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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2020 Academy Gold Medals presented in virtual ceremony

12 May 2021

Mary E. Daly, MRIA received 2020 Academy Gold Medal in the Humanities and Daniel Bradley, MRIA received 2020 Academy Gold Medal in the Life Sciences in virtual awarding ceremony  

The President, Dr Mary Canning, with Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. presented the 2020 Academy Gold Medals in a virtual ceremony streamed this evening. If you missed it, the ceremony is available to view now.

Awarding the Gold Medals, Dr Canning said that

‘The Academy Gold Medals celebrate the achievements of leading scholars in Ireland whose work has made an international impact which is evident in these awards this evening. There is exceptional research taking place in higher education in Ireland that impacts positively on all our lives and the Academy hopes that the Gold Medals will inspire future generations of aspiring researchers. It is my pleasure to award these medals to two outstanding Members of the Academy, Professor Bradley for his pioneering work in genomics and Professor Daly for her ground-breaking historical work.’

Minister Simon Harris, T.D. gave the keynote address to the academics and invited guests in a virtual award ceremony saying: 

‘The Royal Irish Academy Gold Medals recognise and celebrate Ireland’s highest achieving academics and the international impact of their work. Over the past year, addressing our social and economic challenges has crystalised the importance of research and expertise to society, globally. These awards acknowledge the leading work of the academics in Irish institutions to benefit society, the international impact of their work and their support and inspiration of current and future generations of scholars.’ 

On receiving her Gold Medal in the Humanities, Professor Daly said

'It is a great honour to receive the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Humanities, and the honour has special significance because it has been awarded by fellow scholars.  At the risk of sounding pompous I see this medal as recognition of the importance of curiosity-driven research, and the contribution that the humanities can make to the wider society.'

On receiving his Gold Medal in the Life Sciences, Professor Bradley said

'It is a fantastic honour to be awarded this Royal Irish Academy Gold medal.  Science is of its nature a collaborative activity and any achievements I have owe an enormous amount to the bright young (and some not so young) scientists I have been lucky to work with over the years.'

The 2020 Academy Gold Medals were sponsored by the Higher Education Authority. 

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