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Country Guide Ireland

CARe country guides, developed from May to October 2020, contain systematised relevant information on the national labour markets in the 10 project countries, with the aim of supporting researchers at risk/with refugee background in finding support, job and training opportunities in their host countries. 

In the development and revision of the country guides, the CARe consortium is receiving invaluable help by the selected group of national experts coming from relevant national institutions and CARe focus groups.








Higher Education in Ireland is provided by universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education, and private, independent colleges. All institutions except for the private, independent colleges are autonomous and self governing, but substantially state funded. There are seven universities in Ireland, four of which are constituent universities of the National University of Ireland (NUI), which maintains authority over basic matriculation requirements and reviews the content and teaching of courses. Although all seven are autonomous institutions, the Universities Act of 1997 set forth basic university duties and responsibilities at a national level. All universities in Ireland are monitored by a statutory body, the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which allocates funding coming from the state. The institutions of higher education are private institutions but receive about 90% of their income from state funds. The HEA maintains a continuous review of higher education needs within Ireland, and is the contact point for EU programmes.


Career progression

PhD researchers are considered students and not staff members. They are not entitled to a stipend and pay course fees of €3,000-6,000 per year. Often PhD researchers are eligible to grants or scholarships.

The rising use of temporary staff at universities increases the competition for permanent positions. As in most other EU countries, it is becoming a normal to hold a number of temporary positions to establish academic credentials before being hired on a permanent basis.

The first appointment to an academic position at an Irish university usually is at the level of lecturer. Lecturers need a PhD degree and preferably publications of high quality. Contracts for lecturer are often temporary and for one, three or five years. Many new temporary jobs of one year have emerged because of government funding of sabbaticals through the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS): they award sabbatical funding which includes funds to pay for replacement lecturers.

Permanent lecturer positions have a probationary period of 12 months. At the end of this period, the promotion committee (made up of senior officers of the university together with four elected academic staff representatives) decides on whether to award tenure or extend the probation period. A positive evaluation requires satisfactory performance of lecturing and other duties, evidence of interest in the pursuit of research and scholarship, and contribution and interest in the departmental development. Upon completion of satisfactory probation, the lecturer is granted tenure.

From the level of lecturer, one can be promoted to senior lecturer. For this a PhD degree is required along with substantial teaching experience, proven research track record documented by publications and administrative experience. The position of associate professor and professor require a PhD degree, internationally recognised research, a substantive publication record as well as a good amount of academic experience. The most important criterion for academic appointment, tenure and promotion is the research record as demonstrated through scholarly publications in refereed international academic journals that have achieved creditable standing in various Citation Indexes.

More information is available at European University Institute.


Experiences of researchers from the CARe focus Group Ireland

In Ireland, as in other European countries, one of the challenges for finding a position is limited access to the labour market during long asylum and residence permit processes. This can take up to one year, which is usually lost for doing research since there is no complete access to the labour market when being an asylum seeker. Full access to the labour market is possible with a residence permit or after nine months if the decision on asylum has not been received by then. Since English is one of two official languages in Ireland, and mostly widespread, there is no significant language barrier for researchers.

Access programs such as Scholars at Risk or being a recognised University of Sanctuary help in access to a university, while at the same time, researchers are hired as best fit for the position regardless of their background. All research posts are openly advertised but there are government restrictions in place which can make it difficult to get work permits for refugee researchers.


Full reports on the CARe Focus Groups and Employer Survey are available here.

To raise factual inaccuracies or to provide us with updated information and feedback on the guide, please do not hesitate to contact us at