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The project uses historical data relating to the English and Scottish men and women who settled in the six escheated counties of Ulster in the period, c.1609-1641. In the first phase, the database incorporated some of the key sources for the study of the Ulster plantation: grants of forfeited land, military muster lists, surviving court records and the secondary literature on the plantation.

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.

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.

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Find Out More

Should you have any questions or require further information on this grant scheme, please email

Data Protection

All personal data collected will be used solely for the purpose of conducting a funding review assessment in line with General Data Protection Regulation.


The Royal Irish Academy has an agreed set of procedures and responsibilities for appeals in connection with a decision to decline funding of a grant application. For further information see here.

Applying for a R.J. Hunter Digital Fellowship

In order to make an application for funding you will need to familiarise yourself with the

Guidelines for applicants document

Access the online application form

How to apply

Applicants are required to submit a detailed application form online, including:

  • A letter verifying relevant competencies from one named referee.

Who can apply:

  • Applications are open to all researchers who have obtained a PhD
  • Applicants must confirm that they are not awaiting the outcome of a viva voce examination, nor awaiting the acceptance of any corrections required by the examiners.
  • Applicants should be ordinarily resident and working in Ireland (including Northern Ireland)
  • This scheme is open to candidates who may have already completed a post-doc, provided all other criteria is met.
  • Fellows must not be employed as a permanent member of staff in an Irish HEI

Terms and conditions of Fellowship:

  • The host institution for the Fellowship is the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast. The Fellow will be mentored by Professor Mary O’Dowd and Professor Tom O’Connor, Maynooth University.  The technical support for the online database will be provided by the Centre for Digital Humanities at Maynooth University. Fellows will be expected to meet regularly with both Professor O’Dowd and Professor O’Connor.
  • Hybrid/Remote working will be possible but the details must be agreed in writing with the two Academic Mentors. The Fellow must agree to meeting with the two Academic Mentors in Belfast and Maynooth in person as well as remotely.  S/he must also commit to working on the Hunter archive in PRONI that is not accessible digitally and to making use of other resources in PRONI and QUB Library not available elsewhere. The Academic Mentors may also require the Fellow to attend other events or meetings as arranged by QUB, Maynooth University or the RIA.
  • The work of the project will be overseen by a small Steering Committee.
  • It is the responsibility of the Academic Mentors to ensure that if the Fellow leaves the host institution or is not devoting sufficient time or effort to the Fellowship, that the RIA is informed immediately.
  • Duties that fall outside of the Fellowship such as teaching duties, supervision, education provision, support activities etc are permitted provided the Fellow provides the RIA with a written statement of support from their Academic Mentors and obtains prior written permission from the RIA. This is dependent on the work not being excessive (does not exceed a total of 50 hours per academic term) and does not prevent researchers from carrying out their research activities.
  • The completed database will be the intellectual property of the RIA. The Fellow may, however, publish work based on the research completed for the Fellowship.

Value and details of Fellowship

  • The total value of the Fellowship is up to a maximum of €61,01013 in a year covering salary costs, national insurance and superannuation PRSI contributions and employer’s pension contributions (where applicable).
  • The Fellowship must start in September 2024

Breakdown of funding

  • An annual salary of €46,713 within the funding term
  • National insurance contribution costs of €4,897
  • Superannuation of €10,090
  • Eligible direct research support and travel expenses (up to a maximum of €7,500 over the 18 months) to include essential research supplies such as a laptop, small consumables, archival research costs, access to appropriate research repositories or libraries, licences for software and online resources, books and journals and travel between Belfast and Maynooth. Only vouched expenses incurred in carrying out the research during the funding term will be allowed under this heading.
  • No portion of the Fellowship fund may be used to cover institutional overheads or any element that should be ascribed to institutional overheads.
  • Subventions towards production or publication costs are not an eligible expense.
  • While the award is made to an individual researcher the fund is to be administered through the appropriate office within the HEI.

Deadline for submissions

The R.J. Hunter Digital Fellowship scheme closes on Wednesday 27 March 2024.

Supporting Material

Applying for a Nowlan Grant

The scheme aims to expand the range of digitised historical and archaeological sources available through open and free access to researchers, for private study or education purposes. Proposals can take two forms:

  1. The digitisation of a historical or archaeological source or sources (including making it searchable and freely available online)
  2. The updating of existing digital historical or archaeological resources to enable continued online public access

Key Points

  • The intention of these grants is to fund research focusing on professional digitisation with a distinct and identifiable standalone output of making a body of information accessible to anyone upon completion of the project
  • Proposals are welcomed for a clearly defined standalone project accessible on an institutional website, to be completed within the Grant programme timeline (completion by end April 2025)
  • In line with the Academy’s focus on ensuring long term preservation and access to digital collections, all projects must also make their digital outputs and metadata available to the Royal Irish Academy for inclusion in the Digital Repository of Ireland (please see further details in guidelines document)..
  • The purpose of this grant is to provide support for the direct costs of digitising material, up to a maximum of €10,000
  • All applicants must be the copyright holders of the original data, be acting on their behalf, or the work must be out of copyright
  • All queries can be sent to

Nowlan Grants Application Form

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 (PDF).

