The Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) focuses on a number of vital initiatives to further and protect equality, diversity and inclusion in the Irish Higher Education sector.


The Centre is pivotal in enabling the sharing of good practice, joint initiatives and co-operation between HEIs (Higher Education Institutions), and in developing a better understanding of the impact of interventions taken and determining the areas of future focus. Providing a centralised support for HEIs helps to embed an institutional culture of equality, diversity and inclusion.


The HEA operates a number of Gender Equality focused initiatives, which are run and supported by the Centre. In 2022, the HEA undertook a Second National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions. The Expert Group findings and recommendations have now been published in the Report of the Expert Group: 2nd HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Details of each initiative can be found on our Gender Equality page.


In 2021, the HEA ran the first National Race Equality Survey of all HEIs. The findings of same were included in the Race Equality Report, published in October 2021. Please visit our Race Equality page for further information. In September 2022, the Centre launched the Race Equality Implementation Plan 2022-2024.


The HEA has oversight of the national Framework for Consent in Irish HEIs and has been working with HEIs to ensure that our institutions have safe, respectful, supportive and positive institutional cultures. The Unmute Consent page provides more detailed information. In January 2022, the HEA published the reports of the National Surveys of Staff and Student Experiences of Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish HEIs. With the support of the HEA Advisory Group on Ending Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in HEIs, the Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Higher Education Institutions Implementation Plan 2022-2024, was developed to address the recommendations that emerged from an analysis of the survey findings.



The HEA’s Centre of Excellence was established to ensure sustainable acceleration towards gender equality in Irish HEIs by providing centralised support for institutions, sharing of good practice, and funding for innovative organisational and cultural change initiatives nationally. This has expanded to include all aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion.


The Centre advises the Minister and his department on progress, new developments and measures which may be required in future for Ireland. Detailed data obtained by the Centre from HEIs is key to enabling data-driven decisions to be made so that actual, rather than perceived barriers to diversity can be addressed.


To implement the HEA’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion across the Irish Higher Education sector, the Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality was established in 2019. In 2020, this was transformed into the Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.


The HEA is committed to ensuring a national institutional campus culture which is safe, respectful and supportive. To supporting higher education institutions to foster a campus culture that is clear in the condemnation of unwanted and unacceptable behaviours. The HEA has a statutory responsibility to promote the attainment of equality of opportunity in higher education (HE). Every employee in Irish higher education has a right to a workplace free from discrimination, and the HEA is committed to ensuring that all staff in Irish HEIs have the opportunity to work in a positive and productive environment.

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