NUI Galway PhD Student Selected for International Antarctic Expedition

NUI Galway PhD student Sukanya Saikia
Jan 25 2021 Posted: 11:26 GMT

NUI Galway student Sukanya Saikia has been selected as a Climate Force Ambassador for the upcoming International Antarctic Expedition in November 2021. Sukanya will be part of a group of 80 dedicated climate change fighters and environmentalists who will travel to the Antarctic for an intensive and immersive training program.

Originally from India, Sukanya is a PhD student with the discipline of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. Her research investigates the climate change and urbanization impact on wastewater management systems.

The expedition aims to train and inspire young leaders in up-to-date climate change, sustainability and clean energy skills, and to provide a platform to engage in discussion and exchange ideas with world-class climate and sustainability leaders and help build strong collaborations.

Sukanya said: “I am extremely honoured and privileged to be selected for this once in a lifetime training. I am very passionate about climate change and sustainability issues and have been involved with such projects since 2013. I feel that for all the climate actions we do at an individual level, everything has acted as catalysts and manifested into this brilliant opportunity! I’m both excited and nervous and hope to get everyone’s support to complete this expedition.”

Organised by 2041 Foundation, the expedition will be led by Robert Swan, OBE, polar explorer, environmentalist, and the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. It was Swan’s original expedition to the South Pole which was the inspiration for the 2041 Foundation, an organisation he founded and dedicated to the preservation of the Polar Regions. The mission of the foundation is to engage businesses and communities on climate science, personal leadership, and the promotion of sustainable practices.

Sukanya’s supervisor, Dr Eoghan Clifford, Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great and a very exclusive opportunity for Sukanya. It will allow her to experience first-hand the effects of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica. It aligns with her PhD research and will give her a broader perspective on climate change, and I look forward to hearing from Sukanya about her experiences when she comes back.”

To find out more about Sukanya’s journey or to support her with the expedition visit her GoFundMe page at


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