Globalisation and the Primacy of Economics
The repositioning of higher education as a key driver of knowledge based economic development intensified in the early twenty-first century, informed by globalisation, international competition and ultimately economic crisis. The most notable policy changes prioritised more intensive engagement by HEIs with industry and deployment of market mechanisms on a large scale for the first time to achieve national objectives. The contemporary period saw the adoption by Irish political elites, executive agencies and even institutional leaders of a dominant paradigm marked by managerialism, commercialisation and rationalisation, which demanded internal reform within HEIs and ultimately external reconfiguration to create a more globally competitive higher education sector. Following the economic crash in 2007–2008, the primacy of knowledge based economic imperatives sidelined almost all other considerations in an era of renewed austerity.