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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Call for nominations: International Science Council Awards Programme

22 September 2020

The International Science Council (ISC) Awards Programme was established in 2020 by the ISC Governing Board to recognize individuals, groups, and initiatives launched by the ISC and its members that serve to advance science as a global public good.

Under the stewardship of an Awards Selection Committee, the Awards Programme will reward efforts from the ISC community to advance international, interdisciplinary scientific research cooperation, to bring scientific knowledge into the public domain, to innovate science education and outreach, and to promote the free and responsible practice of science.

The Award categories are as follows:

  1. Science for Sustainability Award for outstanding scientific contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals using an interdisciplinary approach (one award)
  2. Science-for-Policy Award for outstanding contribution to, stimulation of, support for or communication of the findings of international scientific research and scholarship relevant to international policy challenges (one award)
  3. Policy-for-Science Award for outstanding contribution to developments in the science system that enable science to contribute more effectively to major debates in the international domain (one award)
  4. Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award for outstanding contribution to defending and promoting the free and responsible practice of science (one award)
  5. Early Career Scientist Award for exceptional contribution to science and international scientific collaboration by early career researchers (six awards: one award to a scientist from each of (i) Africa, (ii) Asia, (iii) Australia and Oceania, (iv) Europe, (v) North America, and (vi) South America and the Caribbean)

Eligibility Criteria

ISC members, affiliated bodies and partners are eligible to nominate candidates for the Awards. These will be conferred every three years, on the occasion of the ISC General Assembly.

  • A nominee should be either an individual (e.g. a scientist, science educator or policy maker) or a group of individuals (e.g. a scientific committee or scientific programme) actively promoting science as a global public good. Nominees and nominators should be in compliance with the ISC Conflict of Interest policy
  • An ‘Early Career Scientist’ is defined for the purposes of this award as having received a PhD or the highest equivalent terminal degree within the 10 years preceding the nomination (exceptions to this requirement may be granted by the Awards Selection Committee for early career interruptions related to maternity/paternity leave, caregiver leave, or other standard university tenure-clock extensions. Nominators should describe the reasons for an exception in their nomination letter).
  • The following people are not eligible to be candidates for the awards during their terms in office: members of the ISC Governing Board; Presidents and Presidents-elect of ISC Members; and Chairs of ISC co-sponsored programmes. Self-nominations are not accepted.


Geographic, gender, and age distribution are important considerations for the selection of awardees. The selection committee will consider the eligible nominations for balance, and, if lacking, may solicit ISC members, affiliated bodies and partners to submit additional nominations.


The Awards Selection Committee will consider all eligible nominations and will reach a decision on the 2021 awardees. The ten awardees of the ISC 2021 Awards Programme will be announced in June 2021 by the ISC President. They will each receive an award as well as a certificate of recognition.

For more information about the awards, please click here

To express an interest in being nominated by the Royal Irish Academy please submit the following to by midday on Tuesday, 1 December 2020:
• A letter of explanation clearly outlining how your experience meets the criteria listed below (see ‘Achievements and contributions’) and other such criteria as relevant for the prize in question.
• Two letters of support. At least one letter must be by a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and at least one letter must be by a person not currently employed by the same institution as the nominee.
• A full academic CV, including a list of publications.

Candidates are also expected to be employed at an institution on the island of Ireland and/or be a permanent resident of Ireland

Achievements and contributions

Nominees will be assessed on their track record of:

  • Publishing high-impact work
  • Publishing high-impact work as first-author
  • Presenting work at international conferences
  • Raising the profile of their field in Ireland
  • Securing research funding from international sources
  • Supervising doctoral candidates and supporting early career researchers.

This opportunity is publicly advertised by the Royal Irish Academy.

All expressions of interest received will be considered by the Academy’s Policy Oversight Group - the unit tasked with advising upon the initiation and implementation of all of the Academy’s policy and international activities and responsible for overseeing a standardised quality process for all outputs. Chaired by the Academy’s Secretary of Policy and International Relations, the six members of this group are all elected Members of the Royal Irish Academy and come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds in several institutions across the island of Ireland- both north and south of the border. On occasions, the Policy Oversight Group may also consult additional experts to inform their assessments and evaluations.

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 throughout the island of Ireland.  It particularly welcomes nominations from under-represented groups and communities.

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