Two NUI Galway academics have been admitted as new members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin recently. Professor Steven Ellis and Professor Adrian Frazier were among only 22 academics in Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction
Steven Ellis is Professor of History at NUI Galway. His publications over three decades have made a major contribution to our understanding of the political, religious and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Ireland, and have established him as an internationally recognised authority on the history of frontier societies.
Adrian Frazier is Professor of English at NUI Galway. His work on modern Irish literature has opened up new fields of inquiry in territories often passed over: introducing new historicism to the study of Irish theatre; re-introducing George Moore to a world that had forgotten him; and bringing alive the story of Abbey actors working with John Ford in Hollywood.
Congratulating the awardees, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at NUI Galway. I am very proud to see the work of my colleagues, Professors Adrian Frazier and Steven Ellis recognised by the Royal Irish Academy. Admission to the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland. It is a testament to the calibre of our staff and research to see the work of two of our finest humanities scholars honoured in this way”.
RIA President, Professor Luke Drury, urged the government to make greater use of the resources available to it in the academic community, so that it can develop new and creative solutions and avoid the danger of ‘group think’, saying: “At a time when trust in public institutions has been greatly undermined, we need reassurance that government is receiving good advice on what it should do and how it should do it. The State can, and should, turn to the academic community for expert advice, at far less cost than commissioning expensive consultants, and thereby support genuinely independent and occasionally critical voices.”
For 227 years, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 466 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. Members of the Academy include: Seamus Heaney, Frances Ruane (ESRI), Mary Robinson, Patrick Cunningham (ESOF Dublin 2012), Maurice Manning (NUI Chancellor), Patrick Honohan (Central Bank), Mary Canning (HEA) and writer and cartographer Tim Robinson.