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Professor Frank Barry elected as member of the Royal Irish Academy

27th May, 2021

Frank Barry, Professor of International Business and Economic Development at Trinity Business School, has been elected to the Royal Irish Academy, the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Professor Barry was among 27 new RIA members invited to sign the Academy's members book in recognition of their world-class contributions to the sciences, humanities and social sciences. He was joined by fellow Trinity academic Dr Ruth Barton, Associate Professor in Film Studies and head of the School of Creative Arts.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the RIA admitted the group of academics in a video call rather than with the traditional ceremony.

Welcoming this year's newest entries, RIA President Dr Mary Canning said:

“These 27 new Members are recognised for their scholarly achievements, typically reflecting many years of research, or for significant contributions to Irish society.”

Frank Barry is Professor of International Business & Economic Development at Trinity Business School. He has held positions at the Universities of Stockholm, California and New South Wales, and with the Harvard Institute for International Development. He has acted as a consultant for the World Bank, the European Commission, the African Economic Research Consortium, and various Irish and UK government agencies. His current research interests are in the fields of foreign direct investment and economic and business history. His academic profile and research can be viewed here.

Commenting on his election, Professor Barry said:

“I am delighted that the Academy has recognised by the granting of this award the importance of critical research in the field of business.  Adam Smith famously wrote in 1776 that “people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Some two centuries later, Garret FitzGerald observed that “democratic governments tend to be subject to such strong pressure from vested interests that many of their decisions operate against the interests of society as a whole.

Business school academics are well-positioned to address the major public policy issue that arises – how the clear benefits of business activities are to be secured and promoted while remaining cognisant of these dangers.  This is something I have sought to explore through my teaching and research, and interaction with colleagues, over my time at Trinity.”

Professor Andrew Burke, Dean of Trinity Business School, said:

“The Royal Irish Academy honour exceptional people and Frank Barry is both an exceptional and inspirational thought leader.   As a former student of Professor Barry, I can attest first-hand how his insightful mind and engaging intellectual teaching style has made a huge impact on generations of students.  Frank is an international scholar but Ireland has been fortunate that he has turned down many global research opportunities to focus on his passion for the key concerns facing the Irish economy and society.  

His research on unemployment, international trade, foreign direct investment and long-term business performance have all played a transformative role in the evolution of the Irish public policy landscape.  They have also played a major part in the progressive change that has occurred in Ireland since Frank began his academic career in the 1980s.  It is heart-warming to observe this incredible contribution being recognised by the Royal Irish Academy.”

Frank joins a prestigious group of what is now 637 RIA members, of whom over 90 are Honorary or overseas members, and past members include Nobel laureates WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney.


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