IRC Medal of Excellence named in honour of UCD Historian Professor Maurice Bric

Posted December 08, 2017

The Irish Research Council (IRC) has named one of its newly introduced Medals of Excellence in honour of Professor Maurice Bric from the UCD School of History, University College Dublin.

Named after former Chairs of the Irish Research Council, the medals recognise achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS). They will be awarded annually.

“Maurice Bric was highly influential in the establishment of the Irish Research Council and its predecessors,” said Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact.

“These Councils transformed the Irish research landscape, and research nationally would be immeasurably poorer without them.  I am delighted that Maurice’s outstanding contribution is now recognised in the form of the medal named in his honour.”

The inaugural IRC Maurice J Bric Medal of Excellence in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, has been awarded to Dr Dan O'Brien, UCD School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the arts, humanities and social sciences category. Dr O’Brien’s research is on the intertwining fiction of Philip Roth and Edna O'Brien.

Professor Bric was the driving force behind the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS), during its formative years. His Bric Report, submitted in 1999, made the case to Government to establish and fund the system of research councils which exists to this day. Under his stewardship, the Council transformed the landscape in Ireland for research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Pictured top (l-r): Medal recipient Dr Dan O'Brien and Professor Maurice Bric at the award ceremony

In 2012, the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) was later merged with the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (IRCSET) to form the Irish Research Council (IRC).

Professor Bric identified the importance of providing structured and funded support to young scholars, in the form of postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral awards.

He also pioneered funding of large research projects for established academics. This support has had a major impact on scholarship, enabling researchers in Ireland to develop their profile and achieve international recognition.

He negotiated Ireland’s initial membership of the European Science Foundation and subsequently chaired the EU Advisory Committee on the Humanities as well as co-founded HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area).

Professor Bric is a long-standing member of the faculty of the UCD School of History, University College Dublin. He is a renowned scholar of Irish-American history.

The three other IRC Medals of Excellence are named in honour of Professor Eda Sagarra, Trinity College Dublin; Professor Jane Grimson, Trinity College Dublin and Professor Thomas Mitchell, Trinity College Dublin.

By: Dominic Martella, UCD University Relations