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Kevin Heanue

Evaluation Officer

Research Interests

Kevin Heanue is Teagasc’s Evaluation Officer and has three main responsibilities. First, to develop, co-ordinate and conduct evaluations of Teagasc’s research, advisory and education programmes focused on improving relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and value for money. Second, to lead, guide and manage the strengthening of the evaluation role within Teagasc and the organisation’s evaluation strategy, capabilities, policies, methods, practices and instruments. Third, to develop and lead a research programme on evaluation capacity building, evaluation frameworks, tools and methods.

An economist by training, prior to becoming Evaluation Officer he led a research programme in Teagasc’s Rural Economy & Development Programme using mixed methods to understand aspects of the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) such as the specific innovation systems that support farmers’ capabilities building; farmers’ technology and best practice adoption; and the evaluation of knowledge transfer and extension programmes and methods. Prior to joining Teagasc, Kevin was in Dublin City University Business School and before that worked in the private sector as an economic consultant and strategist to Irish government departments, semi-state agencies, national representative organisations and private clients.

His career research topics, publications and PhD supervision include evaluation; agricultural and rural innovation; industrial, agricultural & forestry innovation systems; technology adoption and knowledge transfer; agricultural sustainability; rural enterprise support and development; rural housing; education in rural areas; rural development; community radio; industrial & enterprise policy; innovation in low and medium technology enterprises; competition issues.

Kevin has independently secured €1.24million and collaboratively secured another €598,364 in research and development funding from competitive European Union and Irish sources and a further €3million in local development project funding from Irish government and Irish and international philanthropic sources. 

He is an active leader in rural local development and is Executive Chairman of Connemara West one of Ireland’s longest established and most successful rural community development organisations; the Teagasc nominee on the Board of Forum Connemara CLG (one of only 4 Local Action Groups in Ireland); board member of 3 other Irish local development organisations and one US-based non-profit organisation. 

Kevin holds adjunct positions at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.  He is an associate of The Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, National University of Ireland, Galway

Current Projects

2020-2022: Lead Researcher and Task Leader: Generational Renewal Policy Design and Evaluation Process (Task 6) and Developing the Early Career Farmer Barometer (Task 2.4), Rural Generational Renewal 2050 (RENEW2050) project funded by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)

2019-2021: Designing and piloting a customised evaluation framework for Teagasc Research Programmes and Advisory Services, core funded.

2017 – ongoing: Leader of Teagasc team in Strategic Partnership with AgResearch (New Zealand), INIA (Uruguay) and IRTA (Spain) and SRUC (Scotland) researching how to build evaluation capacity in agricultural research organisations.

2015-2018: Principal Investigator, Craft Reach Project, funded by the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA)

2014-2017: Member of project team for Horizon 2020 Coordination & Support Action project, AgriSPIN

2014-2016: Principal Investigator, Early Career Farmer Barometer and Observatory, Teagasc core funded.

2013-2015: Principal Investigator, Joint Ventures to Enhance the Demographic Profile and Socio-Economic Sustainability of Irish Farming, Joint FIRM/RSF Initiative, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)

2013-2015: Project Coordinator, Understanding and Facilitating Farmers’ Adoption of Technologies, Joint FIRM/RSF Initiative, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)

2011-2014: Principal Investigator, Craft International, EU Northern Periphery Programme

2012-2015: Principal Investigator. Understanding Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc core funded. 


PhD Economics (DCU);

MA Economics (NUI, Galway);

BA. Economics & Sociology, (NUI, Galway)

Professional Membership

American Evaluation Association (Member)

Regional Studies Association (Fellow)

Agricultural Economics Society UK (Member)

Irish representative on the EU SCAR AKIS strategic working group.

