Irish Research Council Strategic Plan 2020-2024

Our vision

Our vision is for a connected, agile Irish Research Council that invests in the people, skills and ideas, across all disciplines, that will deliver new possibilities for the future, within Ireland and beyond.


Our mandate

The IRC is an associate agency of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, under the aegis of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), and has the following mandate:

  • To fund excellent research within, and between, all disciplines, and in doing so to enhance Ireland’s international reputation as a centre for research and learning
  • To support the education and skills development of excellent individual early-stage researchers and to cultivate agile independent researchers and thinkers, while offering a range of opportunities which support diverse career paths
  • To enrich the pool of knowledge and expertise available for addressing Ireland’s current and future needs, whether societal, cultural or economic, and to deliver for citizens through collaboration and enabling knowledge exchange with Government departments and agencies, enterprise and civic society
  • To provide policy advice on postgraduate education, and on more general research matters, to the HEA and other national and international bodies. In giving us this role, Government requested that particular attention be given to the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The mandate and unique role of the IRC generates a strong value-added dimension in the Irish research and innovation landscape.

The IRC Strategic Plan 2020‒2024 will underpin the continued delivery of our mandate within the Irish higher education and research system. This plan seeks to consolidate the unique role of the IRC in supporting all disciplines within the Irish research funding landscape and the suite of programmes that underpin this role. Furthermore, the plan articulates how the IRC will maximise its contribution to national progress and ambitions over the coming years.

Our values

In delivering on its mandate, the Irish Research Council’s core value is research excellence: across all disciplines, determined on the basis of independent peer review, in an open, objective, transparent and trusted manner. In addition, we uphold the following values:

  • Independence
  • Leadership
  • Researcher-centredness
  • Partnership
  • Professionalism

How we operate

We operate within the policy framework of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Higher Education Authority, but are independent in our funding decisions. To best deliver for citizens, we partner nationally and internationally with the research community, government departments and agencies, enterprise and civic society. We engage with the Irish research community regularly to inform our work and the future development of our activities. We ensure high standards in our practices and policies through periodic review and evaluation.


The Council is an associated agency of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and operates under the aegis of the Higher Education Authority. It was established in mid-2012 following the merger of the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET).

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