Published: 19th June 2019
Queen's Calling: Why studying in Belfast will make a lot of sense for you
Their Physical Education Centre was used as a training base during the London Olympics and they have as many as 50 sports clubs
Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland is a lot of things - a member of the prestigious Rusell Group which includes 24 of the United Kingdom's elite universities; one of the top 200 universities worldwide as per QS World Rankings 2019, a world-class campus complete with a museum, botanical gardens, trading rooms, Bloomberg terminal and so much more - but more than anything else, it is full of students and staff with warm hearts and that fire in their belly to make the most of this university which was founded by Queen Victoria herself in 1845, making it UK's ninth oldest university. The obvious question here is if this university is so awesome with such a rich history and heritage, why haven't you heard about it yet? We are told that it was only last year that they started putting themselves out there a lot more and even visited India to start to forge new bonds.
Queen’s has introduced School Scholarship for the UG students as part of their UG initiative for September 2019 intake. The scholarship is worth GBP 7,500
Best of Belfast
If you jog your memory, you might recollect that Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland where this university is located, was known for building the ship that sank - RMS Titanic. Nowadays, it is known for Games of Thrones and the spots where this series was shot are a huge tourist attraction. But upon reaching the city, we understood why it is much more than all this. Welcoming smiles and an occasional, "You look lost, dearie. Can I help you?" went a long way in warming the cockles of our heart, despite the low temperatures with a smattering of rain. We eventually realised how Queen's and Belfast are reflections of each other when it comes to the heritage and people.
What a view: The beautiful architecture of the buildings of Queen's | (Pic: Queen's University Belfast)
The next day, the same light rains and a nip in the air greeted us as we alighted from our taxi right in front of Queen's Lanyon building, one of the 250 buildings on their estate, and walked past a sculpture of Galileo Galilei pondering into a meeting room where warm tea and scones awaited. We were also greeted by Deans of Internationalisation Prof Michael Alcorn (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) and Prof Stan Scott (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences) along with Dean of Graduate School Prof Margaret Topping and Director of Marketing, Recruitment, Communications and Internationalisation Isabel Jennings - all ready to fill us in on Queen's connect with India. While Prof Alcorn spoke about their association with OP Jindal Global University, Prof Scott spoke about Infosys and how Queen's has been engaged with InStep, the IT companies' global internship programme, since 2010. As many as 30 students have completed their internship with Infosys, he informs and adds, "In fact, in 2014 Narayana Murthy was here to receive an honorary doctorate from Queen's." Talking about their latest partnerships with Tezpur University in Assam, Prof Scott informs how, over the next four years the university plans to send 20 PhD students to Queen's also, talks are on to facilitate an exchange of 60 staff members from both sides and a shorter six to eight-week research programme for UG or PhD students.
Queen’s contributes 1.9 billion pounds to the UK economy and has been described as an economic anchor
Focus on India
What Prof Margaret Topping touched upon, among many things including 20 scholarships specifically for Indian students, was the success for their business accelerator programme and how through their social innovation programme students visit different communities in Belfast for a collaborative co-design project that make the youngsters in the communities think about educational opportunities. "This enables an entrepreneurial mindset with a desire to be involved with communities in a way that impacts them positively," she explains.
Marvel at it: Queen’s was ranked in the top 10 most beautiful universities in the UK. Any doubts? | (Pic: Queen's University Belfast)
"It is our Vice-Chancellor's vision to make sure that Queen's is a well-known name in India," says Isabel Jennings. And it is to be said, they are taking several steps to make opportunities as lucrative as possible, take for example their decision to consider JEE scores. "Indians are rooted in their families, things are not very different in Northern Ireland either," she says. And to ensure that students feel right at home while still being able to taste the flavours of Belfast, Queen's has set-up their own accommodation which is not just affordable, but well-looked after too. "Every block has a buddy, one go-to person for 33 students. And of course, we have various clubs and societies," she describes. All this to ensure that all 2,600 students feel safe and looked after and so do the 200 Indian students.
In terms of accommodation, Queen’s have 3,400 bed spaces and they are just 15 minutes’ walk from the campus with brand new facilities
ON THE JOB
From Indian Shakespeare to Epigenetics, this is what Indian researchers are up to at Queen’s
On their network
Anil Chepala is a scientist and pursuing his PhD at The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology. He is researching on multimode antenna arrays. “I make the most of the facilities here and the wisdom of my supervisor is what I carry back,” he says
Get back faster
Dr Nidhi Simmons is a Research Fellow and is researching low latency communications, which is, “reducing the delay between a network’s response to a message which could be critical to fields like autonomous driving,” she says
It's a trade-off
The motto of the FinTru Trading Room is to, “bridge the gap between theory and practical,” says Tripti Sharma, who is pursuing a PhD on equity release schemes. Queen’s Student Managed Fund runs like a company with a CEO and 160 members and they manage 30,000 pounds through the Davy Group
In his tongue
Anik Nandi from West Bengal is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the AHRC funded project, Foreign, Indigenous and Community Languages in the Devolved Regions of the UK: Policy and Practice for Growth. He is researching on language policy
It is all Indianised
Thea Buckley is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen’s and, “I am fascinated with how Indians have taken Shakespeare and made it their own,” says Kerala-born Buckley whose is currently researching on Indian Shakespeare.
Vijay Tiwari is an Associate Professor at Queen's and he studies biological mechanisms that switch genes on and off, especially when cells express a certain gene that gives a character to a cell. Or in short, "It is so important to be good to each other. For example, a good parental emotional bond creates a good gene expression programme which helps the child fit into the society," he explains.
Spots to visit
Well, we all know about the Titanic Museum and the Giant's Causeway that are on the must-visit list of everyone who visits Belfast, but what are the lesser-known gems? We list them out for you:
The Big Fish
Also called The Salmon of Knowledge, this is a printed ceramic mosaic sculpture where the outer skin of the fish is covered with ceramic tiles with texts and images relating to the history of Belfast
CS Lewis Square
Did you know the author of The Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis was born in Belfast? There is a whole square complete with seven bronze structures, including a life-size lion Asian, dedicated to this children's author
The Peace Murals
Communities are separated by walls, at least physically, and these walls and their artwork speak of peace, freedom and the troubled times that the city has been through
St George's Market
Forget the malls, buy local produce, including chocolates, clothes and cupcakes from this lovely market. You can also get pictures and artwork of artists who see the city as no one else does
(The writer was in Northern Ireland at the invitation of Queen’s University Belfast)
For more on them, check out qub.ac.uk