Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


APPENDIX 36

Memorandum submitted by the Royal Irish Academy

  1.  Election to membership of the Academy is a mark of high academic distinction. The Royal Irish Academy draws its membership from the whole island of Ireland. Forty- nine of the 309 members, 28 of whom are scientists or technologists (see Annex I), are currently based in Northern Ireland. The Treasurer and one of the four Vice-Presidents work in Northern Ireland. Five of the 12 new members elected in 2002 work in universities in Northern Ireland.

  2.  The Academy seeks to promote advanced research and public understanding of it. To this end it works through a network of National Committees and Commissions (which automatically include NI representatives—see Annex II) to promote specialist activities in many areas of science and technology. A range of awards and commemorative prizes has been instituted to motivate talented young scientists to fulfil their potential. We have also initiated a new series of lectures to be delivered by leading international scholars. Northern Ireland is well represented among the award recipients and conference participants.

  3.  The Academy supports scientific research through its publications, its special research projects and its academic exchanges with other European academies and research institutions. The Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy focus mainly on the sciences. They are divided into three distinct periodicals: Section A—Mathematical Proceedings, Section B—Biology and Environment and Section C—Archaeology and History. The Academy also publishes the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences. Monographs such as Irish Innovators in Science and Technology (2002) are aimed at the general public. Special research projects include The Genetic Anthropology of Ireland; one of its four pilot studies is based at Queen's University Belfast. The Academy's many biological and environmental studies inevitably concern the entire island of Ireland. Finally, many of the scientific exchange schemes and fellowships are available and regularly awarded to scientists or technologists working in Northern Ireland.

  4.  The Academy's main source of income is an annual grant of

2.7 million from the Higher Education Authority in the Republic of Ireland. No contribution is made from the equivalent NI body. The Academy employs 40 permanent and 25 contract staff.

  5.  The Royal Irish Academy has just completed a Strategic Review—a careful evaluation of its statutes, procedures and activities aimed at ensuring that it can pursue its responsibilities in a manner appropriate to the third century of its existence. It is particularly concerned to include in its membership the most talented and productive scholars, irrespective of research area, age, gender or geographical origin. Following extensive consultation with members and with sister academies, it has reaffirmed its mission as, inter alia:

    —  promoting scholarship and research;

    —  contributing to public policy on scientific research;

    —  contributing to public debate on issues of concern in science;

    —  enhancing public awareness of the value and relevance of advanced scientific research;

    —  conducting its own research projects, especially in areas relating to Ireland and its heritage.

  6.  The Academy has a valuable role as a major independent instrument for clarifying significant issues facing Irish society, north and south.

  7.  The Royal Irish Academy is unquestionably relevant to this Inquiry, even though no UK government funding is currently devoted to its support.

  As the only Academy for the Sciences and Humanities based in Ireland and operating throughout the island, it is appropriate that the Royal Irish Academy should be funded by governments in both jurisdictions. The Academy wishes to enhance its role in Northern Ireland and to be of greater service to the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland society. However, its effectiveness in this respect is likely to be limited by resource considerations. We would like to draw this fact to the attention of the House of Commons Inquiry, whose members may wish to consider whether and at what level they would wish to see the work of this learned society supported within Northern Ireland.

