The Discovery Programme

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland is an all-Ireland centre for archaeology and heritage research. It was established by the Government in 1991. It is a company limited by g,uarantee funded mainly through the Heritage Council. It is also a charity registered under the Charities Regulatory Authority.

Its primary aim is to benefit the community by the advancement of culture, heritage and sciences, and in particular by:

  • Enhancing the understanding of Ireland’s past through archaeological and related research in the humanities and sciences;
  • Establishing and directing research programmes;
  • Promoting such research; and
  • Promoting an appreciation of Ireland’s archaeological heritage through education and outreach programmes.


The Discovery Programme’s mission as expressed in its Strategic Plan 2014-2017 is as follows:

The Discovery Programme’s mission is to explore Ireland’s past and its cultural heritage by conducting advanced research in Irish archaeology and related disciplines and by disseminating its findings widely to the global community.

In the past decade[when?] advances in information technology and remote sensing techniques have transformed the potential of The Discovery Programme to realize its mission in areas such as

  • Recording of ancient monuments and objects in 3D formats
  • Aerial and subsurface geophysical surveys of archaeological landscapes
  • Online presentation of cultural heritage data
  • Preservation and dissemination of valuable archaeological archives through digitisation

Corporate structure[edit]

The Discovery Programme is a company limited by guarantee. Its constitution was updated to comply with the Companies Act 2014 and with best practice in corporate governance. Its new constitution came into effect in January 2016. The company members are nominated to the company by nominating bodies representing archaeological and heritage bodies and higher-education institutions throughout Ireland:

A new directorate was appointed in January 2016. It consists of twelve directors, six elected by the company members, four (including the chair) by the Heritage Council and two external directors (yet[when?] to be appointed):

  • Dr Finbar McCormick, Queen’s University Belfast (chair)
  • Dr Colin Breen, University of Ulster
  • Professor Howard Clarke, Royal Irish Academy
  • Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick, NUI Galway
  • Dr Ruth Johnson, Dublin City Archaeologist
  • Ms Margaret Keane, Dept of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht
  • Ms Beatrice Kelly, Heritage Council
  • Ms Deirdre O’Hara, Director, National Standards Authority of Ireland
  • Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe, University College Dublin
  • Dr Gill Plunkett, Queen’s University Belfast

A major role involves providing training and support to a range of groups including: graduate researchers, secondary schools and local communities with a particular emphasis on the applied use of technology in documenting and understanding our shared cultural heritage.


The core funding of The Discovery Programme is an annual grant from The Heritage Council that amounted to €750,000 in 2015, a 40% drop from its peak in 2008. In common with all HEIs and cultural institutions, The Discovery Programme is expected to seek funding from other sources. We bridge this gap by sourcing funding for joint projects from the EU, by undertaking outsourced work and from other philanthropic sources interested in education and advanced research.

The Discovery Programme's current projects[edit]

These projects have been developed in the past two years and as they have progressed we have identified new research, educational and employment opportunities especially in the areas of IT and remote sensing that could expand with an injection of further investment.

External links[edit]

Template:Sci-org Template:Ireland-org Template:Ireland-archaeology