Discovery Programme Series
The Discovery Programme is an institute for advanced research into Irish archaeology and related matters. It was set up initially in 1991 through a personal initiative of the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Charles J. Haughey. The organisation is constituted as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital, and is now funded by the Heritage Council.
The Discovery Programme is governed by a Directorate (Board of Directors) nominated in part by the Heritage Council and by the Council of the Discovery Programme. The latter body consists of representatives of all the public institutions on the island of Ireland involved in archaeological research. The Chairman of the Discovery Programme (currently Dr Michael Ryan) is appointed by the Heritage Council, with the approval of the government minister with responsibility for heritage matters.
The Discovery Programme pursues its goals by identifying ‘gaps’ in our knowledge or areas where intense research is required or would be valuable. A dedicated project team is appointed for a suitable period to pursue the topic in question. Eight such projects have been undertaken to date.
The Discovery Programme is also required to communicate the results of its projects to the scientific community and to the general public. This task is achieved, mainly, through its publications. In addition, the organisation has a secondary responsibility to introduce new techniques and technologies into Irish archaeological research.