Irish Research Council

Irish Research Council
Motto Funding the brightest talent
Formation March 2012
Merger of Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)
Key people
Peter Brown (Director)
Professor Jane Ohlmeyer (Chair)

The Irish Research Council (Irish: An Chomhairle um Thaighde in Éirinn) was launched in 2012 and operates under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills. The core function of the Irish Research Council is to support excellent frontier research across all disciplines and career stages. It places a particular focus on early-stage career researchers and promotes diverse career opportunities for researchers by partnering with employers. The Council also has a particular role in supporting research with a societal focus, and has established partnerships across government and civic society.[1]

The Council supports excellent research and enhances the provision of highly skilled human capital by providing competitive funding for Postgraduate Scholarships and for Postdoctoral Research Fellowships across all disciplines. The Council also funds Principal Investigator-led research with a social, cultural and societal significance, it participates in a range of EU-funded projects, and it also partners on a number of initiatives with enterprise, employers, government departments and civic society.[2][3]


The Council's mission is to enable and sustain a vibrant research community in Ireland by supporting excellent researchers in all disciplines from arts to zoology.

Funding is made available through the Council's initiatives, in order to fund excellent research across all disciplines at postgraduate, postdoctoral and principal investigator-led levels. The Council supports the career development of early-stage researchers; power enterprise and skills; cultivate Ireland's success under Horizon 2020; catalyse research addressing the grand societal challenges; provide access to research infrastructures and; communicate the value of research.[4]


In order to increase public awareness of the important research conducted in Irish higher education institutions, the Council launched an initiative in 2016 called #LoveIrishResearch. Where possible, researchers and institutions use the #LoveIrishResearch logo on all materials associated with, or arising from, research undertaken by an awardee in receipt of Council funding and/or by all those in receipt of funding or support for campaigns, events and/or other activities. The #LoveIrishResearch logo is available online for download at

The #LoveIrishResearch campaign aims to connect members of the public with the amazing work being conducted by Irish-based researchers and highlight their achievements across multiple fields. This hashtag collects Irish Research related tweets.[5] The Council also runs a blog communicating researchers achievements.[6]


The Chair of the Irish Research Council is Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith's Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin and Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub.[7] The Director of the Council is Mr Peter Brown, who was appointed on 17 October 2017, following the departure of the Council's inaugural director, Dr Eucharia Meehan.[8] [9] -->

The Council is governed by a Board composed by a number of Professors in Higher Education Institutes in Ireland. Board members include: Professor Jane Ohlmeyer (Chair); Professor Daniel Carey; Professor Kieran Conboy; Professor James Gleeson; Dr Felicity Kelliher; Professor Ursula Kilkelly; Professor Rob Kitchin; Professor Debra Laefer; Professor Eithne McCabe; Professor Alan Smeaton; Professor Emma Teeling; Mr Peter Brown (ex-officio member).[10]


The Irish Research Council manages a suite of interlinked programmes funding researchers across all career stages and disciplines. The Irish Research Council is the key national funder of basic research across all disciplines, and the only funder that supports basic research in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Its focus is on ensuring that exceptional researchers are supported to develop their ideas across the key stages of their career.

Selection for funding is based upon individual merit, and the decision process is overseen by independent assessment panels composed by internationally recognised experts. In 2016, the Council supported 1,629 researchers across a portfolio of awards worth in excess of €100 million.[11]


The Council is open to national and international collaborations that generate new opportunities for excellent research and further enhance the contribution of research, researchers and institutions to knowledge, policy development and enterprise development. For Ireland and for the Irish Research Council, research has no borders.

To date, the Council has established over 320 enterprise and employment partners across our suite of enterprise programmes. Such partners on these programmes have included the Gaelic Athletic Association, IBM, Intel, Aylien[12] and Nuritas.[13] The Council has also 17 established partnerships across government and civic society to assist us in supporting research with a societal focus. These include: Arts Council of Ireland, Crisis Pregnancy Programme,[14] Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Social Protection, Environmental Protection Agency, Geological Survey of Ireland, Higher Education Authority, Health Research Board, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning,[15] Science Foundation Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland,[16] Teagasc, Tusla - Child and Family Agency.[17]

The Council's international partnerships and networks include: Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office, Humanities in the European Research Area, Horizon 2020, Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, European Space Agency, GENDER-NET Plus ERA-NET, NORFACE, CHIST-ERA, Science Europe, Embassy of France in Ireland & Campus France, Vitae.


The Irish Research Council was created in 2021 by merging two research councils: the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (An Comhairle um Thaighde sna Dána agus sna hEolachtaí Sóisialta in Irish) (IRCHSS). Prior to this, other higher education funding institutions existed in Ireland.

  • 1995: Establishment of the Social Science Research Council (Ireland) (SSRC) of the Royal Irish Academy, a forerunner of the IRCHSS. The SSRC provided scholarship and fellowships for research in Social Sciences up until the creation of the IRCHSS.[18]
  • 1999: Minister for Education and Science, Mr Micheál Martin, TD, formally establishes the IRCHSS in December. This followed the recommendations set in a report by Dr Maurice J. Bric.[19]
  • 2001: The IRCSET was established in June by the Minister for Education and Science in Ireland. Launched the basic research grant scheme, jointly with Enterprise Ireland in December.
  • 2002: The IRCSET launched the Embark scholarships for postgraduate research.
  • 2003: The IRCSET launched the Empower postdoctoral fellowship awards.
  • 2004 The IRCSET launched the Enterprise Partnership Scheme, which co-funded postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships along with small and large companies.
  • 2017: Director Mr Peter Brown appointed.


  1. "Irish Research Council: our mission". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  2. "Irish Research Council's mission". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  3. "Irish Research Council's strategy statement" (PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  4. "What we do". Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  5. "#LoveIrishResearch - Twitter".
  6. "#LoveIrishResearch Blog".
  7. "Professor Jane Ohlmeyer". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  8. "Irish Research Council Appoints Peter Brown as Director". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  9. "Dr Eucharia Meehan". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  10. "Irish Research Council Board Members". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  11. Irish Research Council (May 2015). "Irish Research Council - Annual Report 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  12. "Aylien".
  13. "Nuritas".
  14. "Crisis Pregnancy Programme".
  15. "National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education".
  16. "Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland".
  17. "Tusla - Child and Family Agency".
  18. Royal Irish Academy Social Science Research Council 2000 Annual Report. ISBN 1 874045 84 4.
  19. Dr Maurice J. Bric, 1999, "The Humanities and the Social Sciences: a Case for a Research Council: A Report to the Minister for Education and Science", Dublin: An tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachais/Higher Education Authority, Government Publications Sales Office, ISBN 0-904556-63-8.
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