Steering Committee Minutes Feb. 2018

Steering Committee Minutes

DSAI Steering Committee Meeting
Tuesday, 20th February 2018 11:00 – 13:30
Room 2.25, Iontas Building, Maynooth University

In attendance: Mary van Lieshout (Chair), Honor Fagan (Secretary), Padraig Carmody, PJ Wall, Vanessa Liston (part of), Caroline Creamer

In attendance (via teleconference): Hugh McBride (Treasurer), Gerard McCann, Grainne Kilcullen

Apologies: Angele Veale, Enida Friel, Maja Haals Londorf, Derina Johnson


  1. Previous Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of 14 December were adopted with a minor clarification on the frequency of the financial reports. PC proposed and GMC seconded. MVL took this opportunity to thank TCD for hosting the DSAI over the past couple of years, and Maynooth University for agreeing to host the Association over the coming 18months. MVL thanked DCU for their partnership and significant contribution over the previous Irish Aid grant, and for recent support in managing the recruitment of the new Communications Officer. With her term of office now coming to a close, MVL also noted the thanks of the Steering Committee to Derina Johnson for her commitment as Postgraduate Representative. It is proposed that a new Postgrad Rep be in place by the next Steering Committee meeting.  Finally, MVL welcomed Vanessa (Communications Officer) and Caroline (Coordinator) to the DSAI team; and thanked those members of the Steering Committee who had served on the various Interview Boards.

This meeting marks the first under the current Irish Aid 18-month funding programme; a period for which the Steering Committee has great vision. One of the first decisions taken is that the minutes of DSAI meetings will be published online from this point forwards.

  1. Update on Accounts

HMcB provided a recap on the accounts balance as of the AGM in October 2017; and provided an update on expenditure and income over the period 1 Oct-31 Dec 2017.  Final costings are awaited from TCD, relating to the Annual Conference in November 2017, and once these are received the 2017 accounts can be closed. Following this, the DSAI accounts will be transferred from TCD to Maynooth University. With the movement to Maynooth University, the Associations’ finances will fall under the remit of Maynooth University’s financial policies and procedures.  


The budget for 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2019 were presented to the Committee.  Discussion then centred on (1) income being generated through the ongoing sustainability drive, and (b) the budgets available to the Study Groups over the next 18-months to support their programmes of activity.  MVL committed to driving the sustainability programme; and asked that this be a recurring agenda item for the forseeable future.

  1. Workplan 2018

The 2018 Workplan is being led by the Irish Aid programme of activities; with core vehicles of delivery being the Study Groups.  To this end, the Study Groups are each asked to commit, as a minimum, to delivery of 1 thematic seminar, 1 working paper, and a thematic session at the Annual Conference.  Study Groups are asked to liaise with the Coordinator on the scheduling of events (to ensure a spread of activity throughout the year) and costs envisaged. Events should be advertised on the DSAI website, firstly, and also through the networks of TIDI, Dochas and Comhlámh who the Association has a reciprocal relationship with.  

The Working Groups are encouraged to build links with like-minded agencies and to explore opportunities for collaborative working.  

In terms of the Working Paper series, there are guidance notes on the process for producing Working Papers (and Policy Papers) on the DSAI website, together with details of the Editorial Board.  PC noted that the word count for Working Papers has been increased to 9,000 words.

  1. DSAI Annual Conference

Following a review of previous Annual Conferences, it was agreed that a refresh would be appropriate.  As part of this, discussion centred on venue, timing, length, theme, and ensuring relevance to both HEIs and NGOs.  

In terms of theme, it was noted that topical issues are the Sustainable Development Goals and Fragile States.  Broadening out from this, it was agreed that HF, PC and MVL would develop a concept note on the theme of ‘States of/and Development’.  This will be shared with Steering Committee members in advance of the next meeting.

A provisional date of 10-11 October 2018 was set for the Annual Conference; with the full-day conference taking place on the 11th.  

  1. Summer School 2018

It was agreed that the 2018 summer School would be a one day event focusing, again, on building research skills – both qualitative and quantitative.  It was agreed that the theme would be ICT4D Methods; with PW and MVL agreeing to act as leads in programme development.

This event will take place in June 2018.

  1. DSAI Study Groups

PW tabled a concept note and motion to establish a new Study Group – ICT4D. This would be the first group of its kind on the island of Ireland.  The Study Group would provide a forum for academics, researchers, development practitioners and other interested individuals to connect with each other, and a space to generate and facilitate discussion, debate and ongoing learning in the ICT4D field.  The Study Group would also provide an opportunity to share and disseminate research in the field. The proposal was unanimously adopted.

The lead convenor for this Study Group will be PJ Wall (TCD).

  1. Postgraduate Representative

A new Postgraduate Representative must be appointed for 2018.  MVL asked that a letter of thanks be issued to Derina, the out-going rep; with PC agreeing to take a lead on the identification of a new postgraduate rep.

  1. Communications Report

VL reported that online groups are being established to support the workings of the Steering Committee and the Study Groups.  Online training on the use of the platform is currently being rolled-out. It was agreed that a Communications Report would be tabled at each Committee meeting. MVL will contribute to the next online newsletter, outlining DSAI’s plans over the next 18-months.

Consideration was given to the possibility of meetings being rotated across the home institutes of the Steering Committee members.  This was deemed particularly important for the NGO sector – in terms of engagement and raising visibility of the DSAI. This will be actioned over the summer months.

  1. Correspondence

  • Renewal of EADI membership for 2018;.  It was agreed that this should be processed.

  • Letter from Dochás relating to Adherence to the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages for the year 2017; the Chairperson is asked to sign this commitment.

  1. AOB

A Membership Strategy is required for the Association.   This requires the input of the Steering Committee, the Study Groups and the Communications Officer.  Building the membership will be a recurring agenda item over 2018.