News 2022

Professor Anita Maguire leads Royal Irish Academy's diversity strategy

1 Jan 2022

Professor Anita Maguire, School of Chemistry, and director of the Analytical and Biological Chemistry Research Facility, UCC, is heading up the implementation of the Royal Irish Academy's (RIA) independent diversity review which aims to make the Academy a more inclusive space.

The Royal Irish Academy commissioned the review in May 2021. The main finding of the Report is that ‘for the RIA to be relevant to Irish society today and attract members from across all disciplines, all geographic areas, all academic institutions, all protected characteristics – in other words to be truly inclusive – then changes will be necessary in how the RIA selects members’.

Professor Maguire, who is Vice-President of the Royal Irish Academy, praised the report and its clear, practical recommendations, saying:

This report gives us the tools to make the Academy a more inclusive space that reflects the higher education landscape in Ireland today.
She is chairing the implementation group which has already begun its work. Over 750 academics contributed to the review which was conducted by an international panel of experts led by Professor Lesley Yellowlees.
There was also a broad consultation with institutional stakeholders including the Department of Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and science; Department of Economy (NI), Higher Education Authority; Irish Research Council; Irish Universities Association and the Technological Higher Education Association. The Review Panel consisted of: Professor Lesley Yellowlees (chair); Professor Veronica van Heyningen; Professor Knut Liestøl; Professor Andrea Petö; The survey analysis was provided by Dr Danielle Dalimonte-Merckling.
The RIA is Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences, humanities and social sciences and recognises world-class researchers by election to membership of the Academy. Currently there are 633 members.
The review found that there was strong support for the need for change within the RIA to reflect current best international practice in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).
“Diversity is an issue of central importance to the academy, and I am committed to strengthening the diversity of its membership. A more diverse academy is a stronger academy” said Dr Mary Canning, RIA president.


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