MU researcher wins IRC Eda Sagarra Medal of Excellence

Eda Sagarra Medal winner Tara Ćirić
Monday, December 18, 2023 - 12:00

Maynooth University congratulates PhD scholar Tara Ćirić has won the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) Eda Sagarra Medal of Excellence for 2023.

She received the prestigious award for being the top-ranking postgraduate scholar in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) in this year’s IRC Government of Ireland funding programme.

Every year, the IRC presents Medals of Excellence to four early-career researchers. The medals are named after previous chairs of the IRC. Tara received the medal for her research and work at MU’s Department of Education on the topic of children and young people in care.

She said her research is grounded in the belief in young people's capacity for decision making and the commitment to their right to be heard and involved in their care and education.

Welcoming the award, she explained: "My approach to this research is committed to acknowledging children and young people in care as experts in their own lived experience as well as in the institutions of care and education in which they live and study."

“By working with them as co-researchers and collaborators, whose voice and analysis holds as much weight as policymakers and other professionals, I believe wider society will gain valuable insights into possibilities for future practice and policy,” Tara said.

She added: “To me, this award underlines the importance of this field of research. Children and young people in care, in particular residential care, are seldom heard in the education space or in the space of research, and tend not to get many opportunities to research, discuss and analyse the issues affecting their lives.

“We need more research to understand how to better deliver care and other services for this population, and to learn from children and young people who have so much to offer the research space.”

Tara's work is supervised by Professor Aislinn O’Donnell and Dr Catriona O’Toole of MU's Department of Education.

Vice-President for Research and Innovation at Maynooth University, Professor Rachel Msetfi, said: “Maynooth University is delighted to congratulate Tara Ćirić on receiving the Eda Sagarra Medal for the excellence of her postgraduate research. We greatly value the societal impact of this field of study.  This research will further support professionals and policymakers who help shape national policies and deliver care and education to children and young people.”

The medal is named after Professor Eda Sagarra, Fellow Emeritus in the Department of Germanic Studies, Trinity College Dublin. Prof Sagarra was the first chairperson of the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, the forerunner of the IRC.