BH Associates
Education Consultants


Projects & Reports

Current Projects

2019 - 2020: Independent Commission. “The College of the Future” (UK)

BH Associates has been appointed to the Commission, which is funded by the Gatsby Foundation, UK. The aim is to review and make recommendations regarding the future of Further Education in the UK. The Commission aims to:

·     To shape the pivotal role colleges should play over the next decade in every locality acrossthe four nations  in meeting the  skills needs of the rapidly changing labour market and helping to develop a culture of lifelong learning in all of our communities;

·     To build an understanding and support among stakeholders – employer organisations, unions and the public at large -  of the critical and distinctive function of colleges in delivering high-quality professional and technical education and skills, embedding their role as anchor community assets, central to inclusive economic prosperity and social fairness;

·     To describe the space which colleges can inhabit in relation to other education institutions, public bodies and employers, with a particular focus on place-based approaches to meeting all of the diverse needs of our communities. 

2018-2019: Design a Performance Framework for the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS, Ireland)

The objective is to produce a Performance Framework which can support the quinquennial external review process, and provide a template for reporting annually as appropriate for DIAS. It will be cognisant of the broader context of international best practice and national objectives for research and higher education.

2018-2019: Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi

BH Associates is involved in two inter-related projects for the Sorbonne University UAD. Project 1 concerns designing a new organisational structure, with particular focus on research support office and graduate studies, and including an assessment of staffing needs. Project 2 concerns a review of programme relevance with respect to future skills needs in the region.

2018: Review of Options for a Future National Approach to Journal Subscriptions and e-Resources (HEA, Ireland)

This is a strategic review of options for a future national approach to journal subscriptions and e-resources, by academics, researchers and others in Ireland. The review is being conducted in the context of increasing publisher costs and growing support for open science. The Strategic Review seeks to understand usage, and opportunities and challenges of accessing and using e-journals etc., to set out best practice in the provision of national research e-library services, and to propose strategic options for the future. The ambition is that IReL will grow to become a national research e-library, and the Strategic Review will be an important step in translating this ambition into a realisable and sustainable strategy. 

2018: Comparative Assessment of University Rankings and Education Indicators. Analysing and Complementing U-Multirank (EU) 

Undertake review of global rankings, and identify alternatives indicators to measure teaching and learning/education quality – e.g. a feasibility assessment for the development of new indicators. The project is being undertaken on behalf of the European Commission. 

2018: Policy Options to Support Welsh Universities' Delivery of Civic Mission (WCPP, Wales)

Undertake Review and Provide Expert Advice for the Welsh Centre for Public Policy, and the Welsh Government. The project is looking at policy options to support and encourage higher education institutions' social and economic contributions, regionally and locally, as part of their civic mission. The project is being conducted in partnership with Professor John Goddard, Newcastle University, UK. 


Previous Projects (selected)

2018: Risk Management Identification, Advisory and Mitigation Services in relation to the specific proposal to create a multi-campus Technological University of the South East.

Provide analysis and identification of issues with respect to the merger between Waterford Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology with respect to the proposal to create a Technological University of the South East per the Technological Universities Act, 2018. 

This review is conducted in association with Prospectus Management Consultants. 

2018: Review of HEA and IRC Regulatory Frameworks (Higher Education Authority & Irish Research Council, Ireland)

In the context of a forthcoming review of the legislation of the Higher Education Authority, this review will identify how the regulatory framework for the governance and funding of Higher Education could be developed, strengthened and made more effective in light of national and international regulatory experience.  

2018: Holmes Institute, Australia and Ireland

Provide advice regarding establishing higher education opportunities in Ireland, including quality assurance guidance. 

2018: Higher Education for Smart Specialisation (EU)

Contribution to Handbook on Higher Education and Smart Specialisation, for the Joint Research Centre, Directorate for Growth and Innovation, Unit B3: Territorial Development, European Commission

2017-2018: Review of Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), UK

This is an ENQA-coordinated review of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (, an ENQA member since 2000, which is now applying for renewal of ENQA membership.

Member of Review Panel. 

2018: From Charter to Framework: The Case for Higher Education Provision in Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny County Council engaged BH Associates to explore the case for a substantial higher education provision in Kilkenny city to support the social and economic development of the city, county, and region through the provision, attraction, and retention of graduates with high-level skills.  The report was launched by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

The Report found:

·            There is a convincing educational, social and economic case for locating tertiary/higher education and training provision in Kilkenny with the proposal aligning well with government policy across education –  including meeting growing demand and drawing on policy objectives for technological universities.

·            The proposal also aligns well with regional policy, especially as regards providing counter-weights to Dublin, based on making the South-East region more attractive than it currently is. 

·            The inclusion of Kilkenny as a campus of a multi-campus technological university in the South-East would enhance the development and impact of the university. 

·            Provision should leverage off regional/local expertise and strengths (in craft/design, agriculture, and/or animation – as well as history/culture and heritage/tourism) in order to establish a national centre of excellence so that it strengthens the region’s attractiveness nationally and internationally and builds sustainability.

·            Smart specialisation strategies provide opportunities to deepen partnerships between PACE (agri-tech) and NDIH (design) with enterprise and regional authorities to contribute to, and strengthen, innovation and regional development.

Full Report is available here.

Media coverage is available here: The Irish Times, Kilkenny People, Kilkenny People

2017 - 2018: Mid-Term Review of the Further Education and Training (FET) Strategy, Ireland

The Further Education & Training Strategy, 2014-2019 aims to deliver a higher quality learning experience leading to better outcomes for all those who engage in FET. It presents a roadmap and implementation plan to realise the vision of a world-class integrated system of further education and training in Ireland which will: support economic development; increase social inclusion; and meet the needs of all learners, communities and employers who engage with FET. The FET Strategy is set within a context of Government reform of public services. 

