Trinity pair receive Fulbright awards for 2024/25

Posted on: 14 June 2024

Two researchers from Trinity – Abdulbaset Alazhare and Mairéad O'Donnell – are among the 21 Fulbright Irish awardees for 2024/25, who were presented with awards this week at Iveagh House.

Abdulbaset Alazhare is a PhD candidate in Trinity’s School of Engineering, where his research focuses on developing data-driven twin digital models for wind farms using artificial neural networks. These models capture the complex aerodynamic interactions between wind turbines in a wind farm and aim to reduce computational time compared to traditional numerical simulations, which may assist in enabling real-time monitoring of wind turbine structural integrity and fatigue.

Fulbright Ireland Board Chair Prof Paul Donnelly & Abdulbaset AlazhareFulbright Ireland Board Chair Prof Paul Donnelly & Abdulbaset Alazhare.

As a Fulbright Awardee, Abdulbaset will conduct a six-month research programme at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), collaborating with top scientists on numerical simulations and machine-learning applications for wind farm controllers.

Mairéad O'Donnell is a PhD candidate in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, where her research investigates the processes of co-design and urban rewilding through a social-ecological traits framework, and she is pursuing a European Research Council project, NovelEco.

Fulbright Ireland Board Chair Prof Paul Donnelly & Mairéad O'Donnell

Fulbright Ireland Board Chair Prof Paul Donnelly & Mairéad O'Donnell.

As a Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Awardee, Mairéad will be based in The New School in New York City. During this time, she will examine co-design in-depth, working with a case study community to design an urban wild space and develop an urban rewilding framework based on the findings.

The Fulbright bilateral exchange programme has facilitated academic and cultural exchanges and strengthened Ireland-US relations since 1957. The programme has a reputation for selecting exceptional candidates from across Ireland to study and work in disciplines ranging from health, science, technology and business to culture, the arts and the Irish language.  

Academics, professionals, students and scholars will research, study, teach and collaborate with experts at leading US institutions. Their innovative research will have lasting impacts for society.

Irish awardees will serve as cultural ambassadors in the US and share their knowledge, ideas and experience when they return home. Inspired by the mission and ethos of the Fulbright Commission, they will strengthen connections between the US and Ireland and contribute to creating a global culture of understanding that is vital in today’s ever more polarised world.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Thomas Byrne, Minister of State for Sport, Physical Education and the Gaeltacht at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and at the Department of Education, said:

“The Fulbright Programme plays a crucial role in sustaining the close relationship that the United States and Ireland enjoy. As Fulbright Awardees across all disciplines embark on academic and cultural exchanges across the US, they serve as ambassadors for Ireland, forging academic links through innovative research, building global understanding, and representing the best of the island of Ireland. Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants teach the Irish language, embody Irish culture and share their learnings upon return. The Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Department of Foreign Affairs proudly support this programme. I extend my sincere congratulations to the 2024-2025 Fulbright Irish Awardees.”

Professor Paul Donnelly, Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board, said:

“As Chair of the Fulbright Ireland Board, I am delighted to congratulate the recipients of the 2024-2025 Fulbright Irish Awards. In a year that saw the Commission award Fulbright Public Service Awards to Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and Dr Anthony Fauci, so too do Fulbright awardees represent the core Fulbright values of meticulous, innovative and high-quality research and teaching in service to the public good. As they begin their cultural and educational exchanges in the US, awardees join a distinguished global network of Fulbright alumni, experts, peers and colleagues who have achieved success and accolades in all disciplines. I wish the new awardees an enjoyable and fruitful experience in the United States.”

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