Irish Research Council alumna Ríona Nic Congáil secures European Research Council Starting Grant



Posted: 31 July, 2018

Irish Research Council alumna Dr Ríona Nic Congáil was recently announced as the recipient of a European Research Council Starting Grant worth €1.27 million.

Ríona’s research has been supported by the Irish Research Council since her postgraduate studies, including a Postgraduate Scholarship in 2006, a Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2010, a New Foundations Networking Award in 2013 and an ELEVATE Fellowship in 2014.

Her project, Youth Engagement in European Language Preservation, 1900–2020 (YEELP) was awarded funding for five years, with the support of the Research Office at NUI Galway. The project team will consist of a doctoral student and two postdoctoral researchers.

YEELP is the first in-depth, comparative, transnational and interdisciplinary study of the intersection between European youth and the preservation of minority or regional European languages since 1900. Ríona and her team will focus on three languages of differing statuses and rates of usage: Irish, Welsh and Catalan.

Underlying the project is the recognition that we can only answer the question of why some languages thrive while others die out if we consider the role and experience of young speakers. Thus, the project is groundbreaking through its historical, literary and grassroots approach of engaging with youths themselves. At its completion, YEELP will offer a model for European research in the fields of the history of youth, language studies, young adult literature and beyond, while also informing international minority and regional language planning into the future.

Ríona’s achievement contributes to Irish researchers’ impressive record on the European Research Council’s highly competitive funding schemes, with €566 million awarded to Ireland-based researchers since 2014.

The Irish Research Council holds the role of joint national contact point for the European Research Council to raise awareness, inform and advise on funding opportunities in addition to supporting in the preparation, submission and follow-up of grant applications. The Irish Research Council also leads as national delegate and national contact point to support applications under Societal Challenge 6 Innovative, Inclusive and Reflective Societies, and prepares the Irish research community for interdisciplinary engagement with the European societal challenges by fostering creative connections across all disciplines.