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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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 is now closed. The next call for Honorary Membership nominations will be April 2024.  

The Honorary Membership process is highly competitive. The Academy By-Laws place a limit of fifty Honorary Members in each section (Science and Polite Literature & Antiquities). Nominators should note, therefore, that this year in the PL&A section, the assessment panel will nominate a very limited number of candidates. 

The Royal Irish Academy values diversity and strives for a culture of equality and inclusion in all of its activities. As outlined in its Strategic Plan 2019-2023, the Academy is committed to ensuring greater gender, disciplinary, institutional and overall diversity in every area of the Academy and its work, nationally and internationally. 

Please also note that the RIA has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, commonly known as DORA, which in essence involves two main commitments:

1. Evaluate the research, not the publication venue or platform. In particular the Journal Impact Factor should not be used as a proxy for the quality of an article published in that journal.

2. Recognise a wider range of contributions to research and not just the traditional journal article or monograph. This could include (but is not limited to) open-source software, registered protocols and reports, prototypes, curated data, digital media, research-based film, exhibitions, original musical composition or other research outputs and activities.

The Review Committee on Honorary Membership (RCHM) will give consideration to the following criteria:

  • Academic excellence in the humanities 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 according to the categories outlined
  • Names and full contact details of at least three international scholars, one at least from outside Ireland, who have agreed to act as referees. Proposers should endeavour to identify referees who are not close collaborators with the candidate.
  • A one page Curriculum Vitae
  • data processing consent form to be signed by the Candidate (available to Proposers in the Members’ login section of the website). Candidates and their Proposers and Seconders should read the Academy's Data Protection Information for Candidates for Honorary Membership.


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 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)

A nomination for Honorary Membership is valid for three elections 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 Karen Ayton by email: Candidates' personal data is held in the strictest of confidence by the Academy.  

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