The Cunningham Medal is the Academy’s premier award and dates back to 1796. It is awarded every three years in recognition of “outstanding contributions to scholarship and the objectives of the Academy”.
Previous recipients include Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney, John McCanny (microelectronics expert), Maurice Craig (architectural historian), Sir William Wilde (polymath and father of Oscar Wilde) and Robert Mallet (father of Seismology).
The 2020 Medal was presented to Nicholas Canny at a ceremony on Tuesday, 28 January 2020. Nicholas Canny was recognised for his contributions to the history of Ireland and Atlantic history, and for his academic leadership as President of the Royal Irish Academy from 2008 to 2011, and also in Europe as a member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council and Chair of the Open Access Committee.