Trinity academics receive Fulbright awards to study in the US

Posted on: 20 June 2017

Minister Charlie Flanagan, formerly of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Reece Smyth, Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland, recently announced 38 new Fulbright Irish Awardees including three individuals from Trinity College Dublin and a number of TCD graduates. These Awardees will go to top US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their field.

The three awardees who are currently at Trinity are:

Dr Martha Finnegan is a doctor in psychiatry and research registrar at St Patrick’s University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin Institute of Neuroscience. Previously, she has studied bioethics and law. As a Fulbright-HRB HealthImpact Scholar to Yale, she will focus on combining bioethics and research methodology to find ways to support health researchers to undertake more clinical research with vulnerable populations.

Dr Martha Finnegan with Professor John Hegarty

Dr Jacek Kibilda ventured into the realm of wireless communications networks during his undergraduate studies at Poznan University of Technology and has since continued his journey down the rabbit hole of spectrum, antennas, and interference, most recently exploring models and architectures for future generations of mobile networks. He holds a PhD from Trinity College Dublin, where he is currently working as a research fellow with the CONNECT Institute. As a Fulbright-TechImpact Scholar, he will continue his research with the Wireless Networking and Communications Group at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr Jacek Kibilda with Professor John Hegarty

Fiona McDermott is a researcher and PhD candidate, based at the Connect Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications at Trinity College Dublin. While on her Fulbright-EPA Student Award at the New School in New York City, Fiona will undertake critical design research focusing on the practice of urban informatics, forms of urban intelligence and networked data infrastructures.

Fiona McDermott with professor John Hegarty

The unique nature of Fulbright Awards is that the Program encourages cultural exchange as well as educational. In addition to completing study or research projects, Awardees are tasked with being cultural Ambassadors during their time in the US. They will then return to Ireland to share the knowledge they have gained there. The rigorous application process ensures that the successful candidates are those who have conveyed how their work can have a positive impact on society.

Fulbright Program founder Senator J. William Fulbright said of the Program "Of all the joint ventures in which we might engage, the most productive, in my view, is educational exchange. I have always had great difficulty in trying to find the words that would persuasively explain that educational exchange is not merely one of those nice but marginal activities in which we engage in international affairs, but rather, from the standpoint of future world peace and order, probably the most important and potentially rewarding of our foreign-policy activities.”

Professor John Hegarty, Chair of the Board of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said: “On this 60th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Ireland, it is great to see the quality of students and scholars that it still attracts. Their opportunity is huge but so is their responsibility to continue Senator Fulbright’s all too relevant vision of advancing cross- cultural understanding. I know they are fully up to the challenge.” 

The next round of applications for the Fulbright Irish Awards will open on Thursday, August 31st, 2017 with opportunities in all disciplines, including the new Fulbright-Creative Ireland Fellowship for Museum professionals. Interested applicants should visit, for more information.  

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