Declan Arthur from Waterford has been awarded the inaugural Ciaran King Graduate Travel Scholarship by the DIT Foundation. The Scholarship scheme was established to honour the memory of the late Ciarán King – engineer, environmentalist and social entrepreneur. It provides the opportunity to a DIT graduate to spend three months working on renewable energy projects in a developing country. Declan will be based in Nairobi and will work on local solar energy projects with international charity, Renewable World, which supports the provision of affordable renewable energy services for poor communities in order to improve livelihoods, health and education.
An engineer by profession, Ciaran King was committed to environmental issues and believed strongly in the potential for renewable energy to alleviate poverty and promote income generation in developing countries. Having spent several years teaching and volunteering on projects in East Africa, he returned to Ireland where he lectured in DIT and later in UCD. He went on to establish his own business based on his interests in energy and, among his many achievements, made a significant contribution to the development of specialist techniques for analysing wind resources.
Following Ciarán’s untimely death, the DIT Foundation was invited by a donor to establish a Graduate Travel Scholarship in his memory. While choosing to remain anonymous, the donor stipulated that the Scholarship should offer an opportunity to a DIT graduate “to pursue a practical work assignment in a developing country, specifically in the field of renewable energy.” Expressing the gratitude of his family, Ciaran’s sister Aoife King said: “Ciarán would be very honoured, as we are, by this tribute. It reflects two of his great loves: renewable energy and Africa.”
Following a 25-year career in industry and the NGO sector, Declan Arthur returned to study at DIT last year, graduating in October with a Masters degree in Applied Media. Now, four months later, the Waterford native is preparing to depart for Nairobi. Volunteering is not new to Declan, who has worked with various charities, both in Ireland and in Albania.
Isolde Harpur, Ciarán King’s partner, with Declan Arthur (centre), winner of Ciaran King Graduate Travel Scholarship, and Dr Mike Murphy, Director and Dean of DIT College of Engineering and Built Environment.