Development & Alumni Relations Office 

QUEEN’S ACADEMICS ADMITTED TO THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMYRoyal Irish Academy on gold sign on solid black door

31 May 2020

Three academics from Queen’s – along with an esteemed graduate of the University working in the US – were among 29 new members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) received by RIA President Dr Mary Canning, as part of the Academy’s Admittance Day (22 May).

For 235 years new members were admitted with a traditional handshake but this year, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, admission this year was via an online ceremony.

Professor Christopher Marsh, Professor Steven Bell, and Professor Christopher Elliott from Queen’s were among those joining the membership of the esteemed organisation, admitted in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements.

Professor Marsh, from the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, is professor of Cultural History at Queen’s and a leading scholar of the early-modern period. His major works include the pioneering and celebrated studies, The Family of Love in English Society, 1550–1630 (1994) and Music And Society In Early Modern England (2013), both published by Cambridge University Press.

Professor Bell, Head of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, is professor of Physical Chemistry at Queen’s. He has made world-leading innovations in Raman spectroscopy. This has directly led to applications in forensic and materials science in areas such as DNA analysis, bacteria detection, foodstuff quality and illegal drug monitoring.

Professor Elliott, from the Institute for Global Food Security, is professor of Food Safety at Queen’s. He leads the use of analytical methods to inform food authenticity, integrity and safety, and to prevent food fraud globally. He founded the Institute for Global Food Security; developed the ‘Food Fortress’ concept; led an independent government review of the UK food supply system; and was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017.

Queen’s graduate, honorary graduate and former Professor of Modern History at the University, Professor David Hempton, was also admitted as an honorary member. Professor Hempton is one of the world’s most distinguished historians of religion and is currently Dean of Harvard Divinity School.

Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s, said: “I am delighted that these highly esteemed academics from Queen’s have been recognised by the Royal Irish Academy for their outstanding academic research and achievements.

“I warmly congratulate each of them on this honour.”

Welcoming the newly admitted RIA members, Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy commented: “Ireland should be immensely proud of these women and men who have brought international acclaim to our country. As members of the Academy they will strengthen our capacity to provide the expert advice Ireland needs at this time.”

The Royal Irish Academy is an all-island independent forum of peer-elected experts. Membership of the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland.

The academic body promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences, as well as to public service and has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of education and learning since its establishment in 1785.

Past members of the Academy include Nobel laureates WB Yeats, Ernest Walton, Erwin Schrödinger and Seamus Heaney.

Media enquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen's Communications Office on telephone: 07795 676 858.

Photo credit: Main image courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy


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