Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

New RCSI Fulbright Scholar, Dr Helen French to research movement dysfunction in Boston University

13 June 2017

Dr Helen French, Senior Lecturer in the RCSI School of Physiotherapy has been announced as a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, allowing her to conduct research in the US.

Minister Charlie Flanagan of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mr Reece Smyth, Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland, announced 38 new Fulbright Irish Awardees at Iveagh House last week. Recipients include students, academics and professionals from 15 HEIs across Ireland and Europe. These awardees will go to top US institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their field.

As a Fulbright-HRB Health Impact Scholar, Dr French will undertake research into the role of movement dysfunction, using 3D motion analysis, in the development of hip pain in adolescents and young adults at the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in Boston University. The unique nature of Fulbright Awards is that the programme encourages cultural exchange as well as educational. In addition to completing study or research projects, awardees are tasked with being cultural ambassadors during their time in the US. They will then return to Ireland to share the knowledge they have gained there.

The rigorous application process ensures that the successful candidates are those who have conveyed how their work can have a positive impact on society. Speaking on Dr French’s award, Professor Marie Guidon, Head of the RCSI School of Physiotherapy, said: “Helen’s success in receiving a Fulbright Scholarship is a true testament to her high-quality research and work she has done over the years at RCSI.

"The application processes for these scholarships are rigorous but it is no surprise to me that Helen was successful as her work on inhibited hip movement in younger people has the potential to have a really positive impact on society. I wish her all the best for her stay in Boston and we look forward to her return.”

Dr Helen French receiving her Fulbright Scholarship 

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD added: “As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to the 38 Irish Fulbright Awardees for 2017-18. The Fulbright Commission plays an important role in providing reciprocal opportunities for Irish and US scholars and academics to study, work and experience life in each other’s countries. This year’s 38 Irish awardees come from varying academic and professional disciplines, from the liberal arts – including Irish language studies – to science, technology, engineering and maths. These awards underline the breadth and depth of the Fulbright Commission’s work, covering 34 institutions in 18 states and Washington, DC. I wish this year’s awardees every success for their time in the US.”

Dr Dara FitzGerald, Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said: “We would like to thank our partners, including the US Department of State and US Embassy in Dublin, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. We also have tremendous support from Irish institutions such as RCSI. I cannot overemphasise the impact that their support brings to the Fulbright programme, especially in terms of diversity and range of disciplines that enhance the Ireland-US relationship.”