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Chair of the Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland Ltd


Call for expressions of interest to chair the Board of 

The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland  Ltd

Closing date 3pm Monday 7th December 2020


Entity: The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland Ltd

Board meeting location: Dublin

Number of vacancies: 1 chairperson

Remuneration: Nil

Time requirements: a minimum of 9 x3 hour meetings per annum.

Applications: to by 3pm Monday 7th of December 2020.



The Heritage Council strategy Heritage at the Heart 2018-22 sets an objective to ensure a vibrant heritage sector.

The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland is a publicly funded institution set up to pursue advanced research in Irish archaeology. The Discovery Programme’s mission is to identify research themes crucial to interpreting the archaeology of Ireland's prehistoric and historic past and to generate dynamic research around these themes. It conducts that research to the highest academic and technological standards and engages in appropriate cross-disciplinary discourse with cognate disciplines to address research questions. It disseminates the findings of its research widely to scholars and the public.

The Discovery Programme is primarily funded by an annual core grant from the Heritage Council. Current areas of activity involve the production of an analysis of surveys undertaken on the Hill of Tara in the past 15 years and implementing the CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) project. Further details on the Discovery Programme can be found at Funding and deliverables are set out in annual Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between the Heritage Council and the Discovery Programme.

Functions of the board

The Board of the Discovery Programme is constituted under the Companies Acts 1963-2013 (Company Reg. No.: 243328) and is composed of Directors. The duties of such Directors are set out in the (2015) Articles of Association. The business of the company shall be managed by the Directors in accordance with the Articles of Association and the Companies Acts. In so doing, Directors shall have regard to best practice and good corporate governance particularly in relation to financial management and control. Directors shall also be aware of the leading role of the Discovery Programme in archaeological practice in Ireland.

The duties and responsibilities of the Chairperson are set out in paragraph 50 of the revised Articles of Association as follows:

(a)           overseeing the governance and performance of the Company, setting the agenda for meetings and facilitating the effective contribution of other Directors;

(b)           leading and representing the Board to the Chief Executive Officer and other employees of the Company and to the Members in general meetings;

(c)           chairing meetings of the Board of Directors and ensuring that the Board functions effectively and efficiently;

(d)           chairing general meetings of the Company.

In accordance with its Articles of Association, the Board has established an Audit Committee, which is chaired by an external professional and includes two Board members. Indemnity for Board members is provided under the Articles of Association. The Company is a registered charity: Charity No. CHY 12549

Vacancy details

As set out in the Articles of Association of the Discovery Programme Ltd, the Heritage Council nominates for co-option four ordinary members to the Board of Directors one of whom shall be the  Chairperson of the Board. The appointment of the Chairperson by the Heritage Council is made following discussions with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.[1] The remaining Board members are appointed from the Company Members who are nominated by various Nominating Bodies (including the Royal Irish Academy, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, universities and other state agencies etc.).

All board appointments are pro-bono; i.e., they do not attract any remuneration. Basic expenses will be paid to cover travel by the Discovery Programme.

To date, membership of the board is made up of archaeologists from Ireland, Northern Ireland and internationally, many of whom are attached to the principal museums, the universities and third-level institutes that teach archaeology, the monuments and archaeology sections of government departments and agencies, various learned and representative bodies, and from the private archaeological sector. Board members with expertise in governance, marketing and finance have also been appointed.

Person Specification

The Heritage Council is now seeking to appoint a Chairperson for the Board of the Discovery Programme. In order to ensure a mix of complementary skills and experience, the Heritage Council may choose to appoint from any or all of the two profiles set out below. The Heritage Council is committed to equality principles in making such appointments. In the interest of gender balance applications from female candidates are strongly encouraged.

As set out in recent guidance from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, while there are specific competencies in relation to the composition of individual boards in terms of the knowledge, skills and experience, best practice and expert advice confirms that effective board members are those that, for example:-

  • bring independent and objective scrutiny to the oversight of the organisation;
  • are prepared to be challenging when necessary while being supportive to the delivery of organisational strategy and objectives;
  • are equipped to offer considered advice on the basis of sound judgement and experience;
  • must be prepared to make a time commitment to their Board-related duties commensurate with their role.

In addition to meeting the requirements for selection as an ordinary member of the Board under one or more of the profiles set out below, it is desirable that candidates for the role of Chairperson demonstrate

  • Previous experience of membership of a board and demonstration of an ability to chair a board
  • Evidence of a successful career history at a senior level including experience of change management
  • Understanding of the main issues facing the Discovery Programme and the context under which it operates demonstrated by senior-level professional experience in the public service and/or private sector, or a cultural / educational institution
  • Proven ability to provide leadership at Board level and to think strategically
  • Capability of establishing good working relationships with the Board and staff of the Discovery Programme and other stakeholders

Profile 1: Senior professional or academic

The candidate must have experience in one or more of the following

  • Archaeology
  • Digital heritage
  • Cultural heritage

Experience of more than one of the above is desirable, as is experience of corporate governance, fundraising, financial management or PR and marketing.

Profile 2: Corporate governance / financial and risk management

While it is desirable that the candidate have some knowledge of the cultural heritage sector, to qualify under this profile the candidate may have qualifying experience from another sector. Candidates must have

  • professional experience in corporate governance including in HR, procurement and compliance and/or change management and/or
  • experience in finance and risk management preferably including experience on an audit, finance and risk committee and/or
  • experience of fundraising / philanthropy / PR and marketing

Applications from candidates who qualify under both profiles are welcome. Please indicate this in your cover letter if you feel this is the case. All candidates must be capable of establishing good working relationships with the Board and staff of the Discovery Programme and other stakeholders

Term of appointment

Under the Articles of Association, appointments by the Heritage Council to the Board of the Discovery Programme will be for a period of three years. Such Board members shall be eligible for re-nomination and re-appointment at the expiry of the three year term of office. Re-appointment shall be at the discretion of the Heritage Council.

Submitting your expression of interest

If you are interested consider carefully how your background and experience fits with the specific appointment criteria set out in this document. If you decide that you wish to be considered for appointment, we welcome you submitting your expression of interest via a cover letter with your detailed Curriculum Vitae.

Completed applications must be emailed to by 3pm Monday 7th of December 2020. The subject line must state EOI DISCOVERY PROGRAMME. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is received by the Heritage Council by this deadline.

Assessment process

An Assessment Panel (the “Panel”) will be convened by the Heritage Council to consider and assess the expressions of interest received. This Panel may include external advisory input. The Panel will:

  • review and discuss the expressions of interest received against the specific appointment criteria for the role;
  • assess potential appointees further, once they meet the specified appointment criteria, by undertaking any or all of the following steps:
  • Consideration of the written applications; and/or
  • Meeting/conference call; and/or
  • Referee checks;
  • Any other selection method deemed appropriate
  • compile a list of people deemed suitable for appointment which will then be sent forward for consideration by the Heritage Council board.

In a situation where the Heritage Council is of the view that it has not received applications from a sufficient number of suitable candidates, it reserves the right to appoint outside of this process. Personnel separately identified by the Heritage Council will be assessed against the criteria laid down in this document.

Please note that all personal data shall be treated as confidential in accordance with the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003 and the terms of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

If you have any questions regarding the application process please email



[1] The Discovery Programme is not a State board as defined by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, p. 9, November 2016.

Chair of the Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland Ltd

Published on 11.11.2020