Independent National Review on Supports for PhD Researchers in Ireland

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The first report of an Independent National Review of State Supports for PhD Researchers has been published.

The independent review of current State supports for PhD researchers provides recommendations on the following:

  • Financial supports, with particular regard to stipend levels
  • Issues encountered by PhD researchers coming to Ireland from outside the European Union/ European Economic Area
  • Improving PhD graduate outcomes

Th report is a result of Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris , appointing  Dr Andrea Johnson and David Cagney in November 2022 to undertake an independent review of current State supports for PhD researchers.

Independent Report on Supports for PhD Researchers in Ireland


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said:

“I am pleased to receive this independent report about how we can better support PhD researchers in Ireland.

“I would like to thank Dr Johnson and Mr Cagney, as well as all stakeholders who have so constructively engaged with the process.

“This marks an inflection point in our thinking on many critical issues for PhD researchers and how we can better support them to contribute to the realisation of Impact 2030’s vision.”

The Co-Chairs have prioritised pressing challenges facing PhD researchers in terms of stipend levels and the particular issues being encountered by PhD researchers coming to Ireland from outside the EU or EEA. They have therefore concentrated on these in their first report. With its publication today, they will now focus on how best to progress making recommendations on the outstanding elements of the terms of reference in their concluding report.

Impact 2030, Ireland’s national research and innovation strategy, sets the ambition of Ireland becoming a global leader in nurturing, attracting and retaining talent to drive research and innovation in our higher education and research system, enterprises, communities and public services.

In order to advance this and to foster a consistent research student experience, the Co-Chairs undertook an extensive stakeholder consultation process, with over 750 written submissions received and 35 stakeholder meetings held with PhD researcher groups, higher education institutions, research funders, trade unions, enterprise representative bodes and relevant international counterparts.


In the report, the Co-Chairs recommend an increased stipend level, with an optimum target of €25,000.


They acknowledge the potential ramifications of any such change on public finances and recognise that significant additional work will be needed in order give effect to such a recommendation.


Speaking upon submission of their first report to the Minister, Dr Johnson and Mr Cagney said:

“We were delighted to be invited by the Minister to undertake this independent review.


“Our PhD researcher community is a vital element of Ireland’s research talent pipeline; they are our future researchers and innovators across all parts of society and the economy.”


This first report provides a rich picture, at a point in time, of a range of important issues that now need to be considered by all stakeholders.

Any budgetary implications of recommendations will be dealt with through the normal budgetary processes.

Full PhD review report

Read the full report here:

Image: None

PhD Review – First Report



Researcher of the Year Awards 2023
Doctorate in Governance (DGov) at Institute of Public Administration


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