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William Makes Concrete Plans For Canada


A Donegal PhD student’s ground-breaking research into developing stronger, environmentally friendly concrete has helped earn him a prestigious scholarship with a leading third level college in Canada.

William Wilson, who’s originally from Mountcharles, is currently researching a new type of ultra-high strength and environmentally friendly concrete for his PhD at IT Sligo.

He has been awarded a James M.Flaherty Research Scholarship (in honour of the former Canadian Minister for Finance) and will conduct six weeks of research on cement technology at IT Sligo’s partner institution Fanshawe College, in Ontario, Canada, during May and June.

“This is a great opportunity from my perspective,” said a delighted William. “It will give me the opportunity to explore how my research could be facilitated in other countries where the climate is very different to Ireland.”

William is a graduate of IT Sligo’s Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) and also holds a MSc in Insfrastructure Engineering from Ulster University. His PhD supervisor at IT Sligo is Dr Tomás O’Flaherty, who is a lecturer in the Institute’s Department of Civil Engineering and Construction.

William’s current research has already seen him win a Higher Education Authority ‘Making an Impact’ Award in 2015.

The James M. Flaherty Research Scholarships are awarded to emerging research scholars, typically either PhD students or post doctoral academics. The award supports a short research visit of two to six weeks, enabling awardees to make contacts with researchers working in related research topics, enabling the student to widen and deepen their research horizons, and lead to continuing collaboration in their research.

Congratulating William on his scholarship award, Dan Douglas, Dean of the Centre for Research and Innovation at Fanshawe College, said: “We look forward to hosting William at Fanshawe College this spring while he conducts his research on high performance concrete. The quality and importance of William’s work has already been recognized by him receiving the James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship Award. It is our honour to support him in extending his research to include a new climatic area. This is the first formalized research activity that aligns with the research MOU between IT Sligo and Fanshawe College, and we are very confident William will be a wonderful ambassador for this agreement.”

Fanshawe College is one of Ontario’s largest third level institutions. It has four campuses and is home to 43,000 students. Fanshawe has developed a strong relationship with IT Sligo in recent years. Student pathway agreements between the two colleges have been established across disciplines such as Pharmaceutical Science, Environmental Science, Construction Project Management and Early Childhood Education.

William Wilson and Prof Vincent Cunnane

L-R: Professor Vincent Cunnane – President of IT Sligo & William Wilson