Neal O’Grady, a Dublin firefighter, and Stephanie Switzer, a law student from Bangor, Co Down, were presented with Universities Ireland’s first North-South Masters scholarships. Neal, from Firhouse, will do an MSc in Fire Safety Engineering at University of Ulster, while Stephanie will do a Masters in Commercial Law at University College Dublin.
Universities Ireland was set up in 2003 by the nine university presidents on the island of Ireland to promote collaboration between the Northern and Southern universities.
Neal O’Grady (29) has been a firefighter with Dublin Fire Brigade since he graduated with a first class honours degree in computer science from Trinity College Dublin five years ago. The course he is taking, the MSc in Fire Safety Engineering at the Institute of Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology at University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus, is recognised as one of the top courses of its kind in the world. It was set up partly as a result of Northern Ireland’s firefighters’ wide experience of dealing with fires caused by IRA bombs during the ‘troubles.’ Its faculty brings together researchers from as far away as Russia, Iraq, France, China, Australia and the US .
Stephanie Switzer (23) graduated this year with a first class honours degree in law from Queen’s University Belfast. She wants to use her course at UCD to pursue her studies to doctorate level in the ‘tools’ needed to bring about effective global governance. She says: “My intention is to study the way in which governance has been achieved in global terms within the commercial arena and to apply such lessons to wider, non-commercial areas of concern, for example, intellectual property rights in the fight against AIDS and environmental law.”