Minister appoints leading academics to Irish Research Council

Posted: 16 December, 2020

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has today appointed two leading academics, Professor Turlough Downes and Professor Orla Muldoon to the Irish Research Council.

The appointments are for a three-year period.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Harris said: “I am very pleased to appoint Professor Downes and Professor Muldoon to the Irish Research Council. They are both research leaders in their respective fields and I know they will bring important additional insights to the Council’s work.

“This is a really important time for research. We are now developing a new national strategy, which will outline and reflect our ambitions for the research system over the coming years. The Irish Research Council will play a significant role in bringing this ambition to life.”


Professor Downes is a Professor of Mathematics and Astrophysics at Dublin City University, where his research focuses primarily on plasma astrophysics. He founded, and is Director of, the Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity at DCU, was the founding Chair of the Programme Committee for the User Forum of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) of which he continues to be a member, and he is a member of the Management Committee of the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology.


Professor Muldoon, the founding Professor of Psychology at University of Limerick has led the development of the Centre for Social Issues Research, supporting the psychological study of social issues. Her research on the social psychology of stress, health and trauma recently earned her the Nevitt Sanford Award, granted by the International Society of Political Psychology and an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council.



Commenting on the recent appointments, Prof Jane Ohlmeyer Chair of the Irish Research Council, said “We are delighted to welcome Professor Downes and Professor Muldoon as members of the Irish Research Council. They bring additional experience in STEM and social science fields, complementing the diverse research backgrounds of existing members.  I have no doubt they will make a valuable contribution to our work in the coming years, and I look forward to collaborating with them on delivering the important mandate of the Council in the research eco-system”


Prof Downes said, “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed to the Irish Research Council by Minister Harris. I believe strongly that the Council is of critical importance to the creation and maintenance of a balanced, healthy and successful research eco-system across all areas of STEM, the humanities and social sciences. Such a system maximises the return to Irish society both in economic and societal terms and I am looking forward to contributing to this through working with the IRC over the coming years.”


Prof Muldoon said, “The Irish Research Council has become the most significant facilitator and sponsor of research in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Ireland.  At a time when research is offering solutions to the social problems we face, I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to the Council.  It is a great opportunity to offer gratitude through service to this important body.”

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