The call for applications for the Fulbright-Irish award is now open. Postgraduate students across Ireland are being encouraged to apply for the Teagasc-sponsored award.
This year sees a second award being offered to candidates with the addition of the new Fulbright-Teagasc Scholar and Professional Award. The Fulbright Commission and Teagasc are offering this new opportunity for scholars and professionals to travel to the United States to research or lecture in the fields of agriculture, food, forestry and environment.
To be considered
Successful applicants for the scholar and professional award must have a PhD or five years’ relevant work experience with a clear plan of research or lecturing and strong experience in the agriculture, food, forestry or environment sector.
“The award gives them financial support but it also gives them the opportunity to develop their own skills and career,” says Jane Kavanagh, head of research development and Walsh scholarships at Teagasc.
“Maybe it’s a new idea they have, maybe it’s an area they want to develop further and they have identified a team or institution in the US they would like to develop that knowledge with. It’s really about that knowledge and exchange.”
What it involves
Successful candidates of both awards will receive a monetary stipend, travel costs, accident and emergency insurance, visa administration support, cultural and professional programming and an introduction to a vast international professional and academic network.
For all grants, the Fulbright Commission is seeking applicants with strong leadership potential and a commitment to the ethos of being a Fulbrighter.
Teagasc, in conjunction with the Fulbright Commission, has supported postgraduate students to take up study opportunities at universities across America since 2003.
The current recipient of a Fulbright-Teagasc Award is all-Ireland winning Tipperary hurler Conor Hammersley, who is based at the Columbia-Bassett Medical School in New York where he will research evolving socio-cultural and economic challenges US farmers face in relation to their health, compared to those encountered by farmers in Ireland.
“I was honoured to be chosen for the award and a little bit surprised. When I came to terms with it I was just very excited to get going,” says Conor, who has been stateside for a month now.
Conor explained that the process was a long one and that getting your application ready to submit takes some time, so the advice is to be prepared.
“What I look at specifically is the mental health of the farming community in Ireland, with particular considerations for the social and cultural context in which farmers operate in, for masculinities and identities,” he explains. “And how the context of a rural area in America shapes farmers’ relationships with health, particularly help seeking behaviour,” he continues.
Rachel White received the Fulbright Award in 2021 and has since started a job working at the Irish Holstein Friesian Association upon her return from a six-month stint at the University of Florida.
“At home, I was looking at endometritis, which is an infection that cows get post-calving in the uterus, so all of my study was focused on infection and immunity. I went over to Dr John Bromfield who is an associate professor at University of Florida,” Rachel explains.
“It was more cellular level – I was working in the lab there looking at cell culture projects.
“We were looking at the effects of treating cells from the bovine uterus with different products to see how they would react,” she says.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rachel’s start date was delayed.
She did not take up her US study until January 2022.
“To be honest, it was fantastic that I got to go over at the time that I did because, due to COVID-19 here, I wasn’t in a position to attend any conferences or present any of my work during my normal masters programme,” says Rachel.
“When I got over there I was able to attend an embryo transfer conference, which was held in Savannah, Georgia, and I was able to present my work at a symposium at the University of Florida – it was just fantastic,” she adds.
To help support your application for the Fulbright award, the Fulbright team host webinars and events which you will find at fulbright.ie/events/
The deadline for applications for both Fulbright-Teagasc 2023-2024 sponsored awards is 4pm on Thursday 27 October 2022. To learn more, visit fulbright.ie.