Russell, T., Breen, J., Gorman, M. and Heanue, K.  (2020) Advisors perceptions of their role in supporting farm succession and inheritance, The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 26:5, 485-496, 

Cawley, A., O'Donoghue, C., Heanue, K., Hilliard, R. and M. Sheehan (2019) The impact of agricultural knowledge transfer resources on farm level profitability during the economic recession - a quantitative study, Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 25(2): 1-17

Faure, G., Knierim, A., Koutsouris, A., Ndah, H. T., Audouin, S., Zarokosta, E., Wielinga, E., Triomphe, B., Mathé, S., Temple, L., and Heanue, K. (2019)  How to strengthen innovation support services in agriculture with regard to multi-stakeholder approaches,  Journal of Innovation Economics and Management, 1, No. 28, pp. 145-169 

John J. Hyland, Kevin Heanue, Jessica McKillop, Evgenia Micha (2018) Factors influencing dairy farmers’ adoption of best management grazing practices, Land Use Policy 78 (2018) 562–571

Anthony Cawley, Cathal O’Donoghue, Kevin Heanue, Rachel Hilliard, Maura Sheehan (2018) The Impact of Extension Services on Farm-level Income: An Instrumental Variable Approach to Combat Endogeneity Concerns, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, ppx062, https://doi.org/10.1093/aepp/ppx062

John J. Hyland, Kevin Heanue, Jessica McKillop, Evgenia Micha (2018) Factors underlying farmers' intentions to adopt best practices: The case of paddock based grazing systems, Agricultural Systems 162 (2018) 97–106 https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1WX15,70zHVXiw

Jessica McKillop, Kevin Heanue & Jim Kinsella (2018) Are all young farmers the same? An exploratory analysis of on-farm innovation on dairy and drystock farms in the Republic of Ireland, The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 24:2, 137-151, https://doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2018.1432494

V. Upton, M. Ryan, K. Heanue, Á. Ní Dhubháin (2017) The role of extension and forest characteristics in understanding the management decisions of new forest owners in Ireland, Forest Policy and Economics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2017.09.016

Evgenia Micha, Kevin Heanue, John J. Hyland, Thia Hennessy, Emma Jane Dillon and Cathal Buckley (2017) Sustainability levels in Irish dairy farming: a farm typology according to sustainable performance indicators, Studies in Agricultural Economics, 119, 62-69, https://doi.org/10.7896/j.1706

Emma Jane Dillon, Thia Hennessy, Peter Howley, John Cullinan, Kevin Heanue & Anthony Cawley (2017) Routine inertia and reactionary response in animal health best practice, Agric Hum Values https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-017-9817-5

Howley P, Dillon E, Heanue K, Meredith D. (2017) Worth the Risk? The Behavioural Path to Well-Being. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 68(2):534-552; doi 10.1111/1477-9552.12202. 

O’Donoghue, C and Heanue, K. (2016) The Impact of Formal Agricultural Education on Farm Level Innovation and Management Practices, Journal of Technology Transfer,43, 844–863 

E. Kelly, K. Heanue, C.O’Gorman and C. Buckley (2016) High rates of regular soil testing by Irish dairy farmers but nationally soil fertility is declining: Factors influencing national and voluntary adoption, International Journal of Agricultural Management, 5, 4, 106-114, https://doi.org/10.5836/ijam/2016-05-106 

Cathal O’Donoghue, Alistair McKinstry, Stuart Green, Reamonn Fealy, Kevin Heanue, Mary Ryan, Kevin Connolly, JC Desplat, Brendan Horan, Paul Crosson (2016)  Developing a Big Data Analytical Solution to Low Farmer Engagement with Financial Management, International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, Vol.19, Issue A, pp.131-154

McDonald, R., Heanue, K., Pierce, K and Horan, B. (2016) Factors Influencing New Entrant Dairy Farmer's Decision-making Process around Technology Adoption, Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, Vol.22, No.2, 163-177, April.  DOI:10.1080/1389224X.2015.1026364

O'Donoghue, C., Geoghegan, Cathal, Heanue, K and Meredith, D. (2014). The Economic Structure of Towns in Ireland. Journal of Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland Vol  XL111 pp 114- 135  ISSN 0081-4776  32629

C. Devitt, K. McKenzie, S.J. More, K. Heanue, F. McCoy (2013) Opportunities and constraints to improving milk quality in Ireland: Enabling change through collective action, Journal of Dairy Science, April 2013(Vol. 96, Issue 4, pp.2661-2670)

Heanue, K. P. and Macken-Walsh, A., (2012) Static Structures and Dynamic Processes of Participation and Access: A Case Study of Connemara Community Radio, Irish Communications Review, 13, 99-115.

