Overview of the UK and Ireland Institutional Research Network (HEIR)

The UK and Ireland Institutional Research Network (HEIR) is a network of institutional research enthusiasts and practitioners working in the UK and Irish higher education sectors.

The HEIR network’s understanding of institutional research is as follows:

The use of research and enquiry to provide evidence to inform policy, practice and management at all levels within higher education. This includes management information to inform policy and strategy, evaluation and pedagogic research to inform learning and teaching, and using data gathered for different purposes to better understand and manage activities within institutions, including the student experience.

The HEIR network believes that IR is likely to play an increasingly important role in both enhancing learning and teaching practice, as well as providing timely and relevant evidence to aid management decision making at all levels within HEIS.

The activities of the Network are focused on achieving the following four objectives:

  • 1. To build an IR community in the UK and Ireland that can help individuals develop their knowledge and expertise and contribute to the building of capacity for IR across the sector
  • 2. To be a forum for discussion around contemporary issues and for sharing ideas, experiences, practices and solutions to issues and problems
  • 3. To inform HE policy and practice through engaging directly with policy-makers
  • 4. To work with other bodies to aiming to impact on HE policy and practice

The network is coordinated by a Planning Group whose current focus is on providing networking opportunities by organising annual conferences, smaller-scale one-day events, and through developing an online community in the form of a JISCMail discussion list. A web presence is also in the planning phase, and will contain information and resources for those interested in institutional research (e.g. case studies, conference papers, and reports).

So far, the network has organised three successful conferences in Southampton (2008), Sheffield (2009) and Dublin (2010), as well as day events on topics such as “Appreciative Enquiry” and “Engaging with the student experience through Institutional Research”. The 2011 conference at Kingston University will offer another valuable opportunity to Institutional Researchers and those in related professions to disseminate their knowledge, learn from others and build networks.

For general enquiries about the HEIR network, please contact
Helena Lim at

Dates to remember

  • 7th March 2011
    Registration opens
  • 25th March 2011
    Notification of acceptance
  • 6th May 2011
    Early Bird registration ends
  • 3rd June 2011
    Final registration
  • 16th/17th June 2011
    Conference dates

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