NUI Galway academic appointed to prestigious European Research Council

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The European Commission has appointed Professor Nicholas Canny of NUI Galway to the governing body of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC). The ERC is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. Professor Canny is the first person from Ireland to be appointed a member of the Scientific Council, the ERC's governing body. The ERC Scientific Council was established by the European Commission in 2005 and is composed of 22 distinguished scientists and scholars from all over Europe, including some Nobel Prize winners. With a budget of € 7.5 billion to spend on scientific research, the ERC defines the scientific funding strategy and methodologies for Europe, and acts on behalf of the scientific community to promote creativity and innovative research. Speaking about his appointment, Professor Canny said: "I am surprised and delighted by the invitation to be the first person from Ireland to serve on the 22 person governing board of the European Research Council. While I am a little daunted by the challenge, I consider it an honour for myself personally, for NUI Galway and the Royal Irish Academy with which I have been associated for so long, and for the entire research community in Ireland. I am particularly pleased that the selection committee decided in favour of somebody from Ireland to represent the interests and perspectives of European researchers in Humanities and Social Science disciplines" Professor Nicholas Canny is Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities at NUI Galway and President of the Royal Academy. His 1976 study The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: a Pattern Established, 1565-76 brought him to international attention. It was awarded the Irish Historical Research prize, as was his more recent work on Irish History Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford, 2001). He has also published extensively on Europe's relations with the wider world, and edited the first volume of The Oxford History of the British Empire. His next book the Oxford Handbook of Atlantic History, c1450-c1840, which he has co-edited with Philip Morgan of Johns Hopkins University, will be published March 2011. Nicholas Canny was educated at University College, Galway (now NUI Galway), and at the University of Pennsylvania, and has held post-doctoral appointments at Harvard and Yale Universities, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies. He served in spring 2005 as professeur invité at the École des Hautes Études, Paris and in 2005-2006 was Parnell Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College Cambridge. Internationally renowned as a scholar, Nicholas Canny is the only Irish person to share with Séamus Heaney the distinction of being both a Fellow of the British Academy and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Commenting on the appointment, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said, "The appointment of Professor Canny to the European Research Council is a great personal honour and brings great prestige to the Moore Institute, and to NUI Galway. As the only Irish representative and the only historian on the Council, he will bring a unique perspective to the work of the Research Council. I have no doubt but that his knowledge and expertise will make him a very valuable member of the ERC."
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