Funding available

The scheme will be competitive, and there is no lower limit on the amount requested but it is anticipated that Grants will be made in the region of €8,000-€10,000

Costs and activities which are eligible

  • Invoices for services rendered as part of project
  • Salary payments specific to project (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)
  • Research costs
  • Limited consumables (to a maximum of €1000)

The only expenses payable are the costs directly related to the research being carried out, up to a maximum of €10,000.

All expenses must be supported with vouched expenditure. Please note that these costs are subject to the maximum subsistence rates (link is external)as set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Academy does not pay per diem rates and will only cover expenses that are vouched by receipt.

Costs and activities which are ineligible

  • Grants will not be made retrospectively i.e. the work for which the support is requested must not have commenced before the grant decision is communicated
  • An application will not be accepted if there is a report outstanding or any outstanding funds to be returned on any previous research grant awarded by the Academy to the principal investigator or co-investigator(s) named in the current application
  • Costs which are already funded by another grant or alternative source

Who can apply

  • Researchers (PhD students and onwards) in the field of Irish History based in a third level institution who are on a permanent contract or temporary contract that will not end during the course of the grant
  • Applicants can submit one application per grant round
  • Applicants should be ordinarily resident and working on the island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland)
  • Applicants may hold a maximum of two Nowlan Academy awards in any five-year period

Criteria and assessment priorities

Each application will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Academic merit, taking into account originality and the scholarly importance of potential research based on the digitised source
  • Demonstrable ability and experience of applicant to carry out the proposed project
  • Suitability of methodology
  • Feasibility of project within time scale (All projects must be completed, and all associated reports and invoices/financial details submitted by end April 2024).
  • Added value of digitising the proposed source or restoration to public use of an existing digital source
  • Intended outcomes

Submission deadline

The Nowlan Grants Scheme opens from 22 February 2024 until Thursday 11 April 2024. All queries can be sent to

Information for Nowlan Digitisation grantees

Those successful for this grant will be notified of the outcome via written letter.

Acceptance Procedure (please read carefully)

  • Please email ‘’ indicating your willingness to accept the award, and note the below requirements, by Monday 19th June 2023. In all email correspondence please use the subject line: Nowlan Digitisation Grant scheme and your name.
  • After your acceptance of the grant and any related conditions, our Finance department will contact you under separate cover to request the financial information required. If your institution is administering the award on your behalf, then we require the bank details of the institution. We may also request tax clearance verification details, where necessary.  Failure to submit your details to accounts will delay the grant drawdown.
  • Please note that as per the guidelines for the scheme the uppermost limit for each collection is 50GB. All successful grantees must contact the DRI ( for advice regarding file formats and best practice in digital preservation. Confirmation of this contact is required before grant drawdowns are processed.
  • You may proceed with making your own arrangements for the initiation of the project following the submission of the required financial information and contact with DRI (as noted above). We will begin the payment process for 50% of the grant once the acceptance procedure has been completed and a payment account has been set up. It is advisable to allow up to a month between completion of the above acceptance process and the start date of the project, to allow for the processing of the draw down.

Final payment and Reporting guidelines – by Friday 31st May 2024

  • The remaining 50% will be paid on receipt of your detailed report, which will include a fully vouched and detailed statement of expenditure using the template available here. Deadline for submission of your report is Friday 31st May 2024. The report form, which will be available online or on request from, will require details of the central objectives, primary methodology used, research findings/outcomes and/or milestones achieved. This report will also require you to outline your plans for disseminating your findings. You must also give due acknowledgement to the RIA Nowlan Digitisation Scheme in any resulting publication (see the enclosed guidelines for acknowledging funding).

Additional notes (please read as these are important):

  • It should be noted that the sum allocated is the maximum to be awarded and the final amount which you will be reimbursed will be based on vouched expenditure (based on invoices submitted for services rendered and other invoiced costs). Part of the reporting procedure will require you to submit any and all receipts for costs incurred in relation to the project, as any unspent funds or costs for which there is no receipt included must be returned to the Academy.
  • This grant is subject to the maximum travel and subsistence allowances as set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As stated above only vouched expenditure is permitted and must be within the maximums laid out above.  Please note that these are subject to change.
  • Please note that expenses listed as ineligible in the notes to applicants during the application process cannot be claimed.
  • You must also ensure that the ‘Guidelines for acknowledging funding’ are followed including use of the RIA logo as outlined.

Who was Kevin B. Nowlan?

Kevin B. Nowlan (1921-2013) was a Dublin-born scholar who taught history at University College Dublin, 1948-1986. He was a founding member of many cultural associations, particularly those focused on architectural preservation. Kevin B. Nowlan was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1977 and served as Vice-President, 1980-1983 and 1985-1989. Professor Nowlan left a generous bequest to the Academy which has funded The Kevin B. Nowlan Digitisation Grant scheme.

Kevin B. Nowlan Papers

Black and white portrait of Kevin B Nowlan.