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.

Read more about the RIA


The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) is an independent, all-island learned society established under Charter in 1785. It has approximately 650 Members, chosen for their distinguished contributions to scholarship and research in the sciences, humanities, social sciences and public service. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

The RIA is governed by its President and Council who, in accordance with the founding Charter, are elected by the Members at a general meeting held in the spring of each year.

Learn more about the history of the Academy

A word from the president

It is my privilege to serve as President of the Royal Irish Academy. I wish to thank you for taking the time to explore the Academy website.

As President it will be my privilege to work with members, officers and staff to promote the Academy as an independent, all-island learned society that provides expert scholarly advice to inform policy and civic society, responding in a flexible/timely manner to the ever-changing (inter)national research/education environment, with a particular focus on the research funding of STEM and the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. I also endeavour to strengthen the presence of the Academy throughout the island of Ireland with North-South and East-West initiatives, deepening our links with sister Academies in the UK and continuing to benefit from the participation of the Academy’s experts in European and global networks and alliances. I will lead the development of the Academy’s 2024-2029 Strategic Plan, continuing to embed EDI into all aspects of activities, and will strengthen the Academy’s financial sustainability to achieve its strategic goals.  I look forward to engaging with recently appointed Members and supporting the work of the newly established Young Academy Ireland.

We are open to all members of the public and invite you to attend the wide range of discourses, workshops and lectures.

Pat Guiry, President

Professor Pat Guiry, is the 58th President of the Royal Irish Academy


The Royal Charter (1786) sets out the overarching governance structures that remain in place today, while the By-laws provide the rules and regulations under which the Academy operates. Read The Charter and By-laws.

The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Council is responsible to the Academy for its general government and strategic direction and is composed of eleven Members representing the Scientific disciplines and ten representing the Humanities (known as Polite Literature and Antiquities, or PL&A). Leading Council is the President, who is supported by the Officers, Senior Vice-President and Vice-Presidents.

Formal governance committees of Council include the Executive Committee, the Audit & Risk Committee, and the Finance & Investment Committee. The day-to-day management, control and direction of the Royal Irish Academy are the responsibility of the Executive Director and the senior management team (SMT). The Executive Director and the SMT must follow the broad strategic direction set by the Council and, must ensure that all Council members have a clear understanding of the key activities and decisions related to the Royal Irish Academy. The Academy operates under an oversight agreement with the HEA and adheres to the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (2016).

Learn more about the Academy's organisation structure

A welcome from the Executive Director

Welcome to the website of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) which provides information about the many and varied activities that the Academy is engaged in as part of its latest Strategic Plan.

The RIA is committed to serving the public good on the island of Ireland through the Academy’s research and scholarly resources and by drawing on the knowledge and insight of its Members. The Academy wishes to engage with as wide and diverse an audience as possible to share views, promote respectful discourse, preserve our national cultural heritage, and reward research and academic excellence. As part of this mission we invite you to share your views on the functioning and activities of the Academy so we can continue to pursue our core values of excellence, independence, scholarship and collaboration; please email

Dr Siobhán O’Sullivan, Executive Director

Dr Siobhán O’Sullivan, Executive Director of the Royal Irish Academy

Here you will find information about:

• our Library who preserve a unique collection of medieval Irish manuscripts, national treasures and substantial holdings of later and contemporary materials and make these accessible through digital initiatives where possible. Our oldest manuscript, The Cathach of Colum Cille

• our range of publications that include scholarly books, journals, maps, pamphlets and reports that reflect an appropriate blend of scholarly and topical subjects across the breadth of the sciences, humanities and social sciences

•  our major research programmes who play key roles in producing and disseminating new insights into our history and heritage to the world-wide scholarly community and the public through outreach programmes

• our Academy science committees and humanities and social sciences committees who build public engagement and understanding of their disciplines through their events and outputs

• our policy papers that are intended to contribute an independent voice to some of the major public policy challenges on a national and international basis.

• our many events and seminar series that include the Academy's Discourse series and other public activities

• our support of talented early career scholars and researchers throughout Ireland with a programme of grants

• our reward of excellence in research through a programme of awards, and both national prizes and international prizes

Annual review and documents

To learn more about our activities browse our latest Annual Review 2023