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Applying for an Archaeology Research Excavation Grant

The Royal Irish Academy, together with the National Monuments Service runs an annual grant scheme for Archaeological Research Excavations.  This is the only fund in Ireland which supports independent research excavations, and welcomes applications for excavation costs in addition to pre-excavation surveys, post-excavation analyses, publication and archiving of RIA funded excavation. This longstanding fund has financed more than 100 excavations in Ireland, thus enabling scholars to make a substantial contribution to our knowledge of the past.

Information required to apply for 2024

In order to make an application for funding you will need to familiarise yourself with the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document which you can view here

How to apply

A completed application form including:

  • A letter from one named referee who is independent* of the project, verifying the applicant’s competence to undertake the research. *The exception is where an application is made by a PhD student, in which case that reference must be from their supervisor.
  • Where relevant, a copy of the Ordnance Survey map with the site or sites marked.
  • Where relevant, a detailed site plan with the site or sites marked.
  • Detailed costings of proposed work (using template form provided).
  • Where relevant, a copy of a detailed quotation received from proposed specialist(s).
  • Where relevant, correspondence from the NMI stating that the applicant has discussed the application and that there is permission in principle for the proposed work based on the project rationale. If a proposal will require licences to alter and/or export, it is advisable that those discussions should include the methodology detail.
  • Where relevant, correspondence from the NMS stating that the applicant has discussed the application and that there is permission in principle for the proposed work based on the project rationale. If a proposal will require licences and/or consents, it is strongly advised that those discussions should include the methodology detail.

Funding available:

The scheme will be competitive, and the average grant awarded has previously been in the region of €20,000. 

Applications are accepted for the following:

Proposals for archaeological research excavation associated with the archaeology of Ireland, including pre-excavation surveys, post-excavation analyses, publication and archiving of RIA funded excavation, as follows:

  • Topographical, building, geophysical or other surveys in advance of anticipated excavation, which may include archaeological excavation in the same or subsequent field season depending on results of the survey work.
  • Archaeological excavation, which must include reasonably anticipated post-excavation obligations for that season.
  • Further post-excavation analysis and preparation of a final excavation report, as per licence/consent and grant conditions, of projects funded within the last five years by the RIA AREG grant scheme.
  • Publication of RIA-funded projects funded in the last five years by the RIA AREG grant scheme (distinct from final excavation report as per licence/consent conditions).
  • Archiving and accessioning of RIA-funded projects funded in the last five years by the RIA AREG grant scheme as per licence/consent conditions.

Costs and activities which are eligible:

  • Research excavation costs including excavation staff*, excavation and post-excavation running costs, specialists’ fees and services, travel and subsistence expenses, specialist consumables, and scientific analyses.
  • Monies may be made available for continuing excavation projects but no more than three seasons of excavation will be funded, unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated.
  • Further additional post-excavation work may be funded, where exceptional circumstances are demonstrated.
  • In cases of continuing projects each subsequent application should consider a specific research question or questions, which should be capable of being addressed in that season (this is in case no further funding is forthcoming for further seasons).

*Salary costs of grant recipients and research team members are considered an eligible cost if, in order to participate in the project they must have their time ‘bought out’, or they must take time out from their usual employment, or would not be financially supported do this work without the grant funding and are not simultaneously in receipt of another income. As the Academy can only reimburse costs which are supported by evidence of payment, any request to reimburse salary costs must be supported by evidence that the salary has been paid (in the form of payslips, paid invoices etc.) from the employing body.

Applicants must list any current sources of research funding and justify why additional funds are sought from the RIA.

Costs and activities which are ineligible:

  • Applications for the funding of developer-led or commercial excavations.
  • Applications for projects directly connected to undergraduate or Masters-level studies in a third level institution.
  • The grant does not fund institutional overheads, and the grant cannot be used to cover any element that should be properly ascribed to institutional overheads (e.g. computer hardware including laptops, electronic notebooks, digital cameras, etc.; lab / bench fees, books and other permanent resources).
  • Applications from any applicant with one or more excavation reports outstanding to the Licensing Authority unless they have agreed a submission date for outstanding licences and have an official Compliance Letter from NMS agreeing to this.
  • Applications from any applicant who has previously been funded by the Academy for projects which have not been completed to the standard required by the grant and/or licence conditions.
  • Applicants are reminded that research excavations offer an opportunity for students of archaeology to gain practical experience. Applicants should note however that activities peripheral to the research excavation, e.g. offsite training, fieldtrips etc., are ineligible.
  • The purchase of items of equipment (e.g. cameras or survey equipment) that researchers would normally be expected to have are ineligible.

Who can apply

  • This scheme is open to archaeological researchers/archaeologists, including PhD students, for work in Ireland (not including Northern Ireland). It is not open to undergraduate or other postgraduate students.

  • The Committee does not normally consider projects where the applicant will not be the excavation licence holder (unless there are exceptional circumstances which will be examined on a case-by-case basis).

Submission deadline

The Archaeology Research Excavation Grants scheme for 2024 projects opened on 4th September and will close on 12th October 2023.

All queries can be sent to



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