Jun 02 2015 Posted: 12:21 IST

NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran has been admitted as a new member of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin recently. This year Professor Curran was one of only 19 academics to receive Ireland’s highest academic distinction.

Engineers, historians and a criminologist were among the nineteen new Members of the Royal Irish Academy who were announced on Friday last.


The new members who signed the Academy roll book at 4pm on 29 May, in a centuries old tradition, included Steve Myers, who was the Director of Accelerators at CERN when the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012; Martin Naughton,who is one of Ireland’s leading innovators and philanthropists; Orla Feely, who was the first Irish woman elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; and Bernadette Whelan, a leading scholar in the history of Irish–American relations.

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 Professor Curran 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 one of our finest science scholars honoured in this way.”

Professor Mary E. Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said that all those elected ‘have made world renowned contributions to research in the sciences or humanities...Irish scholars are highly sought after and are increasingly being head-hunted for top positions in leading universities and research centres throughout the world’. She warned that Ireland needed to retain this talent so that we can produce the high-level graduates that are critical for Ireland’s economic recovery. 

 

‘Funding does not of itself guarantee a strong higher education system, but without adequate funding and long-term assurance about the continuation of research funds, the sector is, and will increasingly be, faced with a brain drain.’

  

2015 is the 230th anniversary of the Royal Irish Academy—Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities. Since its foundation in 1785, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland. Those elected use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name.

 

There are now 493 members of the Academy and 76 honorary members, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Members of the Academy include President Michael D. Higgins; Baroness Nuala O’Loan; Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank; Roy Foster, historian; and the writer and cartographer Tim Robinson.

 

At the enrolment ceremony today was the British Ambassador Mr Dominick Chilcott and former Minister for Education and Skills Mr Ruairí Quinn. Also in attendance was Professor Philip Nolan (President of Maynooth University), Professor Andrew Deeks (President of UCD) and Professor Brian MacCraith (President of DCU).

 

ENDS

 

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