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Royal Irish Academy

Newcastle University academic elected to Royal Irish Academy

Published on: 20 May 2022

Professor Karen Corrigan has been made a member of the prestigious Royal Irish Academy.

Exceptional contribution

The Professor of Linguistics and English Language is one of 29 new members of the Academy, which recognises exceptional contributions to the sciences, humanities and social sciences, as well as to public service.

Professor Corrigan, who is Director of Research in Linguistics in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, said: "I am so delighted and feel hugely proud to be admitted to the Royal Irish Academy as an Honorary Member.

"It recognises not only my personal research contribution to a field that I love but also the funding and support that I have received over many years from various sources not least of which is Newcastle University.

"This honour is also shared by all the external partners and members of the communities I have worked with in North East England and Ireland who have challenged and shaped my thinking of how to conduct research that also pays it forward."

Professor Karen Corrigan (far right) with fellow new members of the Royal Irish Academy Jane Roberts and Anne Rigney

Significant contribution

Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: "We are immensely proud of these 29 new Members who we are recognising today for their scholarly achievements, their research and international distinction or for significant contributions to Irish society. As new Members of the Academy, they will contribute to and strengthen our capacity to provide expert advice on Higher Education and Research policy."

Professor Corrigan is a world leading scholar in language variation and change. Her most recent book is Linguistic communities and migratory processes: newcomers acquiring sociolinguistic variation in Northern Ireland. She is President of the International Society for the Linguistics of English and member of the leadership council of the United States' National Museum of Language. 

There are 656 Members of the Royal Irish Academy including: Nobel Laureates William C. Campbell and John O'Keefe; Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Frances Ruane, economist; Philip Lane, European Central Bank; Fabiola Gianotti, Director General CERN; Brigid Laffan, Irish political scientist and Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies; and Geraldine Byrne-Nason, Irelands Permanent Representative to the UN.

The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785 and those elected by their peers are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name.

Past Members have included Maria Edgeworth, a pioneer of the modern novel and Nobel laureates: WB Yeats; Ernest Walton, Erwin Schrödinger and Seamus Heaney.


Adapted with thanks to the Royal Irish Academy.


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