A group picture of the Fulbright awardees at the announcement
Fulbright Irish Awardees including on left Dr Ailbhe Nic Giolla Chomhaill, lecturer in Irish in the School of English, Irish, and Communication at UL and Dr Olwyn Mahon, Senior Research Fellow at UL
Friday, 9 June 2023

A number of University of Limerick students and academics are among the latest awardees on the Fulbright Irish scheme, it has been announced.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to Ireland Mike Clausen announced the 37 Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2023-2024 at a ceremony in the US Ambassador’s Residence last night where the recipients were presented with awards.

Included among them are three from UL - Dr Ailbhe Nic Giolla Chomhaill a lecturer in Irish in the School of English, Irish, and Communication, Dr Olwyn Mahon, a Senior Research Fellow and Abaigéal Drummy, who graduated from UL with a first-class honours degree in Applied Languages.

The awardees on the scheme will attend 17 leading US institutions to research, study, teach and collaborate with experts in their fields from August 2023 to August 2024.

The Fulbright bilateral exchange program is known for selecting outstanding candidates from across the island of Ireland to study and work with US institutions across all disciplines ranging from health, science, technology and business to the arts and culture.

Awardees will travel to 17 states across the USA embedding themselves in institutions ranging from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Poets House New York and The University of Hawaii to The Smithsonian Institution in Washington and East Los Angeles College, the largest community college in California. Fulbright Irish Scholars, Students, and Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) will also engage with US society and share their knowledge and expertise when they return home.

As a Fulbright Irish Scholar based at Indiana University, Dr Nic Giolla Chomhaill’s research project will analyse Irish and Gaelic language folktales narrated by female storytellers from Ireland and Scotland during the 20th century.

As a Fulbright Irish Scholar at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Dr Mahon will explore the use of CRISPR genome editing mouse models of bone metastasis and multiomic single cell sequencing approaches to understand the tumour microenvironment in patients with metastatic urological cancers.

UL graduate Abaigéal Drummy, who was elected President of An Cumann Gaelach in her final year at UL, will teach the Irish language and take classes as an FLTA at the University of Montana.

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and at the Department of Education, Thomas Byrne TD said: “The warmth of the relationship between Ireland and the United States is underpinned by our shared history and common values. The Fulbright Commission and the Fulbrighters, past and present, are a testament to the best traditions of academic and cultural exchange, and have an outstanding record in representing Ireland. The Government of Ireland is proud to support this programme, which plays an essential role in building transatlantic understanding and fostering extraordinary academic links, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. My sincere congratulations and best wishes to the Irish Fulbright Awardees of 2023-2024.”

U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to Ireland, Mike Clausen said: “The Fulbright Program represents the U.S. government’s preeminent international educational and cultural exchange initiative. It plays a crucial role in sustaining and advancing the unique and close relationship between the United States and Ireland. Fulbright awardees exchange research, knowledge, ideas, and culture and contribute to solving important global problems. I congratulate this year’s awardees and wish them success in the United States and beyond.”

Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board, Professor Diane Negra, said: “I speak for the entire Fulbright Commission Ireland Board in congratulating the 37 Fulbright awardees on receiving their awards. Fulbright is synonymous with high-level research, academic excellence and cross-cultural collaboration and I wish the awardees every success as they travel to the U.S., join a thriving network of professional Alumni, and experience a rich and unique cultural and educational exchange that encompasses a Fulbright award.”

Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland, Dr Dara FitzGerald, said: “I congratulate the new awardees on the significant honour and achievement of earning a Fulbright Award. The Commission takes pride in the Irish awardees who engage in the States and return home to share their learnings. I wish to extend my thanks to the partners, stakeholders and sponsors who have supported us in recent years. The impact of their support, both immediately and over time, cannot be underestimated.

We thank our partners, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. We are grateful to have the ongoing support of our Irish award sponsors: the Health Research Board, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, Geological Survey Ireland, National University of Ireland, Teagasc, the Creative Ireland Programme, and notable U.S. Institutions as the Exploratorium, the Smithsonian, the Harry Ransom Center and Boston College.

I would like to note the continuous support from Irish institutions such as University College Cork, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Galway, Maynooth University, University of Limerick, Science Foundation Ireland, Atlantic Technological University, Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the Hugh Lane Gallery.

“I am keen to recognise our growing relationships with the Technological Universities including Atlantic Technological University, Technological University Dublin, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Mid-West, Munster Technological University and South-East Technological University. We wish them every success as they develop and will provide supports for their initiatives.”

The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on August 28, 2023. Interested candidates should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.