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Looking to the future, Fulbright Awardees will shine a light on urgent international research issues

Pictured: 2020-2021 Fulbright Irish Awardees Brian Maguire and Aleksandra Serafin – Conor McCabe Photography.


Thursday 11 June 2020:  Minister Ciarán Cannon T.D. will announce the 2020-2021 cohort of Fulbright Irish Awardees at an online celebration today.

At a time when international education programmes face huge challenges, the enduring Fulbright Programme will support thirty-six remarkable academics, professionals and students from Ireland to go to the USA and collaborate with their U.S. counterparts.

Looking to the future, Irish Awardees will shine a light on urgent international research issues from advances in cancer research, to cybersecurity and human rights. They will also represent, share and promote Irish culture, particularly through the Irish language programme. Award recipients are due to travel from September 2020, with a majority going from January 2021.

The resilient Fulbright programme has served to strengthen international relations throughout turbulent times for over seventy years. Founded in 1946, it has enabled academic and cultural exchanges between more than 2,500 Irish and American citizens since 1957.

With an emphasis on cultural immersion and building long-term academic and professional connections, the Fulbright programme selects excellent candidates from all over Ireland to work with top U.S. Institutions across all disciplines ranging from science, technology and business, to the arts and culture.

As a Fulbright Irish Scholar in 2020-2021, renowned Irish Artist and Professor Emeritus at the National College of Art and Design, Brian Maguire, will visit the Missoula Art Museum in Montana to investigate the continuing disappearances of young native American women. Aleksandra Serafin will go to the University of California San Diego as a Fulbright Student to further her University of Limerick doctoral research, developing novel materials for use as electroconductive scaffolds for spinal cord injury repair.

A Queen’s University Belfast Graduate and Gaelscoil Teacher, Caolán Ó Coisneacháin will go to Davidson County Community College, North Carolina, where he will teach Irish language and culture to American and international students as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant. As a Fulbright Scholar, Founding Professor of Psychology at the University of Limerick, Orla Muldoon, will go to the University of Kansas to examine the role of identity in determining the impact of trauma on biological markers of stress.

These are just a few examples of the scope of the thirty-six Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2020-2021.

The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 31st August 2020; interested candidates should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.

Minister Ciarán Cannon T.D.:The role of Fulbright Awardees in driving international research and keeping global channels of communications open is more important than ever. Fulbright has always propelled collaboration between the brightest minds. I wish this year’s Awardees every success for their time in the United States.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Edward F. Crawford: “The Fulbright program plays a crucial role in strengthening the unique relationship shared by the United States and Ireland. The durability of Fulbright is especially important during these challenging times.”

Chair of the Board of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland Professor Diane Negra: “The Commission Board congratulates the Awardees travelling to the U.S. in the coming year. In many ways their important research projects will have a shaping influence on how we all live in the future.” 

Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland Dr Dara FitzGerald: “The impact of our partners’ and sponsors’ support, flexibility and vision is heartening, especially in challenging times. We thank our partners, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.”

The following sponsors recognise the competitive nature of the awards and the prowess and tenacity displayed by all of this year’s awardees. Thank you to the Health Research Board, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, Geological Survey Ireland, the Marine Institute, National University of Ireland, Teagasc, the Creative Ireland Programme, the National Lottery and such notable U.S. Institutions as the Exploratorium Science Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Harry Ransom Center, Boston College and Georgetown University. We also enjoy tremendous support from Irish institutions including University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, National University of Ireland Galway, Maynooth University, Technological University Dublin, The AMBER SFI Centre, Dublin Institute of Advances Studies and the Hugh Lane Gallery.”



For further information, interviews, etc. please contact:

Emma LoughneyFulbright Commission 
Emma.loughney@fulbright.ie 01-6607670 
Photography from Conor McCabe Photography 


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