Six higher level education institutions are being given more than €830,000 each in recognition of their work on issues ranging from access for under-represented groups to education, as well as around domestic and gender-based violence.
The €5 million fund can be used by the institutes to expand and progress existing initiatives or develop new ones.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said the awards were about recognising "outstanding performance in higher education" and the institutions selected were "making a significant and lasting impact in Irish society".
Six institutions were selected from 18 applicants and each will receive €833,333.
Dundalk Institute of Technology was selected for the country's first accredited programme for frontline staff on how to recognise and respond to domestic abuse.
Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology was given the fund for its national animation campaign on the issues of consent, sexual violence and harassment, and bystander intervention.
The money was provided to NUI Galway for initiatives with Further Education and Training (FET) learners, people with disabilities and members of the Travelling community.
South East Technological University was chosen as a recipient for providing access to higher education programmes to those participating in the charity Tiglin's addiction recovery services.
The fund was also provided to UCD Energy Institute for its work on the decarbonisation of energy, as well as the University of Limerick for delivering apprenticeships at higher levels including the world's first apprenticeship at doctoral level.
Chairman of Tiglin Aubrey McCarthy welcomed the funding being allocated to South East Technological University, describing it as "life changing" and said it would "inspire a new wave of people to access education and to do so on equal terms".