Ned Costello


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Ned Costello

Tel: +353-1-6764948

Ned Costello is Chief Executive of the Irish Universities Association, and an ex officio member of the IUA Council.

In addition to the general management and leadership of the IUA executive, he has specific responsibility for supporting the work of the Council. He also leads the Research, Technology and Innovation, and Human Resources functions within IUA and supports the relevant IUA standing committees in this regard.

He originally qualified as a primary teacher and also spent a period working in sales and marketing in the private sector. Prior to taking up his position at the IUA, he spent the majority of his career as a civil servant at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment where he worked in a range of functions spanning research and innovation, industrial policy, labour market and training policy and strategic planning. Some key initiatives during his tenure at the Department for which he was responsible include the Industrial Development Acts, 1993 and 1998 (and associated restructuring of the enterprise agencies); the National Training Fund Act, 2000; the report of the Taskforce on Lifelong Learning 2002, and Ireland’s Employment Action Plans during the early 2000’s. He was a member of the EU Employment Committee and also served on the board of Enterprise Ireland. Currently he is a member of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs.

In the research and innovation area, he was responsible for the development of a number of initiatives to secure ERDF funding for higher education-based research under the Industry Operational Programmes during the 1990s. These included the formulation and establishment of the Programmes in Advanced Technology and capital support for a range of university research facilities. He subsequently returned to the research policy sphere as Assistant Secretary General in the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation where he was head of delegation during Ireland’s 2004 Presidency of the EU. Nationally, he lead the development of the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation and the investment framework underpinning it, while also serving on the boards of Science Foundation Ireland and the Tyndall National Institute. During his tenure at the IUA, he has served as a member of the Government’s Innovation Taskforce and has contributed to the development of the Intellectual Property protocol and the establishment of the Central Technology Transfer Office. He is a member of the national High Level Group on Horizon 2020. He has a particular interest in the evolution of (and role played by) science, technology and innovation in the competitive advantage of nations.

Ned studied English Literature and Education at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, graduating with a B.Ed. (Hons), and holds a Diploma in Business Studies from the Irish Management Institute and an MSc in Strategic Management from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. His external interests include current affairs, technology, the creative arts generally; and music, visual art and architecture, specifically. He has also been known to cycle a bicycle occasionally and to have an affinity for all things automotive.