Canadian Dobbin Scholar, Eric Keske, at UCD

February 3, 2014

Canadian Dobbin Scholar, Eric Keske, writes about his experience in UCD on his research exchange.

In the summer of 2013 I was given the great opportunity by the Ireland Canada University Federation (ICUF) to take a short leave from my current position as a PhD graduate student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario Canada to travel to Dublin, Ireland for a research exchange. I was very fortunate to be invited to join the laboratory of Professor Martin Albrecht, in The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at University College Dublin (UCD) to conduct chemical research. Specifically, the research I was investigating while there was related to the development of novel transition metal complexes for use in homogeneous catalysis. This research is significant not only for synthetic applications, both on laboratory and industrial scale, but it is also relevant to improving sustainability and environmental friendliness of chemical processes.

This was an excellent experience as Professor Albrecht is considered a pioneer in his field, and his research is regarded as truly inspiring. Both Professor Albrecht and the people at UCD were incredibly hospitable, and made sure that my stay there was not only productive but also very enjoyable. Although the intended duration of scholarship was for 2-4 weeks, I was invited to remain in Dublin for three months to continue my research. At UCD, I was not only introduced to Irish culture in the beautiful city of Dublin, but I was also able to meet several new contacts at the university. This allowed me to be exposed to new fields of research, which has been proven to be very beneficial for my studies in Canada. In addition, I have been able to build on existing academic links that continue to foster the development of ongoing exchanges in this research area.

My research exchange to UCD has also sparked an on-going collaboration between the research group of Professor Albrecht, and my research group in Canada. This collaboration has proven to be quite fruitful thus far, and appears to be promising in the future. Furthermore, my supervisor Dr. Cathleen Crudden has discussed the possibility of hosting an Irish student from Professor Albrecht’s group for a similar exchange. It is unlikely that this collaboration could have taken place if I had not been given the opportunity to travel to Dublin.

Through the Dobbin Scholarship, I strongly believe that many scholars in the early stages of their research career will continue to be recognized and allow for incredible partnerships and research advancements between Canada and Ireland. The knowledge and experience I gained would not have been possible without the kind and generous people at the ICUF, who graciously helped fund this exchange and scholarship. I am very thankful for this experience and words cannot express my gratitude to the ICUF and their sponsors for their generosity and support by providing me with the opportunity to participate in an exchange that has been truly remarkable.

Eric Keske, PhD graduate student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario