Strategic pressures on Irish universities run in strange and conflicting directions. Sometimes the universities are assumed to be in competition with one another, sometimes they are assumed to be co-operating with one another in pursuit of a common goal. Over time this has led to a rather confused patchwork of networks and alliances, which is hard to make sense of from any rational point of view. This page lists (in strict alphabetical order) those alliances that still seem to have some life in them.

While the last two years have seen a great deal of activity in this area, motives are somewhat mixed, being partly no doubt driven by a wish to achieve benefits through co-operation, but partly no doubt by a wish to stave off the imposition of closer co-operation or even merger of institutions.

The Atlantic University Alliance (AUA) (formed June 1999) is a consortium of NUI Galway, the University of Limerick and University College Cork (website).

The Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (DRHEA) (formed May 2009) is a strategic alliance of the Higher Education sector in the wider Dublin area, that is Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, NUI Maynooth, DIT, IADT, ITB, and ITT (website).

The Innovation Alliance (March 2009) is a partnership between Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin (website).

The Irish Universities Association is the representative body of the Heads of the seven Irish universities (formed in September 2005, as successor to the Conference of Heads of Irish Universities or CHIU) (website¦wikipedia).

The National University of Ireland (formed 1908), which comprises four constituent universities as well as a number of other third-level institutions (website¦wikipedia), does not in practice operate as an alliance. Its abolition has been proposed by the current government, though opposed by the NUI itself.

The NUI Galway – University of Limerick Strategic Alliance (formed February 2010) covers various areas of common activity. See Background to the Alliance; messages of endorsement.

Universities Ireland (July 2003) promotes co-operation and collaboration among universities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (website¦wikipedia).


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