RCSI researcher awarded prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

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Professor Paul Donnelly, Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board, and Dr Cian O’Connor, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Tissue Engineering Research Group, RCSI Department of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine.

The Department of Foreign Affairs; Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media; and the Embassy of the United States of America in Dublin have announced the Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2024-2025.

Among the recipients is Dr Cian O’Connor, a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Tissue Engineering Research Group based in the RCSI Department of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine. Dr O’Connor was presented with one of the prestigious awards at a ceremony held in Iveagh House. 

The Fulbright Awards enable outstanding candidates from across Ireland to attend leading US institutions to research, study, teach and collaborate with experts in their fields. 

Dr Cian O’Connor, the RCSI Fulbright awardee, will travel to Professor David Mooney’s lab at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Boston, MA as a Fulbright-National University of Ireland Scholar. His research will focus on utilising state-of-the-art viscoelastic biomaterials to enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of stem cells and advance platforms for spinal cord injury repair.  

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Cathal Kelly, Vice Chancellor of RCSI, said: “We are proud to see one of our researchers recognised with such a distinguished and highly competitive award. Dr O’Connor’s project is a great example of the cutting-edge research and global collaboration we are committed to. I look forward to the contributions he will make as an ambassador for RCSI while strengthening our ties with our colleagues in the United States.” 

Speaking at the awards ceremony, 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, Thomas Byrne T.D. 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.” 

US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Mike Clausen, said: “Fulbright is the largest and most prestigious international educational and cultural exchange programme in the world. It plays an essential role in strengthening ties between the United States and Ireland and fostering mutual understanding. Through educational and cultural exchanges, Fulbright awardees work together toward common goals and finding solutions to global issues, ensuring that the spirit of transatlantic friendship continues to thrive. I warmly wish this year’s awardees every success.”   

Learn more about the Fulbright programme at RCSI here.