About the Irish Research Council

The role and mandate of the Irish Research Council

Established in mid-2012 under the Government’s Public Sector Reform Plan, the Irish Research Council (‘the Council’), a merger of two former councils (the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, IRCHSS, and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, IRCSET), is an associated agency of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and operates under the aegis of the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The Council was established and mandated to –

  1. 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.
  2. Support the education and skills development of excellent individual early stage researchers and cultivate agile independent researchers and thinkers, whilst offering a range of opportunities which support diverse career paths.
  3. Enrich the pool of knowledge and expertise available for addressing Ireland’s current and future challenges, whether societal, cultural or economic and deliver for citizens through collaboration and enabling knowledge exchange with government departments and agencies, enterprise and civic society.
  4. Provide policy advice on postgraduate education and on more general research matters to the HEA and other national and international bodies.  In giving the Council this role, the Minister for Research and Innovation requested that particular attention be given to the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS). 


In delivering on its mandate the Council’s core value is Excellence, determined on the basis of independent peer review, in an open, objective, transparent and trusted way.

The Council also holds to the values of:

Independence – The Council operates within the government’s policy framework, but is independent in its funding decisions.

Partnership – To best deliver for the research community and for citizens, the Council partners nationally and internationally, as appropriate, with the research community itself, government departments and agencies, enterprise and civic society.

Openness – The Council consults and engages regularly with the research community to inform its work and the future development of its activities, recognising the inherent diversity of that community.

Professionalism – The Council ensures high standards in Council practices and policies through periodic review and evaluation, both internal and independent. 

Charting a vision for the future 

The vision of the Council is for a healthy research ecosystem in Ireland which provides a diversity of supports and opportunities and which enables the country to reap the full value and benefits of research. This balanced ecosystem will address the breadth of economic and societal needs and develop the knowledge, understanding and insights required by citizens, employers and government. The Council will play its part and support the best talent. It will provide opportunities for excellent researchers with excellent ideas, regardless of the discipline or research topic. Through its approach the Council will cultivate individual thinkers to question and research and in this way contribute to the development of the skills, competencies and expertise required for the future.

To achieve this vision, the mission of the Irish Research Council is to support excellent research and recognise creative individuals with innovative ideas, thus enabling a vibrant research community which enriches Irish research, the economy and society.