The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Applying for an R.J. Hunter Bursary

The R.J. Hunter Grants Scheme was established in 2014 using funding generously made available by his daughter, Ms Laura Hunter Houghton, through the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.

Queries can be sent to

R.J. (Bob) Hunter was a highly respected (and much loved) historian of the Ulster Plantation, who spent the bulk of his academic career teaching at the University of Ulster. His varied research interests included the role of the English settler in the Ulster Plantation, the history of Ulster trade and migration from and to Britain and North America, the development of towns, and the cultural and intellectual history of Ulster from 1580 to 1660. In light of the breadth of these research ambitions, it is no surprise to find that, upon his untimely death in 2007, his private papers (now lodged in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland) attest to a great body of unfinished research.

  • The purpose of this grant is to provide support for the direct costs of research on aspects of Ulster History during the period 1500-1800, up to a maximum of €2,500
  • Typically grants made are in the region of €2,000-€2,500
  • ​The application form is available here

Information required to apply for 2023

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

Costs and activities which are eligible

  • Project planning and development costs (including cost of travel for discussion in Ireland and overseas; initial workshops with potential partners)
  • Travel and maintenance for researchers based in Ireland or Northern Ireland
  • Travel and maintenance for overseas scholars engaged in collaborative research activity with Irish partner(s)
  • Research assistance (based in Ireland or abroad)Limited consumables (to a maximum of €500) to include specialist software etc
  • ​Expenses related to accessing digital images, photocopying etc. 

The only expenses payable are the costs directly related to the research being carried out, up to a maximum of €2,500.

All expenses must be supported with vouched expenditure. Please note that these costs are subject to the subsistence rates as set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

A per diem rate is not offered to grantees in cases where vouched receipts are not provided.

Costs and activities which are ineligible

  • Only one R.J. Hunter Research Bursary may be held, or applied for, at any one time, and an application cannot be accepted if the applicant has a report outstanding on a previous R.J. Hunter Research Bursary
  • ​Institutional overheads, or any element that should be ascribed to institutional overheads; computer hardware including laptops, electronic notebooks, digital cameras, etc; lab / bench fees, books and other permanent resources; the preparation of camera-ready copy, copyediting, nor any other editorial task; subventions for direct production costs, costs of publication in electronic media; payment to the principal researcher(s) in lieu of salary, replacement teaching costs; travel and maintenance expenses for purposes such as lecture tours or to write up the results of research. Attendance at conferences is not an allowable expense.

Who can apply

Researchers who are resident in Ireland (North or South) or Britain may apply:

  1. Irish based researchers (including those based in Northern Ireland) may apply for funding for research in libraries, archives or museums within Ireland or abroad
  2. British based researchers may only apply for funding for research in libraries, archives or museums in Ireland (including Northern Ireland)
  • We are seeking applications from researchers across all career stages
  • There is no requirement for an applicant to be a university graduate however applicants must demonstrate that their research is likely to constitute a significant and scholarly contribution to historical knowledge on aspects of Ulster History during the period 1500-1800
  • ​Applications from researchers active in local learned and historical societies are welcome

Criteria and assessment priorities

Each application will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrable ability and experience of applicant to carry out the proposed project (30%)
  • Significant and scholarly contribution to knowledge in line with the stated focus of the scheme’, namely research on aspects of Ulster History during the period 1500-1800 (30%)
  • Suitability of methodology and feasibility of project (20%)
  • Dissemination of research (plans for publication or other dissemination) (20%)


Submission deadline

The R.J. Hunter Research Bursaries Scheme closes on Thursday 13th April 2023.  All queries can be sent to

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