Policy Forum for Ireland

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? Contact us at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for the Higher Education sector in Ireland

Morning, Wednesday, 20th October 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will consider priorities for meeting the needs of the current HE landscape in Ireland, as well as priorities for the sector in the wake of the pandemic, and how it can best support Ireland’s position globally.

Delegates will have an opportunity to discuss the recently published three-year strategy for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and the likely outlook for the HE sector, as well as other relevant policy developments such as the North-South Research Programme and the Global Ireland 2025 strategy.

The discussion will also consider the wider context, with discussion on priorities for the sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as co-operation between Ireland and the UK following Brexit.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from Paul Kehoe TD, Chair, Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; Jim Miley, Director General, Irish Universities Association; and Mary Canning, President, Royal Irish Academy.

The agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • priorities for improving the participation of mature students in HE
  • widening access to HE in Ireland, and priorities for diversity and inclusion among staff and student bodies
  • building collaboration and co-operation in the Irish HE sector, between universities, businesses, and FE colleges
  • the role of the HE sector in building Ireland’s position in the international HE landscape
  • co-operation between Ireland and the UK following Brexit


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department of Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, ROI. Also due to attend are representatives from Dublin City University; Health Research Board; Knowledge Transfer Ireland; University College Dublin; University of Birmingham; and University of Limerick.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of the Oireachtas, and senior government officials and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from higher education stakeholders including university leaders, student groups, technical and science centres, virtual learning platforms, teaching professionals and associations, training providers, skills and employment agencies, counsellors and health officers, local government, foreign embassies, academic researchers, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Jim Miley

Director General, Irish Universities Association

Mary Canning

President, Royal Irish Academy

Paul Kehoe TD

Chair, Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science


Rose Conway-Walsh TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD

Labour Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade


Professor Robin Mason

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Birmingham

Alison Campbell

Director, Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI)

Professor Maggie Cusack

President, Munster Technological University (MTU)

Clare Austick

President, Union of Students in Ireland

Professor Andrew Burke

Chair, Business Studies and Dean, Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin

Laura Harmon

Executive Director, Irish Council for International Students (ICOS)

Dr Joseph Ryan

Chief Executive Officer, Technological Higher Education Association (THEA)

Professor Maria Slowey

Director, Higher Education Research Centre, Dublin City University (DCU)