The Niamh Burke Memorial Bursary for 2023 has been awarded to Sean Murphy from Cavan town and Karin Mackey from Mullinahone in Co Tipperary.
The fund fosters and supports study and research in the field of renewable energy.
It annually awards a sum of €10,000, which may be split between recipients, to support students pursuing education in this area. The bursary is administered by Wind Energy Ireland and funded by Niamh’s former employer Arthur Cox and her family.
The duo impressed the judges with their commitment to working to tackle the climate emergency and their passion for their chosen fields of renewable energy and environmental finance and environmental and natural resources in law, respectively.
Arthur Cox partner Alex McLean said: “We are committed to playing our role in building a more climate-resilient society and so are delighted to be able to support the next generation of Irish talent who will assist in delivering the energy transition.”
Dave Linehan (Wind Energy Ireland) said: “The growing interest in green careers in renewables and wind energy means there is huge competition each year for this bursary. Supporting education in this area is vital. We need to encourage and enable the climate champions of the future to reach a zero-carbon Ireland.”
Sean Murphy hopes to pursue his studies for an MSc in renewable energy and environmental finance in UCD’s Smurfit Business School:
“This programme will give me an understanding of how renewable-energy projects are financed and how sustainability and ESG factors (environmental, social, and governance) are becoming ever more important in investment decisions.”
Describing her academic plans, Karin Mackey said that the bursary proceeds would fund her studies at UCC.
“Following on from this, my hopes are to contribute the legal expertise I will have gained to make my own impact in the ever-continuing fight against climate change. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive this bursary in honour of Niamh Burke," she added.
Karin will study for her master’s in environmental and natural resources in law in UCC while also working as a legal secretary.
The bursary was established in memory of the late Arthur Cox partner Niamh Burke, who played a significant role in the Irish wind-energy sector.
Over a 20-year career Niamh advised on some of Ireland's largest energy, infrastructure and construction projects. The bursary was established in 2020 to honour her memory and contribution to the development of renewable energy in Ireland.