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

Honorary Membership

A small number of Honorary Members are elected each year. The distinction of Honorary Membership is usually reserved for academics who have made a major international contribution to their disciplines but who are not normally resident in Ireland. 

Candidates for Honorary Membership must be proposed and seconded by existing Members. The call for nominations opens in April and closes on 30 June each year.


  • Academic excellence in the humanities, social sciences or sciences, based on first-class world standards
  • The candidate's strong personal or disciplinary connection to Ireland (but not normally being resident in Ireland)
  • The candidate's potential contribution or benefit to the Academy following election. 

Proposals can be made by submitting:

  • Certificate of Candidature for Honorary Membership (available to Proposers in the Members’ login section of the website) which includes a template for:
  • supporting statement not exceeding three hundred words, setting out the reasons why the candidate should be elected
  • The names and full contact details of at least three appropriate referees, one at least from outside Ireland, who have agreed to act. Letters of support for candidates may be sought by the RCHM
  • A one page Curriculum Vitae
  • data processing consent form (available to Proposers in the Members’ login section of the website)


All valid proposals received will be reviewed by the Review Committee on Honorary Membership (RCHM). The RCHM is charged with subjecting all proposals to a rigorous international peer-review process, with a view to determining those who best meet the criteria for election to Honorary Membership, benchmarked to international standards. The views of each candidate's nominated referees, as well as of independent expert international referees, may be sought as part of this process.

The membership of the RCHM is as follows:

  • The President (Chair)
  • The Secretary
  • The Treasurer
  • The PL&A Secretary
  • The Science Secretary
  • Three former Presidents of the RIA
  • One Member from PL&A
  • One Member from Science
  • (A senior member of staff in attendance)

Each proposal is valid for three years, and may be updated each year by the Proposer. If a candidate is not successful after three years, they are ineligible for the following two years. They may then be proposed again, with a new nomination form. This pattern (a three-year proposal followed by two ‘fallow’ years) may be repeated indefinitely.

If you have any queries please contact Gilly Clarke or Karen Ayton by email: Candidates' personal data is held in the strictest of confidence by the Academy. Candidates and their Proposers and Seconders should read the Academy's Data Protection Information for Candidates for Honorary Membership

Stay up to date with the Royal Irish Academy newsletter

Sign up now