Race equality data is also collected as part of the annual RCSI EDI staff and student surveys.

Traveller Community Access Programme (TCAP)

RCSI provides a Traveller Community Access Programme (TCAP) which aims to increase the participation and success rates of members of the Traveller community in third level educational programmes. This programme commenced in 2006. Further information available on the Undergraduate scholarships page

Research on Traveller ethnicity

In February 2016, RCSI and the University of Edinburgh, published a population-based genetic study which examined the genetic structure of the Irish Traveller community. This study, also featuring researchers from University College Dublin and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explored the history and structure of the Traveller population in the context of 'settled' Irish, neighbouring European and Roma Gypsy groups. The full study is available here.