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ERI Researcher amongst UCC's 2020 Fulbright Awardees

University College Cork’s latest Fulbright Awardees will soon travel to the USA to spread the Irish language, research reunion in intercountry adoption, and research the responses of plants to the changing environment.

Minister Ciarán Cannon T.D. will announce the 2020-2021 cohort of Fulbright Irish Awardees at an online celebration today - including four recipients from UCC.

UCC’s Brigita Gallagher, Róisín Ní Chinnéide, Anne Marie Shier, and Prof Astrid Wingler of the ERI and UCC School of BEES are among thirty-six remarkable academics, professionals and students from Ireland who will go to the USA and collaborate with their U.S. counterparts as part of the Fulbright Programme. 

Professor Wingler is Professor of Plant Biology at University College Cork. Her research focuses on the responses of plants to the changing environment, aiming to increase the climate resilience of plant production systems in agriculture and forestry. As a Fulbright-EPA Scholar she will visit the University of California, Davis to investigate carbon capture and soil carbon sequestration in annual and perennial grasslands. In collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, this research will determine how different management practices can be used to improve the climate resilience of grazing systems, while also counteracting the current rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration through carbon sequestration.

Award recipients are due to travel from September 2020, with a majority going from January 2021.

The Fulbright programme has served to strengthen international relations by enabling academic and cultural exchanges between more than 2,500 Irish and American citizens since 1957.

The Commission is supported by the U.S. Department of State and the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht and several Irish and U.S. higher education institutions and organisations. 

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.

Prof Anita Maguire, Vice President for Research and Innovation at UCC, congratulated the four Awardees.

“I am delighted to see four UCC researchers benefitting from the prestigious Fulbright awards - these awards provide an excellent opportunity for the researchers to benefit from the experience in the US, and in addition the collaborative engagements developed through these exchanges offer strategic benefit to the University more broadly,” she said.

Minister Ciarán Cannon T.D. said: “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 said: “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 said: “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 said: “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."