Call for Ireland to maintain strong research links with UK after Brexit

Royal Irish Academy admits 28 new members

The Government's Brexit Strategy should seek to preserve the closest possible research links between Ireland and the UK, according to the president of the Royal Irish Academy, Prof Peter Kennedy.

The strength of the current relationship was reflected in the scale of research collaborations currently undertaken jointly by the neighbouring countries, he said at a ceremony in Dublin to admit new RIA members,

"Between 2012 and 2016 over 12,900 research papers were produced from collaborations between Irish and UK researchers; more than all the publications with Germany and France combined," he added.

Prof Kennedy paid tribute to those who were elected for “their exceptional contribution to the sciences, humanities and social sciences as well as to public service”.


“We should be proud of these new members of the academy for the honour their work brings to this country and the impact of this research on the quality of the higher education provided by our universities,” he said.

One of Ireland's finest poets, Eavan Boland, who is professor of humanities and director of the creative writing programme at Stanford University in California, has been made an honorary member, along with one of Ireland's pre-eminent scientists, Prof Eleanor Maguire, a neuroscientist and academic. Since 2007 she has been professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London.

The noted astrophysicist France Córdova, who is director of the US National Science Foundation in Washington and Thomas O’Loughlin, professor of historical theology at the University of Nottingham and an authority on the origins and evolution of the liturgy and theology of the early Christian church, were also admitted as honorary members.

The 24 other new members are:

Sciences: Prof Stephen Buckley (Maynooth University); Prof Paul Giller (UCC); Prof Marty Gregg (QUB); Prof Balz Kamber (TCD); Prof Boris Kholodenko (UCD); Prof Andrew Meharg (QUB); Prof Grace Mulcahy (UCD); Prof Fergal O'Brien (Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland); Prof Alan Stitt (QUB); Koen Verbruggen (Geological Survey of Ireland) and Prof Graeme Watson (TCD)

Humanities and Social Sciences: Prof Fran Brearton (QUB); Prof Pádraig Carmody (TCD); Prof Claire Connolly (UCC); Prof Áine Hyland (UCC); Prof Gerry Kearns (Maynooth); Dr Claudia Kinmonth (independent scholar); Prof Alan Kramer (TCD); Patrick Lonergan (theatre scholar, NUIG); Martin Mansergh (public servant); Prof Christopher McCrudden (QUB); Prof Gerardine Meaney (UCD); Philip Orr (independent scholar) and Prof Gregory Toner (QUB).

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times