Published on 

Minister Harris publishes the Higher Education Research & Development Survey 2018- 2019

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD has welcomed the publication of the Higher Education Research & Development Survey (HERD) which measures expenditure and human resources devoted to research work in the higher education sector for the academic year 2018-2019. 

The survey shows that total expenditure on R&D in the higher education sector reached €876.1 million, an increase of 17% since the last survey in 2016. 

  • Ireland ranked 7th out of 39 OECD countries on headcount researchers per 1,000 of the labour force in 2018.
  • In respect to female researchers in the Higher Education sector, Ireland has been steadily moving up in the last ten years, ranking 8th out of 31 OECD countries in 2018.
  • Ireland's position relative to other OECD countries has been deteriorating in the last decade, although it improved somewhat in 2018.  Ireland now ranks 23rd for HERD as a percentage of GDP (GNP for Ireland). 
  • Funding from Science Foundation Ireland to the higher education sector amounted to €169.2m in 2018, accounting for 46% of total direct government funding.
  • The percentage of HERD financed by Industry increased one whole percentage point over 2016 from 4.5% to 5.5%.  This amounted to €48m, thereby already reaching the Innovation 2020 target of €48m investment by private companies in the education sector by 2020.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

“This important survey is widely used by the national authorities in research planning and resource allocation and I am pleased to see that the higher education sector continues to play such a vital role in R&D.  The HERD figures are a testament to the vibrant research system in place.  I will work with my colleagues to build on our previous investment so that Ireland continues to be a leader in the translation of research into economic and societal impacts.”

The HERD survey is undertaken every two years among Ireland’s 21 publicly-funded higher education institutions. It was conducted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment but following a Government decision to transfer certain research and innovation functions, the HERD Survey will be the responsibility of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science from 2021 onwards.

 Notes for Editors:

The HERD survey is an official statistical release, the results of which are sent to the CSO, Eurostat and OECD for international publication. The data from this report feed into wider OECD and Eurostat reports as well as informing ongoing policy advice to the Government.  The methodology and procedures followed in carrying out this survey are as recommended by the OECD in the 2015 Frascati Manual – Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development.

The Higher Education Research & Development Survey 2018-2019  is available at: