Campus News in Brief: UCD Foundation has record donations, caffeine linked to negative birth outcomes and house prices near UCD

UCD Foundation has record donations, caffeine linked to negative birth outcomes and UCD Global lays ground for University Club

House price growth near UCD among highest in Dublin

The price of housing rose by 6.8 per cent in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, the administrative district in which UCD is located, in the year to November 2018, figures released by the Central Statistics Office show.

The figures also show that average house prices in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown reached almost €620,000 in the 12 months to November 2018.

The rate of inflation for house prices in Dublin generally reached 4.6 per cent in the same period, suggesting that demand for housing in areas close to University College Dublin is greater than in other areas in the capital. Elsewhere, house prices in Fingal grew by 3.9 per cent, the lowest rate in Dublin.

The median, or ‘middle’, price of a house in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown was €535,000, while the median figure was €365,000 for Dublin as a whole. In South Dublin, close to UCD, the median price is lower than that of the capital at €329,150, while in Dublin City it is €365,000. The median price in Fingal is €325,000.

The price of residential apartments in Dublin grew by 6.5 per cent in the year to November 2018, while national apartment prices grew by 9.8 per cent.

UCD-owned charity has funded €170m worth of on-campus development since 2000

UCD Foundation CLG, a charity owned by University College Dublin which engages in fundraising for the furtherance of education and research in the University, posted a record €24 million in income at the end of the financial year 2017, which included a single €10 million anonymous donation to the company.

The company, which funds scholarships, awards, academic chairs and capital development within the University, has raised almost €170 million since 2000. In the financial statements, released last semester, the directors’ reported that “2017 was a record year for attracting private funding to UCD. With the generous support of a number of donors to the University’s priority capital projects, we made progress on our Campaigns for Business, Science and Engineering & Architecture.”

The financial statements, which also report the level of earnings of senior staff within the company, show that the number of employees earning between €90,000 and €100,000 stands at 2, an increase of 1 since the previous year. The company paid out a total of €1,377,413 in salaries in 2017, an increase of €388,588 on the previous year, while employee benefits cost the company over €200,000.

UCD Foundation is fully funded by UCD, which means that 100 per cent of donations are available for the purpose intended by the donor.

UCD study adds to evidence that caffeine during pregnancy is harmful to baby’s health

Smaller birth size, shorter gestational duration and lower IQ are among some of the negative outcomes linked to maternal caffeine intake according to a study headed by Dr Ling-Wei Chen, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Nutritional and Life Course Epidemiology at UCD. The researchers included 941 mother-child dyads in the analysis.

While Dr Chen, who was appointed to the position in UCD in May 2017, wrote in an article on the study that “it is prudent to at least limit caffeine intake during pregnancy or when planning to conceive”, he said that the findings “are from observational studies, and observational studies cannot prove that caffeine causes these outcomes, only that there is a link between them. To prove causation, scientists would need to conduct randomised controlled trials. However, to do so might be deemed ethically dubious.”

The World Health Organisation recommends an intake of less than 300mg per day, while organisations such as The Food Safety Authority of Ireland and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend an intake of less than 200mg per day.