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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R.J. Hunter Research Bursary Scheme

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 and 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.

Research Aims

The R. J. Hunter Grants aim to build on his unique academic legacy by encouraging and promoting writing on the history of plantation and settlement in Ulster in the early modern period (c. 1550s – 1750s) including patterns of migration from and to Britain and North America. The scheme also promotes cognate areas of research on early modern Ulster, including urban growth, local administration, social structure, religion, print culture, political interaction, trade and commerce and economy.

How To Apply

The current round of Hunter Research Bursaries are now finished and are under review. It is expected that a new call will open in Winter 2018/Spring 2019. Please join the Academy mailing list and select grants to receive notifications and updates.

Applications are invited for research bursaries up to a maximum of €2,500 for a clearly defined piece of research, in line with the criteria outlined above, which will have an identifiable outcome on the completion of the project. The scheme is open to both postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers. Applications from researchers outside the academic sector, particularly those active in local learned and historical societies, are also welcome. Applications must satisfy the assessment panel that their research is likely to constitute a significant and scholarly contribution to knowledge in line with the stated research aims of the R. J. Hunter Grants Scheme.

Find out more

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

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