2018 Grattan Scholars committed to understanding & improving society

Posted on: 06 December 2018

The School of Social Sciences and Philosophy recently awarded two prestigious Grattan Scholarships to postgraduate students in the disciplines of Political Science and Sociology. Grattan Scholarships support outstanding PhD students who are committed to understanding and improving society through their research and teaching.

The 18 scholarships awarded since the programme was established in 2012 have helped attract some of the world’s most talented students to Trinity, with Scholars hailing from 12 countries around the world.

Grattan Scholars not only undertake research on issues of global societal and economic importance, such as international development, inequality and financial globalisation, they also enrich the learning experience of undergraduate students by delivering high-quality and engaging teaching.

2018 Scholars Stefanie Sprong and Miceal Canavan with programme supporter Hamish McRae, Prof Gail McElroy, Head of School of Social Sciences and Philosophy and Prof Linda Doyle, Dean of Research

At a reception to welcome the 2018 Scholars Professor Gail McElroy, Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, commented: “The School is delighted to welcome this year’s scholars, Stefanie and Miceal, to Trinity. As the first Scholars begin to graduate, it is extremely rewarding to see the impact that the scholarship has had on their education and their career trajectories. For example, recent graduates have been selected for programmes such as the International Monetary Fund’s Economist Program in Washington DC and secured prestigious academic positions, for example, at Oxford´s Department of International Development. The School is truly grateful to the programme’s supporters for their extraordinary generosity and for the opportunities that they are providing these exceptional students.”

Recipients of the 2018 Grattan Scholarships are:

Stefanie Sprong – who joins the Sociology Department to undertake research explaining the ‘migrant gap’ among children in Ireland. This is the fourth Grattan Scholar to be funded in the field of migration – helping to ensure that Trinity advances meaningful research on one of this century’s defining issues.

In her PhD project, Stefanie will examine the school performance of children with a migration background from a comparative and longitudinal perspective. She is being supervised by Richard Layte, Professor of Sociology, and Jan Skopek, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology.

Before joining Trinity as a Grattan Scholar, Stefanie completed an MSc in Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism at Utrecht University. She also holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Utrecht. In addition, she has been involved in several research projects related to labour market discrimination, multiculturalism and economic inequality.

Commenting on her scholarship Stefanie said: “In today’s increasingly diverse societies one of the key questions is how to foster the structural integration of immigrants. Education is a critical resource for economic and societal progress and a crucial factor structuring socio-economic outcomes and life chances of individuals. The Grattan Scholarship gives me an outstanding opportunity to further develop and challenge myself, whilst contributing to the limited knowledge on this topic of major societal relevance.”

Miceal Canavan – who has joined the Political Science PhD programme to undertake research into the effectiveness of prejudice reduction and the impact this has on political behaviour. His research seeks to understand why interventions to reduce prejudice are effective in some contexts but ineffectual in others, analysing how individual, group and national factors mediate potential prejudice reduction. The research, which is being supervised by Gizem Ariken, Assistant Professor in Political Science, will then consider the potential implications for political behaviour and outcomes.

Before joining the PhD programme Miceal undertook an MSc in International Politics at Trinity College Dublin, graduating with a distinction. Prior to this he was conducting research with the World Bank in South Africa. He also holds a Laws BA from the University of Cambridge.

Elaborating on his research, Miceal said: “In recent years, we’ve seen an upsurge in prejudice in our politics and on the streets – UK home office figures found that hate crime increased by a third in 2017, whilst in the USA hate crimes rose by 12.5% in the ten largest cities. Surprisingly to many, a recent study in Ireland indicates that prejudice towards immigrants is worse than the European average. To this point research has focused on the prejudice itself. The Grattan Scholarship gives me the unique opportunity understand how we can reduce these prejudices in our increasingly diverse and divided societies.”

Funding for the Grattan Scholarships has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Trinity College Dublin alumni and friends, including Harry Hartford, Anke Heydenreich, Nicholas O’Donohoe, John Pearson, Rupert Pennant-Rea, Declan Sheehan, the late Peter Sutherland SC, Niall Coakley, Donal Donovan, David Kitterick, Susannah McAleese, Hamish and Frances McRae, Michael O’Higgins, Annrai O’Toole, John Teahan, The UK Trust for TCD, University of Dublin Fund (US).

For further details please visit the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy’s website.

Media Contact:

Sally-Anne Fisher, Head of Communications | fishers@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3606