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

RCSI PhD receives prestigious engineering scholarship

21 November 2014

Alan Ryan, PhD student at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from one of the world's largest professional bodies for engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Alan is a student working with Prof Fergal O'Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre.

Alan Ryan

Alan has been awarded one of the IET's largest scholarships - the 2014 Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher, worth £10,000. Alan was recognised for his work in tissue engineering, where he has developed a novel artificial blood vessel from a natural polymer biomaterial.

Currently, Alan's research focuses on utilising the natural polymers, collagen and elastin, as a basis for growing blood vessels in the lab using tissue engineering techniques.

Alan said, "I am absolutely delighted to be awarded this scholarship. I hope to continue to undertake postdoctoral research in a world class institute such as AMBER so that I remain at the forefront of this exciting field and further develop my own research niche. My career objectives are to combine my passion for engineering, science, technology, and teaching, with aspirations to become a principal investigator and university lecturer in the future."

Alan's supervisor, Prof Fergal O'Brien, who is Deputy Director of AMBER and Professor of Bioengineering & Regenerative Medicine at RCSI said, "This is a fantastic achievement by Alan, and is a testament to the quality of his work in the development of biomaterials that could be used as alternatives to current vascular bypasses for the benefit of patients suffering from cardiovascular disease - the leading cause of death worldwide."

Trevor Grimshaw, Chair of the IET Scholarships Committee, said: "Every year we receive a very high calibre of applications, and this year has been no exception. The scholarship recipients have demonstrated outstanding talent as well as real engineering potential, and I look forward to seeing the results of their inspirational work."

The IET's Postgraduate Scholarship for an Outstanding Researcher is given annually to an accomplished PhD researcher working on a project that aims to enhance people's lives through advancing knowledge in science, engineering and technology.

In 2013, the IET provided over £1,000,000 in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence, innovation and encouragement of the next generation of engineers and technicians. The IET will maintain this investment in 2014 with its portfolio of awards, which includes Diamond Jubilee scholarships, Apprentice and Technician awards, scholarships in India, the Present around the World competition and the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize.

RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.

For more information about IET Awards, please visit