Dr Frances Ruane


Frances Ruane is chair of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council; an Honorary Fellow at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and a Research Affiliate at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). An economist, she held academic and senior administrative positions at TCD between 1977 and 2006 and was Director of the ESRI from 2006 to 2015. Her research interests are in economic development, international economics and public policy, and she has published widely in these areas. 

Frances was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2003 and served as President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland from 2016-2019 and as President of the Irish Economic Association from 2000-2002. Over her academic career, she has contributed to the work of various EU and international bodies and has been a visitor at several universities in the USA and Canada, including MIT in Boston, University of California at Berkeley and Queens University in Ontario. 

Frances has previously served as Chair of the National Statistics Board and has been a Board Member of various public bodies in Ireland, including the National Board for Science and Technology, the Industrial Development Authority, Forfás (the national policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation in Ireland), Bord Gáis Eireann, the Higher Education Authority, the Health Research Board and the Commission of the National Pensions Reserve Fund. 

Frances studied Economics at University College Dublin where she obtained a BA and an MA, and at Oxford University, where she was awarded an MPhil and a DPhil. 

Frances is currently Chair of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre. She was born in Tuam, Co Galway.


  • Plenary 8: Measuring progress: what is the potential and what are the limits of national wellbeing frameworks? How should we consider competitiveness, and define economic progress?