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McAdam Travel Bursary

Bursary Information:

Martin McAdam is a UCD Chemical Engineering graduate (1982), former CEO of Aquamarine Power and currently CEO of Ardgowan Distillery.

Martin generously sponsors the McAdam Travel Bursary, initiated in 2013, as an award for which undergraduate students in Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering students are eligible. The award is intended for students who wish to achieve a personal goal, which may or may not be directly linked to Chemical/Bioprocess Engineering, but which would contribute to a broadening of the student's individual development.

To the recipient, the McAdam Travel Bursary provides a travel bursary, for use prior to the end of their undergraduate studies, to a maximum value of €1,000.

Oisin Wade receives Pat McAdam travel bursary in 2023

UCD Engineering Graduates Association, EGA Gold Medal & Award Ceremony 2023. McAdam Travel Bursary presented by Dr Jessica Whelan, Head Of School, Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering to Oisín Wade.

UCD Engineering Graduates Association, EGA Gold Medal & Award Ceremony 2022. McAdam Travel Bursary presented by Dr Jessica Whelan, Head Of School, Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering to Kevin O'Connor

UCD Engineering Graduates Association, EGA Gold Medal & Award Ceremony 2022. McAdam Travel Bursary presented by Dr Jessica Whelan, Head Of School, Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering to Kevin O'Connor


Rahaf Khlalaf McAdam Travel Bursary 2019.

McAdam Travel Bursary to support his first trip to the US in order to undertake a research placement and to explore a new country.  He attended the University of Maryland (UMD) where he worked in the Environmental Aerosol Research Lab led by Dr. Asa-Awuku.  There he conducted research into the use of organic solvents as detergents in black carbon droplet formation.  Black carbon particles, a form of air pollution, has significant impacts on human health, ecosystems, agricultural productivity and global warming.  UMD is in the Washington DC metropolitan area and was a great base for learning about American culture and traditions and for exploring the east coast.

In Rahaf’s words: “ The four months I spent in America was an incredible experience that has not only shaped me professionally, but also personally. My aim at the start of my journey in the States was to explore the different fields available to a chemical engineer, like myself, instead of the traditional pharmaceutical and business routes. Not only that, but I wanted to push myself to try something different and outside of my comfort zone - being part of the environmental aerosol research laboratory really allowed me to do just that! I learnt so much more than I anticipated, and it sparked my interest into environmental engineering. I am also incredibly thankful to Dr Asa-Awuku and her team for taking me under their wing and providing me with a deeper understanding in this field and assisting me throughout my research project. 

My time in America was filled with adventures, laughter, good times and a lot of hard work. Am I glad to be back home? – Absolutely, but I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to complete my research project in the States. I am grateful for the incredible impact this experience has had on my personal and professional development. I am thankful to have received the McAdam bursary and all of those in UCD and the University of Maryland who made this experience possible!”

Mustafa Mahdi, .McAdam Travel Bursary 2019

Mustafa Mahdi was awarded the McAdam Travel Bursary to support him completing a semester abroad in the University of Maryland (UMD). He had the opportunity to complete his Master’s research project investigating the factors which affect protein aggregation using interferometric scattering microscopy. Protein aggregation responsible for the progression of diseases such as Huntingtons and Alzheimers. Mustafa also experienced living abroad for the first time, met many other students from a diverse range of backgrounds and explored some of the US. A highlight of the trip was the chance he had to participate in wrestling for the semester – a brand new sport. According to Mustafa “I would like thank Mr. Martin McAdam for granting me the McAdam Travel Bursary, which contributed to making my adventure possible. Although I did see that my journey in the States would be huge for my development, it had a much greater impact on me than I had ever anticipated. I can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my life to date. Through forming lasting friendships and continually pushing myself to new heights in multiple domains, I was able to grow personally and professionally. I look back to my decision to embark on that journey as one of my best. It was the first time I had ever stepped into completely new and unfamiliar territory, and saw myself transform as a result. As such I believe it will be a springboard to whatever other personal development opportunities come my way as I move forward through life.”

Claire Riordan (right), recipient of the McAdam Travel Bursary 2018, pictured with (from left) Kate McAdam and Martin McAdam.

With the support of a McAdam Travel Bursary, Claire Riordan, a Stage 3 student 2017-18 (Chemical Engineering with Biochemical Engineering Minor), spent Summer 2018 as an IAESTE Trainee with Wanhua Corporation, in Yantai, China, a 'small' city, with a population of about 7 million, located on the eastern seaboard of the country, half-way between Shanghai and Beijing. Claire lived within a 15-minute walk of the beautiful beaches for which the area is known, in a dorm-style building, with other international interns and Wanhua employees: they  would eat, travel, work, and eventually, return home together. At Wanhua, Claire was assigned to a research laboratory, working on the development and optimization of the production of a biological compound. She availed of the opportunity to travel widely and visited 6 Chinese cities, including Shanghai and, her favourite, Hangzhou. While the Wanhua internship certainly offered very valuable professional experience, Claire's three-month stay in China gave her a real insight into Chinese life and the cultural differences and similarities between China and Ireland.

