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Energy, Engineering and Philosophy: 2011 North/South Postgraduate Scholarships scheme opens

INTRODUCTION

Universities Ireland, which promotes collaboration between universities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), the largest energy company on the island of Ireland, are offering five scholarships to students undertaking a recognised Master's or the first year of a PhD programme (taught or research) in the other Irish jurisdiction. Dublin Institute of Technology is also a partner in this scheme, which has been running since 2005.

These scholarships are worth ¤15,000 (approx. Stg£12,750) each. This year three of the scholarships will be in the areas of energy and engineering, and will be co-sponsored by Universities Ireland and ESB. Two more will be in another area - arts (including philosophy), business, science and social science - and will be funded by Universities Ireland alone. These scholarships must be taken up for the academic year 2011-2012.

The aim of this scheme is to encourage outstanding students from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to cross the border to undertake postgraduate study and experience life in the other Irish jurisdiction. Because it is 50% sponsored by ESB, there is a particular emphasis this year on the areas of energy and engineering, and the scheme aims to help build all-island innovation in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) which will be crucial in moving the island towards the kind of sustainable knowledge society that is vital both for its future prosperity and environmental sustainability. It is thus a scheme which has been conceived both to support the continuing peace process in Northern Ireland and to train highly skilled postgraduates to contribute to a new phase of economic and environmental development for the island as a whole.

THE SPONSORING FIRM

This year there will be one sponsoring firm, the ESB, which, with its recent purchase of Northern Ireland Electricity, has become the largest energy company on the island. The ESB is a vertically integrated utility with generation, supply, transmission and distribution network businesses that bring electricity to over two million customers throughout the Republic of Ireland. It operates internationally through its subsidiary ESB International.

Among the postgraduate subject areas that ESB will be particularly interested in supporting are engineering in all its forms (electrical and electronic engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering and chemical engineering); energy (particularly renewable energy and smart grids) and energy management;  environmental monitoring and modelling; pollution prevention and control; sustainable development and climate change.

This list is not exhaustive. Candidates should contact the Centre for Cross Border Studies (see details below) for advice on other relevant subjects.

The two non-energy/engineering scholarships will continue to be funded by Universities Ireland alone.

ELIGIBILITY

These scholarships are open to all students currently registered at an Irish or a Northern  Irish university or Dublin Institute of Technology (or who have graduated within the past five years)  proposing to take up a place on a Master's or PhD programme which would require them to locate to the other Irish jurisdiction. They are also open to currently registered students at an Irish or a Northern Irish university or Dublin Institute of Technology (or who have graduated within the past five years) wishing to follow a cross-border Master's or the first year of a PhD programme involving a significant period of study in the other Irish jurisdiction.

These scholarships are open to all students at an Irish or Northern Irish university or DIT (or who have graduated within the past five years) regardless of their nationality or birthplace.

These scholarships are also open to Irish or Northern Irish-born students currently registered at (or who have graduated within the past five years from) a British university (i.e. a university in England, Scotland or Wales) who wish to relocate to the Irish jurisdiction they were not born in to undertake a Master's or the first year of a PhD programme (or to follow a postgraduate programme with a significant period of study in the Irish jurisdiction they were not born in).

The fundamental requirement for eligibility for this scheme is a willingness to relocate to the other Irish jurisdiction for a whole year or a major part of a year in order to undertake a Master's or the first year of a PhD programme.

Students who are not eligible to apply to this scheme include:

  1. Students not currently registered at Irish or British universities;
  2. Students who have not graduated from Irish or British universities in the past five years;
  3. Republic of Ireland students wishing to do postgraduate study at a Republic of Ireland university;
  4. Northern Ireland students wishing to do postgraduate study at a Northern Ireland university;
  5. Students from either Irish jurisdiction wishing to do postgraduate study at an English, Scottish or Welsh university;
  6. Students at English, Scottish or Welsh universities who have not been born in Ireland or Northern Ireland wishing to do postgraduate study at a university in Ireland or Northern Ireland;
  7. Students at Institutes of Technology (other than Dublin Institute of Technology) in the Republic of Ireland;
  8. Students who have already commenced a Masters or PhD (by coursework or research).
  9. Students from Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland who have already taken their undergraduate studies in a university in the other Irish jurisdiction.

Past experience has shown that we receive queries from students who have particular university experiences and personal backgrounds which may not fit exactly into these categories. The Secretary of Universities Ireland (in consultation with the Universities Ireland Executive Committee) reserves the right to decide which of these applicants are eligible to apply to this scheme.

THE ESSAY

To be considered for this award, applicants will be required to write a short essay (1400-1500 words) explaining why they wish to study in the other Irish jurisdiction and how they believe their studies will enhance innovation for a prosperous and sustainable island in their chosen subject (for the energy and engineering scholarships); or understanding of all-island perspectives in their chosen subject (for the other scholarships).

for the scholarships will be based on this essay. The shortlisting panel will look for a clear outline of the course of study (or research topic) to be undertaken along with a coherently argued case why this course or topic should be undertaken in the other Irish jurisdiction. Applicants should explain clearly and cogently how they think their studies will contribute to the North-South or all-island dimension of their chosen subject.

TIMETABLE

The closing date for applications for this scholarship scheme will be Monday 16th May 2011 (5 pm). The winning applicants will be selected by a high level panel comprising two university presidents (one from the North, one from the South) and a senior executive from ESB. Shortlisting will take place in early-mid June.

The successful applicants will be informed of the panel's decision in early July. Those with energy/engineering scholarships will meet ESB executives between July and September to discuss a possible work placement or other collaboration to assist them in their studies. Students will be expected to engage seriously with ESB by ensuring that all possibilities of collaboration for mutual benefit are explored. These are generous awards from ESB in a difficult economic period, and Universities Ireland expects the company's financial commitment to be acknowledged and reciprocated in a significant way by the successful students.

50% of the scholarship will be paid at the beginning of the student's postgraduate year in autumn 2011; the remaining 50% will be paid in spring 2012.  This second payment will be dependent on a satisfactory progress report countersigned by a course or research supervisor, and (in the case of the energy/engineering scholarships) evidence that a work placement has been taken up (or of other serious engagement with ESB). The scholarship recipients will also be expected to provide Universities Ireland with a short report at the end of the scholarship period.

Recipients of the scholarships will be required to furnish proof that they have been offered a place on a recognised Master's or PhD programme in the other Irish jurisdiction or on a cross-border Master's or PhD programme. The organisers reserve the right not to award the full number of scholarships if the standard of applications is insufficiently high.

Download the application form and the guidance notes.

For further information, including an application form, contact Patricia McAllister, Universities Ireland, The Centre for Cross Border Studies, 39 Abbey Street, Armagh BT61 7EB, Northern Ireland Tel. 028-37-511550 [048 from Republic of Ireland] Email: p.mcallister@qub.ac.uk

Please address queries about eligibility to Andy Pollak, Secretary, Universities Ireland Tel. 028-37-511550 [048 from Republic of Ireland] Email: a.pollak@qub.ac.uk

Secretariat provided by the Centre for Cross Border Studies.