April 2002

Annex


SCIENCE MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

  Professor Ingrid Allen—Neuropathologist

  Professor Michael Baillie—Palaeoecologist

  Professor Brian Bates—Astrophysicist

  Professor Kenneth Lloyd—Physicist

  Professor Ronald Buchanan—Geographer

  Professor Philip Burke—Physicist

  Professor Duncan Thorburn Burns—Analytical Chemist

  Sir Bernard Crossland—Mechanical Engineer

  Professor Derrick Crothers—Physicist

  Professor Amilra de Silva—Chemist

  Professor James Fairley—Zoologist

  Sir Peter Froggatt—Geneticist

  Professor Henry Gilbody—Physicist

  Professor David Halton—Parasitologist

  Professor Alan Hibbert—Mathematician

  Professor W. Irwin—Computer Scientist

  Professor Arthur Kingston—Physicist

  Professor John McCanny—Electronic Engineer

  Professor Gerry McKenna—Geneticist

  Professor Michael McKervey—Chemist

  Professor Benjamin Moiseiwitsch—Mathematician

  Professor Jane Nelson—Chemist

  Professor Bertus Rima—Molecular Biology

  Professor John Rooney—Chemist

  Professor F.J. Smith—Computer Scientist

  Professor James Stewart—Electrical Engineer

  Professor Sean Strain—Nutritional Scientist

  Professor David Walmsley—Physicist

  Mr Richard Warner—Ethnographer

  Professor William Watts—Chemist

REPRESENTATIVES FROM NORTHERN IRELAND ON ACADEMY SCIENCE COMMITTEES

  Dr R. Bishop (UU) is Chairman of the National Commission for Microbiology.

  Dr C. Thomas (UU) is Chairman of the National Committee for Geography.

  Professor F.J. Smith, MRIA (QUB) is Chairman of the National Committee for Engineering Sciences.

  Dr Alun Evans (QUB) is Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Genetic Anthropology.

  Professor K. Houston (UU) is Chairman of the National Sub-Commission for Mathematical Instruction.

  Professor J.A.C. Stewart MRIA (QUB) is Chairman of URSI Subcommittee (International Union of Radio Science).

  Dr M. Keane (St Mary's College, Belfast) is chairperson of the National Commission for the Teaching of Geography.

  Professor M.E. Bailey (Armagh Observatory) and Dr A. Fitzsimons (QUB) are members of the National Committee for Astronomy and Space Research.

  Professor R.J.H. Davies (QUB) Professor B. Hannigan (UU) and Dr D. Hanna (Industrial Research and Technology Unit) are members of the National Committee for Biochemistry.

  Dr R.N. Govier (QUB) and Dr T.E. Andrew (UU) are members of the National Committee for Biology

  Mr G. Hughes (UU), Dr A. Cook (UU) are members of the National Commission for the Teaching of Biology.

  Mr John Quinn (QUB) and Dr A. McHale (UU) are members of the National Commission for Microbiology.

  Dr H. Platt (Environment and Heritage Service), Professor R.B. Wood and Professor A. Ferguson (QUB) are members of the National Commission for Hydrobiology.

  Dr J.F. Malone (QUB) is a member of the National Committee for Chemistry.

  Professor B. Norton (UU) and Professor J.A.C. Stewart (QUB) are members of the National Committee for Engineering Sciences.

  Dr Noel Evans (UU), Professor V. Fusco (QUB), Mr A.D. Patterson are members of URSI.

  Mr Donald Campbell (Met Office NI), Dr J. McCloskey (UU) and Mr J.R.P. Bennett (Lisburn) are members of the National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics.

  Professor D.N.Livingstone (QUB) and Mr R. Clements (Ordnance Survey NI) are members of the National Committee for Geography.

  Mr A. Rodgers (Royal College, Armagh), Ms A.M. Duffy (Belfast), Mr R. O'Neill (Bessbrook), Mr G. Kelly (Belfast), Mrs P. Wyness (Hunterhouse College) and Ms Marianne Lawlor (Downpatrick) are members of the National Commission for the Teaching of Geography.

  Dr A. Ruffell (QUB), Mr J.W. Arthurs (Geological Survey of NI) and Dr P. Lyle (UU) are members of the National Committee for Geology.

  Professor A.W. Wickstead and Professor S.K. Houston are members of the National Committee for Maths and the National Commission for Mathematical Instruction.

  Professor J. Pearce (QUB) and Dr B. Livingstone (UU) are members of the National Committee for Nutritional Sciences.

  Professor J. McMullan (UU) and Professor D.G. Walmsley (QUB) are members of the National Committee for Physics.

  Mr Ian Headden (Ballymena Academy) and Dr Jason Greenwood (QUB) are members of the National Commission for the Teaching of Physics.

  Professor I. Mongomery (QUB) is one of the two editors of the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section B: Biology and Environment.

  Dr C. Gibson of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NI) and Dr C. Maggs of the Queen's University of Belfast are members of the editorial board of Section B.

  Professor D.H. Armitage is a member of the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section A: Mathematical Proceedings.

  Dr A. Ruffell of the Queen's University of Belfast is a member of the Editorial Board of the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences.


 
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