This review was conducted with Prospectus Management Consultants. 

2017 - 2018: Quality Audit, University of Oulu, Finland

Chairperson, Quality Review of the University of Oulu, organised by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). 

The principle of enhancement-led evaluation is a strong tradition in Finnish evaluation practice. The goal is to help HEIs recognise the strengths, good practices and areas in need of development in their operations. The institutions are supported in their efforts to reach their strategic objectives and in directing future development activities in order to create a framework for the institutions continuous development. Audits are implemented in four stages. First, the HEI carries out a self-evaluation and prepares the audit material. Next, a team of experts examines the material and then visits the institution. Finally, the results of the audit are published in the form of a report.

2017-2018: Performance funding in Cypriot Universities

Provision of expertise to the Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus, on the introduction of performance based funding in public universities in Cyprus, supported by the Structural Reform Support Service of the Commission of the European Union.  

2017: Holmes Institute, Australia and Ireland

Review and advice provided regarding opportunities for English-language provision in Ireland, in the context of BREXIT and increasing demand by international students. 

2017: IMF/EC Technical Assistance

Member of a joint International Monetary Fund/European Commission team providing technical assistance to the Government of Slovakia in support of a review of public expenditure in a number of areas of activity, including education.

2015 - 2016: Oversight of Post-Compulsory Education, Wales

Review conducted of post-compulsory education in Wales, with special reference to the future role and function of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). The Terms of Reference included:

A. To review, analyse and document the current arrangements for the oversight of post-compulsory education in Wales, including:
- funding
- governance
- quality assurance / standards of education and training, and
- management of risk.

B. To advise on the effectiveness of current arrangements for the oversight of post-compulsory education in Wales judged by reference to other UK nations, relevant international comparators and research evidence.

C. To make recommendations for the future oversight of post-compulsory education in Wales with particular reference to the role of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and its interface with Estyn.

D. To indicate whether there may be a need for legislation and new or reformed institutional arrangements to take forward future arrangements proposed in the light of this evaluation.

Welsh Government announced acceptance of the recommendations made in the report. 31 January 2017.;,

2016 - 2017: Government Accountability Office (GAO), Higher Education Accreditation, Washington DC.

Expert Opinion provided for US government review of accreditation practices and procedures in the US and internationally. Ellen Hazelkorn was also a member of the committee on “Quality Higher Education:  What Does It Mean, How Is It Measured, And Who Decides?”, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, US, 2015-2016

2015 - 2016: Evaluation & Development of Higher Education Ranking System, Ministry of Education, UAE

Review and assessment undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the proposed ranking system in the UAE, the strengths and weaknesses of the ranking methodologies, the weights assigned to different indicators and their impact on driving the overall quality of higher education in the UAE.

The examination included the following:

•       Assessment of the current environment of higher education in the UAE and the purpose behind the development of a national ranking system for universities and colleges. 

•       Examination of the proposed ranking system of higher education, its methodology, indicators and weights, and its effectiveness in improving the quality of the outcomes of the universities and colleges and their contribution to the economic and cultural development of the nation. 

•       Assess the validity and reliability of the proposed ranking system in measuring the contribution made by a variety of institutions (research and non-research based) of higher education with different educational missions.   

•       Provide benchmarking and alignment analysis of the proposed UAE higher education ranking system against the best in the world and countries with similar higher education context.

•       Provide recommendations for improving the methodology, indicators and the weights given to various categories measuring the performance of higher education institutions. 

•       Provide an action plan to phase in the implementation of the newly established higher education ranking system in the UAE by an independent agency. 

2015 Finnish Review of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland

Chairperson of the International Panel of Experts. 

The International Panel was asked to review the Finnish Higher Education System in order to analyze its strengths and weaknesses and identify proposals to improve the higher education system and strengthen Finland’s innovation system. 

  • · What are the main characteristics of the Finnish Higher Education (HE) system and how has the system developed over the last decade? How has the system dealt with the major policy trends?

  • · How does the Finnish HE system perform in terms of the three missions (education, research and utilization)? How does the Finnish system score compare to other European countries? In which domains it is leading and in which domains it is under-performing?

  • · What are the (perceived) bottlenecks in the system? What are the (perceived) strengths of the system?

  • · Is the Finnish HE system “future proof”? What are the major trends and (internal and external) developments that will influence the Finnish HE system? In which way will it influence the system? What is the appropriate way to react to these developments?

  • · What is the way forward for the Finnish HE system? Which development proposals should be implemented

2013 - 2014 Strategic Review of the ISAT Alliance (Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Savonia University of Applied Sciences), Finland

Strategic review undertaken to identify the value-added component of the ISAT Alliance priorities and how the two universities can best benefit from them in terms of RDI, education, and regional development. The objectives of the evaluation were: 

  •  To evaluate the implementation of the ISAT strategy with focus on ISAT priorities;

  •  To evaluate the value-added of ISAT priorities

  • To make recommendations to strengthen the ISAT Alliances, and regional engagement.

2010 - 2011   Assessment of “Faculty for the Future Fellows” Programme, Schlumberger Foundation, Paris

Expert Assessment of the Admissions Criteria and Procedures for the Graduate Research and Post-Doctoral Research Scholarship Programme and to make recommendations to improve the system so that it best meets the objectives of the programme. 

The programme aims to support women in STEM disciplines from emerging and developing countries engaged in post-graduate studies. Fellows are expected to return to their home countries after completion of their studies to contribute to economic, social and technological advancement by strengthening the STEM teaching and research faculties of their home institutions, and also to pursue positions in the public sector where their newly acquired technical and scientific skills can help provide evidence-based support for STEM policy making. In so doing, they become powerful role models and help to inspire other girls and women to pursue scientific careers.