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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.