Minister Harris announces €5 million funding to support and recognise exceptional performance by higher education institutions

Maura O'Shea

By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 1 September, 2022

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D., has today announced performance funding awards totalling €5 million to six higher education institutions in recognition of their positive performance in working towards national strategic objectives. Each award is valued at €833,333.

Welcoming the awards, Minister Harris said: “It is vital that we recognise outstanding performance in higher education, and I would like to congratulate the successful institutions on their exceptional case study submissions. Together, these institutions are making a significant and lasting impact in Irish society, tackling key national issues such as domestic and gender-based abuse, the development of our natural energy resources, and opening new pathways into higher education for professional learners and under-represented groups.”

The awards were based on an evaluation of 18 Impact Case Studies submitted by higher education institutions (HEIs) to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in April 2022.

The HEIs were invited to submit case studies to showcase innovative initiatives that made a valuable contribution towards national strategic objectives set out in the Higher Education System Performance Framework and evolving national policy priorities. The submissions were assessed by an independent panel of expert advisors based on criteria determined by the HEA.

The awards will be made to Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, National University of Ireland, Galway, South-East Technological University, University College Dublin, and University of Limerick in recognition of their positive performance.

Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the HEA, commented: “I am delighted to see the success of these initiatives and the continuing commitment of our institutions to widening the reach and accessibility of higher education. I particularly commend the range of partnerships and networks forged across social and economic life, connecting the work and influence of higher education institutions with wider society. In recognising and supporting the public impact of institutions today, we are also gathering the learnings and experience that will inform the engaged initiatives of tomorrow.”

Among the successful case studies is the co-creation and delivery by Dundalk Institute of Technology of Ireland’s first accredited programme for frontline staff on how to recognise and respond to Domestic Abuse.

Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology coordinated the national animation campaign ‘Moving Parts’, a suite of 15 animations exploring consent, sexual violence and harassment (SVH), and bystander intervention.

National University of Ireland, Galway, successfully developed and delivered partnerships and initiatives for target groups including Further Education and Training (FET) learners, people with disabilities, and members of the Travelling Community.

South East Technological University partnered with the charity Tiglin, to provide access to higher education programmes to those participating in the Tiglin addiction recovery programme.

The work of UCD Energy Institute in developing research talent and supporting policy for the decarbonisation of energy in Ireland and internationally through the Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme was documented in University College Dublin’s successful case study.

University of Limerick collaborated with industry consortia to successfully develop, expand, and deliver apprenticeships at higher NFQ levels, as part of the national Generation Apprenticeship project, including the world’s first apprenticeship at doctoral level.

The funding awards can be used to expand and progress existing initiatives or put towards new initiatives that contribute towards national strategic imperatives. Oversight of the funding awarded will be managed by the HEA.

The successful case studies have been published here on the HEA’s website.




Impact Assessment Case Study Title



The changing landscape of Domestic Abuse – The impact of a multi-agency educational initiative



Getting to Zero: How “Moving Parts” a Research & Creative collaboration moved the dial towards zero-tolerance of gender-based hostility and sexual violence.



Sustainable pathways to Higher Education: Delivering on educational opportunities for under-represented groups at NUI Galway



Using the power of transformative education through inclusive education, leadership and enterprise to end the cycle of addiction



Supporting Ireland’s transition to a secure, net zero energy future



Implementing Generation Apprenticeship at Levels 9 and 10 on the NFQ.





Table 1: Performance Funding Awards 2022

Notes to Editors:

Background to Performance Funding: The System Performance Framework 2018-2020 is the key policy framework that guides the strategy and performance dialogue process that the HEA facilitates with higher education institutions. The process, following the key priorities set out in the framework, serves as the foundation for system development and performance management, informs investment decisions and provides the basis on which to build greater transparency and accountability in the future. It also enables the HEA to manage system risks.

Mission-Based Performance Compacts were agreed with individual HEIs in early 2019, aligned with the System Performance Framework 2018-2020 and each institution’s strategic plan. In response to recommendations in reports such as the Review of the Allocation Model for Funding Higher Education Institutions in 2018, a process for recognising the positive performance of institutions was introduced in 2019.

€5million in performance funding has been allocated by government in 2022 to reward higher education institutions (HEIs) for positive performance as part of the Strategy and Performance Dialogue process.

To inform the allocation of performance funding, HEIs were requested to submit impact assessment case studies aligned with national priorities and targets and evolving national policy objectives detailed below:

Key System Objectives for the Higher Education System 2018–2020

1. Providing a strong talent pipeline combining knowledge, skills & employability which responds effectively to the needs of our enterprise, public service and community sectors, both nationally and regionally, and maintains Irish leadership in Europe for skill availability;

2. Creating rich opportunities for national and international engagement which enhances the learning environment and delivers a strong bridge to enterprise and the wider community;

3. Excellent research, development and innovation that has relevance, growing engagement with external partners and impact for the economy and society and strengthens our standing to become an Innovation Leader in Europe;

4. Significantly improves the equality of opportunity through Education and Training and recruits a student body that reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population;

5. Demonstrates consistent improvement in the quality of the learning environment with a close eye to international best practice through a strong focus on quality & academic excellence;

6. Demonstrates consistent improvement in governance, leadership and operational

Evolving National Policy Objectives / Themes 7. Student progression (HEA 2018, Report on progression of undergraduate students); 8. Graduate employability (HEA 2018, First Destinations Report); 9. Addressing Teacher Supply Challenges (DES 2018, Teacher Supply Action Plan); 10. Sustainable development (National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development 2014–2020); 11. Climate Action (Climate Action Plan 2019); 12. Informed consent (DES 2019, Framework for Consent in Higher Education Institutions); 13. Enhancement of counselling services in higher education institutions (Main Features of Budget 2019: Education & Skills); 14. Mental Health (Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice 2018 – 2023). 15. Student Engagement (HEA, 2016, Enhancing student engagement in decision-making; National Student Engagement Programme)

More: higher education institutions, higher education system performance, Minister for Further and Higher Education, minister simon harris

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