The HEA, through its core grant and policy advice to the Department of Education and Skills, supports the performance of the Irish higher education research system.



The HEA, through its core grant and policy advice to the Department of Education and Skills, supports the performance of the Irish higher education research system. The core funding to the institutions:

  • Pays for the salaries of the academics who are therefore in a position to apply for competitive funding from national agencies international programmes such as Horizon 2020;
  • Supports supervision of Masters and PhD students, i.e. Ireland’s pipeline of future researchers;
  • Provides the research support environment which facilitates the development of high quality research funding proposals and the effective management of competitive funding obtained;
  • Enables each institution to advance the higher interconnected activities of education and research within a higher education environment.

The HEA’s policy advice on higher education research activity in Ireland is grounded in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (hyperlink missing). Building on this Strategy, the Higher Education System Performance Framework 2014-2016 articulates Key System Objective 4 as: “To maintain an open and excellent public research system focused on the Government’s priority areas and on the achievement of other societal objectives, and to maximise research collaborations and knowledge exchange between and among public and private sector research actors”.

Delivery of this strategic objective links in strongly with the implementation of Innovation 2020, Ireland’s national strategy for research and innovation.

The Irish Research Council is an associated agency of the Department of Education and Skills and operates under the aegis of the HEA. It provides competitive research funding to support excellent frontiers research across all disciplines and career stages. It has an emphasis on early-stage career researchers and promotes diverse career opportunities for researchers by partnering with employers. The Council also has an explicit role in supporting research with a societal focus, and has established partnerships across Government and civic society.