The Royal Irish Academy are pleased to open the Decade of Centenaries Bursary scheme once again, as part of the commemorative programme for the final year of the Decade of Centenaries, supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

This year, the scheme is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Éamon Phoenix, Historian and Head of Lifelong Learning at Stranmillis University College in Belfast, who was a valued member of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations, which supported and encouraged the development of this scheme.

The Decade of Centenaries bursary scheme was established to encourage and support new local research and local history studies in meaningful examination of local, regional, and national events during the Struggle for Independence and Civil War period.

This scheme acknowledges the important role that local historians often have in communities, as informed and trusted researchers whether, amateur or professional.

Fourteen bursaries were awarded last year and it is hoped that a similar number will be funded in 2023 to encourage new local history studies, furthering fields of research relating to the Struggle for Independence and the Civil War period within their communities.

Understanding the varying financial requirements of projects, applications will be invited for amounts ranging from €1,000 to €10,000.
Minister Martin said: I would like to sincerely thank the Royal Irish Academy for their ambition, enthusiasm, and expertise in delivering the Decade of Centenaries Bursary Scheme for a second year, in partnership with my Department. This is a really important initiative which highlights the wealth of original research and scholarship in the field of local history studies. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of historians in helping their communities to explore the impact and legacy of significant historical events locally, grounded in the evidence of primary archival sources.

This year’s scheme is dedicated to Dr Éamon Phoenix, who was a greatly regarded historian and member of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. Dr Phoenix was particularly noted for his thoughtful work with local communities, which was so important in encouraging the inclusive remembrance of complex and sensitive events. I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished work of the bursary recipients, which will be freely publicly available, in keeping with the inclusive and accessible ethos of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.’

Dr Maurice Manning, Chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations, added:
It is wonderfully appropriate that this imaginative and generous new scheme of bursaries should be dedicated to the memory of the late Dr Éamon Phoenix. Éamon will be remembered as a historian of the highest integrity who made a lasting contribution to the history of Northern Ireland. He was a superb communicator, trusted by both communities in Northern Ireland for his fairness and scholarly empathy, and in particular, for
his tireless support for local history societies and emerging historians. His enthusiasm and insights were of critical importance in shaping the development of the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme.

Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy, reflected:
‘The Academy is delighted to be partnering with the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media on this bursary scheme again this year. We were encouraged by the quality and range of projects funded last year under the scheme allowing local historians and independent scholars to bring to life the vibrant history of their areas during one of the most pivotal periods in our nation’s development’.

Applications for the 2023 Scheme will open on Wednesday, 15 February. For further information and scheme guidelines, please visit here where you will also find a list of suggested research themes to assist applicants. The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 5 April 2023 at 5.30 pm.