The Research Ally Prizes: New national awards recognise support and inclusiveness in the Irish research system

Posted: 13 August, 2021

Researchers depend upon a supportive academic community to grow and to thrive. You will always remember the supervisor who believed in your research idea; the mentor who guided your early career; or the Research Officer who helped you to secure a life-changing award.


As part of the IRC Researcher of the Year Awards 2021, a new national award category – The Research Ally Prizes – has been launched to celebrate the role of mentors, supervisors, Research Officers, and support staff across the Irish higher education and research system (whether funded by the IRC or not).

The Research Ally Prizes are open to all researchers and research-active staff in Ireland, honouring excellence in mentorship, supervision and research support. The IRC invites you to nominate a mentor, supervisor, Research Officer, or support staff who has helped you and your research.


What makes a Research Ally?


Research Allies are committed to supporting researchers across all career levels. They are an encouraging and instructive presence in academia, offering the practical and professional guidance, personal contact and wider networks that are key to academic fulfilment and success. They help to maintain a positive research environment that is free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.


For information on how to nominate a Research Ally, visit the Researcher of the Year Awards page on our website.




The launch of the Research Ally Prizes is part of a wider series of actions being taken by the IRC to promote inclusion, dignity and respect in Irish higher education. It follows the recent publication of our policy on Bullying, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment, which sets out guidelines for individual researchers in receipt of IRC funding, as well as for the higher education or research-performing institutions in which they perform their funded research.


Research funding agencies and higher education institutions must continue to work towards ensuring a more open and equal research system, both in Ireland and internationally. The IRC has recently expanded the gender categories in the grants management system to be more inclusive, now offering ‘woman’, ‘man’, ‘gender non-binary’, ‘other’ and ‘prefer not to say’ as gender identifiers to all system users. The IRC has also commissioned an independent review of its Gender Strategy for research funders in Europe and will publish the outcome in due course. The recommendations from this report and feedback from planned consultation with the research community will feed into the development of a new Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy for the IRC from 2022 onwards.


People are at the heart of research, and it is vital that we work together to create a respectful and supportive research community for all.

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