Six From NUI Galway Scoop Prestigious Fulbright Award

Pictured are NUI Galway Fulbright Awardees (back row, l-r): Dr Emer Mulligan and Professor Fidelma Dunne. Front row (l-r): Dr Gavin Collins, Alena Yuryna Connolly, Julanne Murphy and Colm Mac Fhionnghaile.
Jun 09 2014 Posted: 10:47 IST

Tom Healy, Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board, officially announced 40 new Irish Fulbright Awardees at an event at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence. Since 1957, the Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and U.S. governments and provide Irish students, scholars, and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture, and research at top universities and institutions throughout the United States.

Among the 40 awardees were six winners from NUI Galway:

Dr Gavin Collins is a lecturer in microbiology and European Research Council Fellow at NUI Galway, and a British Science Association Media Fellow at The Irish Times. As a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California Berkeley, Dr Collins will investigate microbial genomics in bioenergy production and enhanced oil recovery processes.

Professor Fidelma Dunne is the Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway. Professor Dunne will research alongside Professor Mary D’Alton at Columbia University in New York. She will compare and contrast the screening for and clinical outcomes for women with Gestational Diabetes in both states to include a cost benefit analysis.

Colm Mac Fhionnghaile is an MA candidate in Modern Irish at NUI Galway. Colm will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant in the University of Connecticut.

Dr Emer Mulligan is Head of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. As a Fulbright-CRH Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Dr Mulligan’s research activities will focus on taxation in practice in US multinational corporations and US tax policy and administration.

Julanne Murphy completed a Professional Diploma in Education at NUI Galway in 2012 and is currently a secondary school teacher at Ardscoil Ris, Limerick. Julanne will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

Alena Yuryna Connolly is currently undertaking a PhD in Information Systems Security at NUI Galway. While at the University of California Berkeley, Alena will research socio-cultural measures that promote security-cautious behaviour of employees in organisational settings.

Patrick McDermott, Chair of the Fulbright Commission Board, commented: “The breadth and diversity of specialist knowledge, combined with immense leadership ability, makes this contingent an incredibly powerful group of representatives for Ireland. Each individual has overcome a rigorous selection process where research and study objectives were judged based on their potential to drive the Irish knowledge economy.

“However, their mission extends even beyond academia. Fulbrighters are recognized for their capacity to forge meaningful collaborations between Ireland and the US. This element of inter-country collaboration is crucial to driving creativity which is at the core of all innovation and Fulbright itself.

“Recognising global needs in digital technology, the Irish Fulbright Commission has also launched the TechImpact Awards this year. These are new short-term grants intended to facilitate faster movement for cutting edge digital research. This year six TechImpact candidates will explore areas such as optical communications, online laboratory environments, human-computer interaction technology and digital humanities.”

A number of other agencies sponsor Fulbright Awards including CRH plc, Enterprise Ireland, the Marine Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency and Teagasc. The Irish Language Awards for teachers are supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht and the National Lottery.

Speaking about the diverse nature of the awardees, Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, added; “Year on year Irish Fulbrighters provide a fascinating insight into the direction of progressive global research. This year we have seen a particular increase in research that crosses traditional academic boundaries as the digital world impacts on everything around it. Fulbright provides a unique platform for Ireland’s brightest scholars to forge ahead in breaking new ground, while collaborating with other world class researchers in making a genuine difference to society.”

The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Tuesday, 26 August, 2014. Interested applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website,, for more information. All applications for the 2015-2016 academic year will be due on Wednesday, 12 November, 2014.


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