Researcher Tops Irish Research Council Scholarship Scheme

IT Sligo civil engineering graduate, Glenn Gordon, has received the highest marks awarded in a prestigious Irish Research Council (IRC) scholarship scheme that drew nearly 500 applications from universities, Institutes of Technology and other third level colleges in Ireland and other EU states.GlennGordonweb

He has been awarded an IRC EMBARK Postgraduate Scholarship that will enable him to complete a wastewater treatment plant civil and environmental engineering research project which could lead to substantial economic savings for the public purse and private industry, as well as helping the environment.

Glenn, who is 25 and from Castlebar, Co Mayo, scored 94 % in the IRC’s assessment of his application which included consideration of aspects such as the candidate’s academic standing and personal statement about his project’s merits.

The scheme enables graduates to conduct research at Masters and PhD levels. This year it attracted 486 applications for 150 awards, 20 of which were won by researchers at Institutes of Technology.

A total 63 applicants were in the 85 – 94 marks category.

It is the latest accolade for Glenn, who has won several academic awards since he started at IT Sligo in 2005.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” he said. “It shows that hard work does pay but an award like this coming to IT Sligo says a lot too about the calibre of teaching at IT Sligo in Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as the respect that it has in the research community in Ireland.”

Congratulating Glenn, IT Sligo President Professor Terri Scott, said: “This is one of the top-flight scholarships in Irish postgraduate research. It is a great tribute to Glenn’s expertise and further enhances the Institute’s reputation for cutting-edge research and as one of the leaders in Civil and Environmental Engineering.”

Glenn’s academic supervisor, Dr Brian McCann,  a Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering & Construction, pictured with Glenn below, who works under the Institute’s Centre for Sustainability Research Group, praised his commitment and enthusiasm. “The scholarship is a fitting reward for all the hard work and innovation that Glenn has demonstrated during his studies here at IT Sligo. As well as being a personal and professional accolade for Glenn, the award adds very significantly to IT Sligo’s research profile and reputation.”

Glenn is developing a ranking system that will rate wastewater treatment plants and, be of significant assistance to government funding agencies, local authorities, the dairy and food industries and other sectors that support or operate them.

“What I am working on are sustainable optimisation indicators, a type of benchmark against which all the stakeholders will be able to measure the efficiency of wastewater treatment plants. For example, when government is deciding on funding, it could use it to assess whether a plant meets a pre-set score or where it needs to improve to gain those extra points.

“This project involves assessing and monitoring a wide range of wastewater treatment plants to determine the extent of sustainable operation and performance. These Sustainable Optimisation Indicators will have national and international applicability. The result will be a ranking system that is geared to achieving the maximum performance potential and capacity from existing wastewater treatment plants”

Glenn began his studies at IT Sligo in September 2005 studying a two-year Higher Certificate in Civil Engineering and winning the CEMEX Medal for the highest overall marks in it. He followed that with a Bachelor of Engineering (Ord) in Civil and Water Engineering, winning the IT Sligo Governing Body Medal for highest overall marks. Next, he added a BEng (Honours) in Civil Engineering, achieving first-class honours on the Institute of Engineers of Ireland accredited Level 8 degree to his achievements, achieving joint highest marks for his final year dissertation.

Glenn‘s research has been supported by the Institute’s Research Capacity Building Fund but he largely self-funded the first two years of his Masters before transferring to the PhD register; “I don’t think I could have kept going without this boost from the Irish Research Council. It’s a great vote of confidence,” he said.

When he completes his PhD, Glenn hopes to work as a consultant in the area of wastewater treatment plant optimisation, design and innovation.

To learn more about Glenn’s research click here


 Caption for photos: (Above top right) Glenn Gordon, an IT Sligo research student from Castlebar Co Mayo, has received the highest marks awarded in a prestigious Irish Research Council (IRC) scholarship scheme; (Above) Glenn pictured with his academic supervisor, Dr Brian McCann.

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