This section sets out the reforms that are happening across the higher education sector

This includes how the HEA and the higher education institutions manage performance through the system performance framework, strategic dialogue and performance funding. These pages also describe how the landscape of higher education is changing through mergers, clusters and the creation of new types of institutions.

The evolution of higher education within a rapidly changing global environment demands a strong and dynamic policy formulation process that will allow the system to meet new challenges.

The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 was announced in 2011. This strategy sets out a new vision for higher education in Ireland. In the decades ahead, higher education will play a central role in making Ireland a country recognised for innovation, competitive enterprise and continuing academic excellence; an attractive place to live and work with a quality of life, cultural vibrancy and inclusive social structures. At its heart, however, it will still be about people and higher education institutions will have a strong engagement with individual students, communities, society and enterprise; will give students a sense of Irish place and identity; and will equip them with the skills to play a strong part on the world stage, while they will be the source of new ideas through excellent research.

Summary documents are available in both English [link to Summary of National Strategy document] and Irish [link to Summary of National Strategy in Irish document].

National Strategy Process

In 2009, the then Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keeffe, T.D. launched a new National Strategy for Higher Education in Ireland under the Chairmanship of Dr. Colin Hunt, Managing Director of Macquarie Capital (Europe) Advisers.

As part of this process, the Strategy Group invited submissions under an open call, asking those submitting to identify the three most significant changes that they would wish to see made to Irish higher education and the barriers or obstacles which they would identify to the achievement of those objectives. The Strategy Group received and considered in excess of 100 submissions.

Membership of the Strategy Group was as follows:

  • Dr Colin Hunt (Chair), Economist, Macquarie Capital Advisers
  • Dr John Hegarty, Provost Trinity College Dublin
  • Marion Coy, President, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Dick Lehane, former Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Manufacturing at the EMC Corporation
  • Paul Rellis, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland
  • Peter Cassells, Chair of the National Centre for Partnership Performance
  • Shane Kelly, President of USI
  • Michael Kelly, Chairman of Higher Education Authority
  • Dr Mary Canning, Former World Bank Education Specialist and Authority member, HEA
  • Brigid McManus, Secretary General, Department of Education and Science
  • Martin Shanagher, Assistant Secretary, Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment
  • Mary Doyle, Assistant Secretary, Department of An Taoiseach
  • Robert Watt, Assistant Secretary, Department of Finance
  • Professor Jussi Valimaa, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
  • Professor John Casteen, President, University of Virginia

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