Heanue, K., O’Donohue, K. and O’Neill, M. (2012) Rural Economic Development Through Collective Action, Administration, 60 (2), pp. 3-25

Hennessy, T. and Heanue, K. (2012) Quantifying the Effect of Discussion Group Membership on Technology Adoption and Farm Profit on Dairy Farms, Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 18.1, 41-54.

Howley, P., O’Donoghue, C., and Heanue, K. (2012) Factors Affecting Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations: A Panel Data Analysis of the Use of Artificial Insemination among Dairy Farmers in Ireland. Journal of Agricultural Science, 4, (6), pp 171-179.

Heanue, K. P., & Jacobson, D, (2008) Embeddedness and Innovation in Low and Medium Tech Rural Enterprises, Irish Geography, Vol 41. No. 1. March, 113-137

Heanue, K. (2006) The Need for Social Housing in Peripheral Rural Areas, Administration, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp.3-21

Jacobson, D. & Heanue, K. (2005) Policy conclusions and recommendations of the PILOT project. In: G. Bender, D. Jacobson & P. Robertson (eds.), Non-Research-Intensive Industries in the Knowledge Economy. Perspectives on Economic Political and Social Integration. Special Issue I.

Heanue, K., and Jacobson, D. (2002) Organizational Proximity and Institutional Learning: The Evolution of a Spatially Dispersed Network in the Irish Furniture Industry, International Studies of Management & Organizations Vol. 31, No. 4. Winter 2001-2002, pp.56-73.

Heanue, K., (1998), The Affordability Gap for Housing in Peripheral Rural Areas, Administration, 46 (2), Summer, 47-64.

Ciara O’Donovan (2017-2018) Developing Proxy Indicators of Farm Profitability and Efficiency Measurements and Farmer Quality of Life for Knowledge Transfer use on Irish Dairy and Beef Farms, co-supervised by Dr. James Breen, University College Dublin, Masters project funded by Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Scheme

Peter Grogan (2015-2017) An Approach to Building Effective Agricultural Advisor - Client Relationships, co-supervised by Dr. Monica Gorman, University College Dublin, Masters project funded by Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Scheme

Anthony Cawley (2014-2018) Understanding Knowledge Transfer. Co-supervised by Professor Maura Sheehan & Dr Rachel Hilliard, Dept Management, NUIG. Four year PhD project funded by Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Scheme. Total funding €88,000

Tomas Russell (2014-2017) Farm Succession and Inheritance, an Extension Approach to Supporting Farm Family Decision Making, co-supervised by Dr Monica Gorman and Dr James Breen, UCD, Funded PhD Project funded by Teagasc’s Walsh Scholarship Scheme

Jessica McKillop (2010-2014) Young Farmer Innovation Practices for Rural Development. Co-supervised by Dr. Jim Kinsella, UCD. Four year PhD project funded by Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Scheme. Total funding €88,000

Edel Kelly (2010-2014) The Adoption of Management Technologies in the Irish Dairy Sector. Co-supervised by Professor Colm O’Gorman, DCU. Four year PhD project funded by Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Scheme. Total funding €88,000

Christina Ryan (2010-2014). Improving the Innovation Performance of Ireland’s Dairy Industry: An Innovation Systems Approach. Co-supervised by Dr. Frank Devitt, NUIM. Four year PhD project funded by Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Scheme. Total funding €88,000