Prof Veronica Campbell, President designate of South East Technological University (SETU), has announced Dr Méabh Savage as the first recipient of the Vicky Phelan Honorary Research Chair in Equality and Access to Education.

Dr Méabh Savage who is a lecturer in the School of Humanities at SETU Waterford was awarded the Vicky Phelan Chair in Equality and Access to Education following an internal competitive process.

Dr Savage who is from Tramore Co Waterford will receive a research grant for the three year period of the appointment from 2022 to 2025 and will conduct research into how SETU widens access to education, with a specific focus on women.

Prof Campbell said that “the award embodies the values of the new University and the importance of equal access to education for all. SETU will strive to be a pioneer in the field of access to higher education, with a particular focus on inclusion”.

Dr Savage has responded to the news saying “I am totally honoured and delighted to be taking up the Honorary Vicky Phelan Chair in Equality and Access to Education. To progress equality-based research in Vicky Phelan’s name is indeed an honour which brings with it a considerable degree of responsibility, given Vicky’s drive for challenging injustice.

”I hope to elevate an important social justice issue which impacts on the position of asylum seeking and refugee mothers and girls, and in doing so highlight the importance of values of solidarity and relationality to bringing about educational equality.”

Dr Helen Murphy, Head of the School of Education & Lifelong Learning in SETU Waterford added “The Honorary Research Chair named after our friend and former colleague Vicky Phelan aims to embed the values that Vicky stands for with the values of SETU. The Honorary Chair aims to create a long lasting link between Vicky, her family and the University.

“The values embodied by Vicky are ones that the SETU community hold dear; strength, courage, determination, resilience, openness, leadership, wisdom and a willingness to put aside one’s own personal considerations for the betterment of society”.