Maynooth University academic Dr David Cowan has been awarded a prestigious fellowship to the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). The fellowship honours individuals determined to have made outstanding achievements to social progress and development. Dr Cowan, an Associate Professor in the School of Law and Criminology, Maynooth University, joins the worldwide fellowship of more than 29,000 individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields, including David Attenborough and Bob Dylan.
Commenting on the achievement, Dr Cowan said “It is wonderful to get such recognition, but it is not the end of something, rather it is the beginning, as it connects me to innovators elsewhere in Ireland and globally.” Fellowships to the RSA come from a wide array of backgrounds and professions and are distinguished by the letters FRSA. The Society, based in London, invites experts from a broad range of fields to help find innovative solutions to tackle society's most pressing challenges.
Dr Cowan, who joined Maynooth University in 2019 and is pioneering the teaching of Law and Technology at the undergraduate level, says the recognition from the RSA is in large part due to his pioneering work at Maynooth and in communications. This coming Summer, his new book Effective Communication for Lawyers is due to be published by the major legal publisher Edward Elgar.
Dr Cowan explained, “The fellowship is for social progress and development, and what we are doing at Maynooth is developing a new kind of law graduate with an education in law and technology and enhanced communication skills. Lawyers play an important role in helping society to deal with the rapid and incessant changes driven by technology. This is what we are preparing our students for. It is also essential for law students to be prepared for a legal profession which itself is undergoing radical and disruptive change.” Dr Cowan concluded, “Our students are excited by the work we are doing together here at Maynooth, and that’s the best reward!”
Welcoming the news, Prof Michael Doherty, Head of Department of Law and Criminology, Maynooth University, said “Many congratulations to David on this prestigious, and well-deserved, fellowship. It is a fitting recognition of his work and interests, and it has been a real privilege to have him lecture at Maynooth, and to see his influence on legal education, and on our graduates. As a huge Bob Dylan fan, I am delighted to see Law at Maynooth can finally claim a direct link to the Great Man!”
The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) was founded in 1754 and aims to promote creativity across industry and develop collaborative networks to formulate innovative new ideas and help society flourish. Fellows of the Royal Society are elected by a panel of existing fellows who consider the nominee’s merits, creativity and alignment with the society’s ambitions. The illustrious list of fellows also includes Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Nelson Mandela, Dame Judi Dench , William Hogarth, and Tim Berners-Lee. Today, the RSA has fellows elected from 80 countries worldwide.