Preface by Mary Mitchell O'Connor and John Halligan

Our higher education institutions play a critical role in the development of Ireland’s economy and its innovation system. The output and impact of these institutions, both individually and collectively, is central to the achievement of our ambition to sustain national and regional economic growth and build a fair and compassionate society.

Ireland’s higher education institutions already perform well across a range of metrics and there has been significant reform across the system in recent years. However, we cannot be complacent. We need to ensure that our institutions become more entrepreneurial and innovative in nature, and that they continually seek to learn both from good practice within the system and internationally. We therefore welcome the publication of this comprehensive review of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The relationship between Ireland and the OECD on education matters has been long and productive. In the area of higher education, an OECD review of our system in the mid 2000s led directly to a major re-configuration of how our higher education system is managed today.

This most recent collaboration through the HEInnovate methodology, a partnership initiative by the European Commission and the OECD, has provided an opportunity to explore a range of issues relevant to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education. Entrepreneurial skills are a crucial part of the competences that graduates require more and more, in order to be able to compete in an increasingly challenging and globally competitive jobs market. Our institutions are ideally placed to encourage and develop these graduate skills and attributes. We particularly welcome the whole of institution approach adopted in the review and the findings in respect of good practice in our institutions.

There has been significant engagement by Irish higher education institutions both with the HEInnovate self-assessment tool and with the country review process. The review team have consulted widely and have drawn on national and international expertise. As part of their work they met with representatives and stakeholders in individual institutions and with regional and national stakeholders, agencies and departments. We welcome the enthusiasm of so many to engage with this process for improvement.

We commend the work of the Review Team and all those associated with the endeavour and look forward to working with higher education institutions to further develop their capacity and systemise good practice in this important area. We want to ensure that our education system is more responsive to the needs of our economy and society, but importantly, to the needs of the learners.


Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

Minister of State for Higher Education


John Halligan TD

Minister of State for Training, Skill, Innovation and Research and Development