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DRI Early Career Research Award

The DRI Early Career Research Award was launched in 2019. This Award grants a prize for an original piece of research (e.g. research done for master’s or PhD thesis, article or publication) informed in whole, or in part, by objects/collections deposited in DRI. Unpublished research is also considered, as long as the work is intended for eventual publication. 

Submissions are assessed by a panel that includes representatives from the DRI as well as an external assessor. The winner is granted a bursary award of €500.

The DRI Early Career Research Award  is open to early career researchers, including (but not limited to):

  • Senior undergraduates 
  • Master’s students
  • Those recently awarded a master’s degree 
  • PhD students or post-doctoral level researchers who do not hold an established academic post

DRI is committed to supporting early career researchers through initiatives like the DRI Early Career Research Award and through supporting best practice in research data management and Open Research in alignment with the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) principles.

Previous Winners

DRI Early Career Research Award Winner 2020


The 2020 DRI Early Career Research Award was awarded to Dr Siobhán Doyle. Her winning submission, 'Historical Narratives on Display: The Bullet in the Brick, National Museum of Ireland', draws on 'The Inspiring Ireland Project' visual collections in the repository. Siobhán’s research examines how representations of heroic death and martyrdom emerge in exhibitions commemorating the 1916 Rising at the National Museum of Ireland, National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin) and the Ulster Museum (Belfast) in 2016. Her award-winning submission has been preserved for long-term access in the repository here:

To learn more about Dr Doyle's experiences using the visual collections in the DRI repository in her research, we invite you to read her blog 'Negotiating the Challenges of Working with Visual Material: Archives, Cultural Institutions and Digital Collections'.

DRI Early Career Research Award Winner 2019



The 2019 DRI Early Career Research Award was awarded to Field Archaeologist Jennifer McCarthy. Jennifer’s research focused on the reinterpretation of a Middle to Late Bronze Age settlement site uncovered during site investigation works prior to the construction of the Youghal Bypass, Co. Cork in the early 2000s. Jennifer used the archaeological excavation reports from the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) Digital Heritage Collections to inform her award-winning research. 

Read more about Jennifer’s research in her blog on the importance of digital dissemination


Application Details and Timeline

The DRI Early Career Research Award 2021 opens to applications on 31 July 2021 and closes on 30 September 2021

Applicants should submit the following to

1) A short (1000 - 2000 word) essay or article. Though the topic, focus, and field is unrestricted, the research presented must have used (in whole or part) objects or collections from the Digital Repository of Ireland. 

Materials must be cited using Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) from DRI throughout. These can be found in the metadata for each object in DRI, viewed by clicking ‘Cite’ under ‘Object Tools’.

2) Accompanying the above, a 1-2 page summary that details your research process using DRI materials, covering the following areas: 

How was DRI content used in your research?

Why was it relevant to the research?

How has digital preservation and access to materials facilitated/advanced your research process?

Applications from social science students assembling data sets are also welcome. These datasets should fit within the remit of DRI, and have been created as part of your research. All or part of the data set, together with some contextual data, should be submitted. This contextual data could include any metadata templates (with examples of metadata used), consent forms, ethics documents, and/or interview questions. 

The submission should also include a summarising text of between 800 and 1500 words that explains the research questions behind your dataset, and why you think that dataset should be preserved and made available through the DRI. One criterion for judging data set submissions will be the completeness or comprehensiveness of the archival package. If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please email the DRI team at

Please attach submissions to the email in the relevant document formats (.docx for written submissions, .csv or a similar format for data sets in the case of social science applications).

The winning research will be promoted on the DRI website, along with quotes from the judges, and preserved in the DRI’s repository under a CC-BY licence. The winner will also be asked to work with the DRI team to adapt their research statement into a short post on the DRI Blog.