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Royal Irish Academy honours UCD academics

Monday, 08 June, 2015 


Pictured at the RIA (l-r): Professor Ian O’Donnell,  Professor Orla Feely, Professor Andrew J Deeks; Professor Geraldine Butler and Professor Nicholas Daly.

Pictured at the RIA (l-r): Professor Ian O’Donnell, Professor Orla Feely, Professor Andrew J Deeks; Professor Geraldine Butler and Professor Nicholas Daly.

Four UCD professors, in the disciplines of science, engineering, arts and law, have been elected to the ranks of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements.

This is the highest academic honour in Ireland and membership is reserved for those who have achieved distinction in education and research.

The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) is Ireland’s premier learned body and it promotes distinction in scholarship, recognises achievements in learning and direct research programmes and carries out its own research projects, particularly in areas relating to Ireland and its heritage.

Professor at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Conway Institute and Nicholas Daly, Professor of Modern English and American Literature at UCD and Chair of Modern English and American Literature at the UCD School of English, Drama and Film.

Nicholas Daly is Professor of Modern English and American Literature at UCD and is Chair of Modern English and American Literature at the UCD School of English, Drama and Film.

His major scholarly contribution is to 19th- and 20th-century literary and cultural studies, particularly in three widely praised monographs published by Cambridge University Press. He is currently working on a book entitled ‘The Demographic Imagination and the Nineteenth-Century City’.

Ian O’Donnell is Professor of Criminology at the UCD Sutherland School of Law. Criminology is a diverse, interdisciplinary field, and Professor O’Donnell has contributed across its entire range, but with a particular focus on penology and criminal justice history.

He has published 10 books and almost 100 articles. His latest book ‘Prisoners, Solitude and Time’ (Oxford University Press, 2014) explores how isolated prisoners cope with the passage of time.

Geraldine Butler is a Professor at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Conway Institute). She is an expert on the genomics, evolution and virulence of pathogenic yeasts.

She led an international consortium that sequenced the genomes of eight Candida species, and that research was published in ‘Nature’ in 2009. She has pioneered high throughput gene knockout technology for Candida parapsilosis, a pathogen affecting newborn infants.

Orla Feely is Professor of Electronic Engineering at the UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering and is the UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact. She has served as Chair of the Irish Research Council and has a worldwide reputation as a leading researcher in nonlinear electrical circuit theory and its applications. In recognition of this, she was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the first Irish woman to achieve this distinction.

The new members signed the Academy roll book at the Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street in a centuries old tradition. President of UCD Professor Andrew J Deeks also attended the ceremony.

Professor Mary E. Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said that all those elected had made world renowned contributions to research in the sciences or humanities.

“Irish scholars are highly sought after and are increasingly being headhunted for top positions in leading universities and research centres throughout the world,” she said.

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,” she added.

The other new members of the Royal Irish Academy are: Humanities and Social Sciences: Lorraine Byrne Bodley (Maynooth University); Colum Hourihane (Formerly of Princeton University); Alvin Jackson (University of Edinburgh); Desmond King (University of Oxford); Rob Kitchin (Maynooth University); Anthony McElligott (University of Limerick); Bernadette Whelan (University of Limerick).

Science: David Coleman (TCD); Jonathan Coleman (TCD); Henry Curran (NUI Galway); Orla Hardiman (TCD); Christopher Hunter (University of Cambridge); Steve Myers (CERN); Martin Naughton (Glen Dimplex); Matthew Zepf (Queens University Belfast).

Since its foundation in 1785, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland. 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, former Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland; Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank; Roy Foster, historian; and the writer and cartographer Tim Robinson.



(Produced by UCD University Relations)