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Dr Marc Caball appointed as Director of UCD Humanities Institute of Ireland.

Former Director of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS), Dr Marc Caball has been appointed as Director of the UCD Humanities Institute of Ireland.

The Institute was established at UCD in 2001, under the Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI), to provide a new environment for research in the humanities. With extensive experience in research policy formulation at national and European level, Dr Caball is perfectly poised to drive the Humanities Institute of Ireland successfully towards achieving its mission objective.

Appointed first director of the IRCHSS in 2001, Dr Caball significantly diversified the Research Council’s range of programmes and activities. Through an interlinked portfolio of research funding schemes encompassing both junior and senior researchers and research teams, the IRCHSS transformed the environment for research in the humanities and social sciences in Ireland. During his term at the Research Council, Dr Caball prioritised strategies that enhanced critical mass and research impact in terms of the broader contribution of the humanities and social sciences to Ireland’s economic, social and cultural growth. By means of thematic focus on research areas which included innovation and society, public policy and social change, and identity and culture, Dr Caball worked to integrate the humanities and social sciences more fully within debates and policy formulation linked to Ireland’s evolution as a knowledge economy. Under his direction, the Research Council created many new professional opportunities for young researchers through the Government of Ireland Post-Graduate and Post-Doctoral Schemes.

In addition to strengthening infrastructures for humanities and social science research at national level, Dr Caball has also prioritised the development of new platforms for Irish researchers, both intellectually and financially, within the European Research Area. Under his direction, the Research Council secured European Union funding under the Sixth Framework Programme (ERA-NET) to participate in networks of European research councils for the humanities and social sciences. The membership of the Research Council in these networks has provided new funding and professional opportunities for Irish researchers. Involvement in such networks has also enabled the Research Council to benchmark its operational practices, especially with regard to peer review, to the highest European standards. Dr Caball also expanded the Research Council’s involvement in the European Science Foundation’s programmes and networks.

In addition to serving on several key national research policy committees and task forces, he acted as chairman of the Standing Committee of Research Funding Bodies during 2004/5. He is a member of the Programme Committee for Priority 7 (Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society) of the EU Sixth Framework Programme and of the intergovernmental COST Technical Committee for the Social Sciences and Humanities. He is on the management teams of ERA-NET projects in the social sciences and humanities and currently serves on the Funders’ Forum for the European Social Survey. He is co-editor of Social Science in the Knowledge Society: Research Policy in Ireland (Dublin, 2004).

A former Research Scholar at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dr Caball was previously Director of the Ireland Literature Exchange and Development Officer at UCD. His research interests centre on the cultural history of early modern Ireland. He is the author of Poets and Politics: Reaction and Continuity in Irish Poetry, 1558-1625 (Cork University Press/University of Notre Dame Press, 1998). He holds a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford and an MBS degree in management and organisational studies from UCD. In 2004, Dr Caball was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Under the direction of Dr Marc Caball, the Humanities Institute of Ireland will develop and implement a series of interdisciplinary research programmes under the theme: Identity, Memory and Meaning in the Twenty-First Century. The programmes will be supported by the development of an Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive. Launched in 2005, this major digitisation and digital object management project is conceived as a means both to preserve elements of UCD’s main repositories and to increase and facilitate access to this material through the adoption of digitisation technologies and dedicated research into the area of publishing and enhancing the use of digital objects in a research environment.

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