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

Becoming a Member

Members are elected following one of three processes. New Members proposed under the first two categories, Membership and Council Recommended Membership, are elected on 16 March each year. Honorary Members, those living outside of Ireland, are elected on 30 November each year.


Up to 20 Members are elected on 16 March each year, following a rigorous, peer-review selection procedure. Up to ten Members are elected in Science subjects, and up to ten in Humanities and Social Sciences.

All nominations received are subject to rigorous international peer-review by the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Candidates for Membership (ACACM), whose role is to select those who best meet the criteria for election, benchmarked to international standards. The views of each candidate's nominated referees, as well as that of independent expert international referees, are sought as part of this process.

The criteria for election to Academy Membership are as follows:

  • Achievements in publication, showing significant evidence of originality and scholarship; at least some of the candidate's publications must have attracted scholarly interest outside of Ireland.
  • Other academic achievements, reflected in the scholarly standing of the candidate and his or her contributions to the discipline.
  • Resident in Ireland

All nominations must be signed by two Members of the Academy, who have agreed to act as the candidates Proposer and Seconder. The Proposer and Seconder for a Candidate must be from different institutions from each other.

It may also be useful to speak informally with an Academy Member. A complete list of current Academy Members is available here

The call for nominations opens in June and closes on 30 September each year.

For queries, please contact Vanessa Carswell or Karen Ayton at  or phone 01 676 2570.

Council Recommended Membership

Each year, the Council of the Academy can also recommend a small number of ‘persons of distinction’, who have made an exceptional contribution to Irish society and whose election would, in the opinion of Council, be of benefit to the Academy. These Members will be elected at the March Stated Meeting.

The call for nominations is now open and closes on 6 November 2020.

Nominations are made by two Members of the Academy.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter, please contact Gilly Clarke by email at or by telephone on 01 676 2570.

Honorary Membership

A small number of Honorary Members are also 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.

The Review Committee on Honorary Membership 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. 

Candidates for Honorary Membership must be proposed and seconded by existing Members.

The next call for Honorary Membership will open in April 2021. 

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