In Claire's words: "I developed an ability to approach things from a new angle, with a new outlook. Looking forward, I know traveling, exploring, and working in China is only the beginning. I want to reach further, experience more, learn more, and push my boundaries. I want to thank Mr. Martin McAdam and the McAdam family for their continued generosity. The summer I spent in China was a brilliant experience, from both personal and professional standpoints. The McAdam Travel Bursary helped to make my journey possible and I am extremely grateful for it. Thank you!"

Claire Riordan's Report on the McAdam Travel Bursary 2018

Catherine Galvin, Stage 3 student 2017-18, shown here with her family, winner of the McAdam Travel Bursary, presented by Assoc. Prof. Patricia Kieran, on behalf of sponsor, Martin McAdam (UCD BE ChemE 1982)

Catherine Galvin applied for a McAdam Travel Bursary to enable her to explore career opportunities for Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering in two areas of interest to her: fermentation (for brewing/distilling) and water purification. Having spent the 2016-17 academic year as a 3rd Year Study Abroad students at McGill University, Canada, and in receipt of the McAdam Travel Bursary, Catherine ‘couch-surfed’ from Boston, to Philadelphia, Washington DC and Key West, visiting Chemical Engineering Departments, water treatment facilities, breweries and distilleries in each location. She returned to UCD in September 2017 to enter Year 4 of the 5-year Integrated ME programme in Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering. “I would like to thank Mr. McAdam for this unbelievable experience. Without this generous bursary I would never have been able to go on this astounding trip. I have not only developed professionally, but also personally, and after this summer I came back to UCD with a renewed love for the engineering craft.

I learned so many things on this trip that I never would have encountered in UCD. I now have a deeper understanding about the water treatment process and better understand the associated theoretical aspects. I am more confident about the brewing process and have already begun brewing my own cider, based on the things I learned in the States.

My confidence as an engineer has shot up. Before this trip I’d often feel nervous about reaching out to people in industry, as I didn’t feel confident about my practical knowledge. My learning, up until now, has mainly been theoretical and being exposed to pure industry over the course of this trip has stripped away any nervousness I once felt. Regarding career paths, I see myself going into a sector that is innovative and is using new technologies. I certainly see myself continuing with fermentation exploration and will keep my eyes open for exciting opportunities in the water sector in the future, even if the area currently seems tame.

This trip has had huge impact on my personal and professional development. I now have contacts all over the States and have learned a huge, huge amount, as explained throughout the report. I was thrilled to be awarded the McAdam bursary and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity. ”

Catherine Galvin's Report on the McAdam Travel Bursary 2017

Katie Kilcoyne - 2016 Winner of McAdam Travel Bursary

Katie Kilcoyne is a 2nd Year (2015-16) Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering student.  Joint Runner-Up for the 2016 Pat McAdam Scholarship in Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering, Katie is the 2016 recipient of the McAdam Travel Bursary. The Bursary allowed Katie to accept a 10-week IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) Traineeship, with Yantai Wanhua, in China. The Traineeship carries a stipend sufficient to cover local living expenses, but not the Dublin-Yantai travel expenses. Without the McAdam Travel Bursary, Katie could not have accepted this challenging and professionally rewarding internship.

James Devane, recipient of the McAdam Travel Bursary 2015, with Dr. Kate McAdam, daughter of the benefactor, Martin McAdam.

James Devane graduated from UCD with a BE degree in Chemical  Bioprocess Engineering in 2016 and was recruited by Boliden Tara Mines, as a Process Engineer.   Receipt of the 2015 McAdam Travel Bursary allowed James to accept an unpaid, but professionally valuable internship with a London-based Operational Excellence Consultant, specializing in pharma/biopharma applications. During his time in the role, James gained first-hand experience of the effective application of Lean Tools and returned to UCD to commence his final year studies with a heightened appreciation of the role of the Process Engineer in process optimisation and innovation.

Conor Waldron - 2013 Winner of McAdam Travel Bursary

Conor Waldron, a UCD Ad Astra Scholar (2011) was the first recipient of the McAdam Bursary. The Bursary allowed Conor to travel to India, during Summer 2013, to volunteer with SUAS, teaching maths and English to severely disadvantaged primary school-age children. Conor spent the 2013-14 year at the University of Santa Barbara. In 2015, he graduated with a 1st Class Hons degree, ranked 1st in his class. He received the PM Group Kevin Kelly Design Award. In receipt of a U21 Scholarship from UCD, he was one of 3 students representing UCD at the 2015 U21 Undergraduate Research Conference in Auckland. He then completed a Summer 2015 IAESTE Traineeship in China. In October 2016, Conor commenced his PhD research in the area of micro-reactor design, at University College London.