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DCU academic appointed as a University Research Fellow in recognition of outstanding early career research

A DCU academic has been appointed as a 2019 University Research Fellow by the Royal Society in recognition of their outstanding early career research and leadership potential.

Dr. John Regan of DCU’s School of Mathematical Sciences and Centre for Relativity and Astrophysics (CfAR) is among 43 appointees announced today (Monday, July 15th) across the UK and Ireland, by the Royal Society in London.

The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence and is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

The university research fellowships were established to identify outstanding early career scientists who have the potential to become global leaders in their field and to provide them with the support to build an independent research career.

Today’s announcement includes four Royal Society - Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellows funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

The new list of appointees will take up posts across the UK and Ireland from this October. In total, there are 24 universities across the UK and Ireland hosting University Research Fellowships.

Dr. Regan’s award is the first University Research Fellowship awarded to DCU since their inception in Ireland in 2015.

Dr. Regan gained national and international prominence for his ground-breaking work on the subject of supermassive black hole formation in the early Universe with articles on his work appearing in both Nature and Nature Astronomy.

The fellowship will allow Dr. Regan to develop state-of-the-art theoretical models to understand the growth of black holes from their formation up to their maximal size, and in the process identify where in the Universe is most conducive to black hole formation.

Speaking about the appointment Dr. John Regan said:

“The University Research Fellowships are extremely prestigious and it’s a huge endorsement of my work to be awarded a fellowship by the Royal Society. It’s a real honour to be awarded one.

It feels like Ireland is going through a golden age in astrophysics research at the moment and I’m delighted to be part of it. I’m really looking forward to starting the fellowship and getting on with more ground breaking science.”

Speaking about the appointment Prof Turlough Downes, Director of CfAR, said:

“We are delighted with the announcement of this award to Dr Regan. It underlines once again the world-leading research going on in CfAR - a research centre created in DCU less than 2 years ago but already with a significant and growing international reputation.

Fundamental research such as that supported by this appointment not only drives innovation, but also gives real expression and meaning to humanity’s natural curiosity.

We are looking forward to more successes such as this in the future as the importance of fundamental research regains recognition in Ireland.”

For full details on the 2019 University Research Fellowships go to

Pictured Prof Turlough Downes and Dr John Regan

15th July, 2019