2016 News Archive

New Members of the Royal Irish Academy announced

Monday, 30 May, 2016 

Five UCD researchers are amongst the newly elected members of the RIA.

Five UCD researchers are amongst the newly elected members of the RIA.

The enrolment of 22 world-renowned scientists and academics took place recently at the Royal Irish Academy – Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities.

Amongst the newly elected members are five esteemed researchers from UCD: Paul Devereaux, Frédéric Dias, Walter Kolch, Diane Negra and Emma Teeling.

Election to membership of the Royal Irish Academy, which has occurred annually since 1785, is the highest academic honour in Ireland. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. There are now 497 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Mary E. Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy, called on the new Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, to introduce an Action Plan for Higher Education. Professor Daly said that ‘the steady erosion of funding per student and the failure to invest in infrastructure has brought higher education to a crisis point requiring such an emergency action plan. No system can sustain a 38% decline in state grants (2007/8-2014/5) and at the same time absorb a 25% increase in student numbers’, she said.

‘Ireland and Iceland are the only two countries in the OECD where real expenditure on higher education per student dropped since the 2008 crash. Ireland cannot afford to be such an outlier in higher education. The sector needs a cross- government initiative, setting out clear actions and targets, which mobilises all the relevant government departments’.

The following Honorary Members were also announced: 

  • Garret A. FitzGerald (University of Pennsylvania);
  • Conor A. Gearty (London School of Economics);
  • Fabiola Giannoti (Director General, CERN);
  • Sir Paul M. Nurse (Francis Crick Institute);
  • Louise M. Richardson (Vice-chancellor, University of Oxford);
  • Timothy Williamson (University of Oxford);
  • Clair Wills (Princeton University).

Professor Mary Daly was quoting from the Royal Irish Academy Advice paper on the Future funding of higher education in Ireland [PDF].

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