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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RIA Presidential Discourse and presentation of Cunningham Medal


Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 18:00


Academy House


Full price €10 Concession Price (Student, retired, unemployed) €6.00 Members of the Academy contact

The Presidential Discourse by Peter Kennedy will be on the topic 'Reflections on the role of a Learned Academy.' This  Discourse is part of our 2019/20 Series sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran.

The Academy’s Cunningham Medal will also be presented at this event. The Cunningham Medal is the Academy’s premier award which is awarded every three years and dates back to 1796. The 2020 Cunningham Medal will be awarded to Nicholas Patrick Canny MRIA, Emeritus Professor of History, National University of Ireland, Galway in recognition of his outstanding scholarly contributions to both the History of Ireland and Atlantic History, as well as his contribution to the objectives of the Academy.


Since the foundation of the Royal Society in 1660, learned academies around the world have shared a common mission of fostering science, learning and academic research. Today, academies are independent self-governing bodies of distinguished scholars drawn from the fields of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. They contain a unique human resource of intellectual excellence, experience and multidisciplinary knowledge dedicated to the advancement of science and scholarship. Some academies perform research, some are publishers, many are custodians of national cultural treasures, most recognise excellence through prizes and grants, all contribute to public debate in their home countries. This talk will explore the invaluable contributions that learned academies already make to society, opportunities for them to contribute more, and the challenges to their remaining vibrant and relevant in a world that needs but does not always understand evidence-based research.

About Peter Kennedy, PRIA

Michael Peter Kennedy is Professor of Microelectronic Engineering at University College Dublin. (UCD) and Scientific Director of the Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland. He received the BE (Electronics) degree from UCD, the MSc and PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, and the DEng from the National University of Ireland. He worked with Philips, UCC and UCD and has held visiting academic appointments in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and the United States.

He has over 400 publications, including monographs and patents, ranging from “blue skies” to applied research, in the fields of chaos theory, neural networks, nonlinear dynamics, mixed-signal test, and frequency synthesis. He was made a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in 1998 “for contributions to the theory of neural networks and nonlinear dynamics and for leadership in nonlinear circuits research and education.”

He was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2004, served four years as Secretary for Policy and International Relations, and is currently serving as President.

Please note late-comers will not be admitted

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