W100 Annual Conference 2016: Dublin, Ireland

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The W100 2016 Annual Conference was hosted by University College Dublin, Ireland


University College Dublin (UCD) was host to the sixth W100 annual conference, ‘Higher Narratives: Communicating university reputation and research through storytelling, heritage and culture’, on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October 2016, with pre-conference activities on Wednesday 5 October. The conference was preceded by a Study Tour (for W100 members only) to the University of Glasgow on 2, 3 & 4 October.

Dublin is one of the most connected cities in the world, with international flights to destinations across Europe and North America and of course a reputation for fine food, bars and wonderful Georgian architecture right by the sea. Ireland is also home to some of the most impressive hi-tech and marketing companies, including Google and Intel, and made for a stimulating venue for our annual conference.

Our theme was storytelling and cultural heritage, which the Irish might rightly argue to be experts in. 2016 also marked the centenary of The Easter Rising, one of the defining moments of the struggle for Irish independence which began on Easter Monday 1916, providing a particularly interesting context for our theme. We also looked at how you create interest in your present and future, through good brand narratives, compelling research stories and social media.

Conference Theme and Speakers

Experts from world-class universities presented on the theme of storytelling, heritage and culture. Speakers and topics included:

  • Connective Campaigns: Storytelling in the Age of Engagement. Paul Andrew, Vice president for Public Affairs and Communications, Harvard University
  • Brand Brinkmanship. Applying commercial brand planning to an academic culture and living to tell the tale! Dan Dillon, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Arizona State University
  • The 8-second Attention Span. Ovidia Lim-Rajaram, Chief Communications Officer, NUS
  • Changing the narrative during a crisis. Graham Bethune, Director, Office of Marketing and Communications University of Queensland
  • Dealing with a Sexed Up Story! Eilis O’Brien, Director of Communication, University College Dublin
  • The Power of Authentic Story telling through Brand Journalism. David Estok, Vice President, Communications, University of Toronto
  • Maximising Research Impact through Content and Media. Stephen Thompson, Head of Digital Engagement, Sheffield University
  • How to tell your story to prospective students. Dasha Karzunina, International Research Liaison, QS World Rankings
  • Speed Storytelling - 2 minutes to tell your institutional story

Click here to read more about the conference speakers

Conference Downloads

Click below to view the programme for the conference.




W100 members can access presentations from the conference in our Members' Area.

Non-member delegates can click here to view and download the presentations. A password is required to view this page, if you were a delegate at the conference but do not have the password please contact info@theworld100.com.


Event Photos

You can view photos of the conference, study tour and other W100 events in our gallery.



The W100 annual conference attracted leaders, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Directors of Marketing, Communications, and International from institutions with world-class research reputations.

Conference schedule overview


Wednesday 5th October - World 100 Members only

10.30 Tour of the Guinness Store House

12:30 Lunch at Market Bar - Tapas and Gastro Pub

14.00 Walking tour of Dublin led by historian Donal Fallon

16.30 Free time

20.00 Members’ dinner at Roly’s Bistro, Ballsbridge


Thursday 6th October

Conference Day 1

20.00 Conference Dinner at the Guinness Store House with performance from the UCD Choral Scholars


Friday 7th October

Conference Day 2

Conference closing drinks reception with Irish music and dancing

Event sponsors:


2008 CHECAREERlogo_b&W

The World 100 Study Tour 2016, University of Glasgow, Scotland

We were also delighted to invite Research members to join us in Glasgow for the 2016 study tour, which took place on 3rd and 4th October. 

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, and plans to invest £1billion to achieve its vision of a world changing campus.

A member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading research universities, the University welcomes around 26,000 undergraduate and postgraduate scholars from 140 countries each year.

Tour Summary

  • Sessions with practical examples of successful research communications and discussion of the marketing communications challenges in significant campus development.

  • A visit to The Hunterian, one of the world’s leading university museums; the Kelvin Hall, a brand new centre of excellence for collections-based research & teaching, public engagement and health & wellbeing; a tour of the beautiful and historic campus.

  • Also, members were able to enjoy being in Glasgow - the UK’s first UNESCO city of Music, with a wealth of cultural attractions, impressive architecture and fantastic shopping (see www.peoplemakeglasgow.com)

Study Tour schedule overview


Sunday 2nd  October

Arrive in Glasgow afternoon/evening.

Monday 3rd October

Study tour hosted by University of Glasgow.

Tuesday 4th October

Study tour hosted by University of Glasgow. Fly to Dublin mid-afternoon (arranged by W100).