First Graduates from IT Sligo’s New Masters in Road and Transport Engineering Present at Research Conference

  • Mr Alan Lowe, being presented with the Governing Body Medal by sponsor Tom Kirby, Secretary of LASNTG accompanied by Róisín Smith, Senior Executive Engineer LASNTG and Dr Brian McCann, Programme Chair at IT Sligo

IT Sligo was delighted to confer the first graduates from the new MEng in Road and Transport Engineering. This programme was launched in 2016 in collaboration with the Local Authority Services National Training Group (LASNTG) and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and is delivered online on a part time basis.
The graduate who was the recipient of the Governing Body Medal (sponsored by LASNTG) as a result of achieving the highest overall result was Mr Alan Lowe. Alan works in Roadstone and is the Senior Technical Manager.
Alan highlighted that “the programme was an excellent opportunity to further develop my engineering skills and found the overall experience to be very enjoyable and rewarding. I had been away from formal education for a number of years but the supports offered by IT Sligo were a great help. With the on line lectures it was always preferable for me to watch the lectures live but the ability to play back the recorded lectures was invaluable. I particularly enjoyed the group projects as the format provided an excellent opportunity to meet my fellow course participants, to share experiences and knowledge. A number of workshops were held in IT Sligo which also provided an excellent opportunity to meet other course participants and the course lecturers in person. The added benefit of walking away with a formal qualification is that I have made contacts and inks that I am sure will be maintained into the future.”

When selecting the MEng dissertation, Alan wanted to focus on a research area that he had an interest in and one that could potentially provide some benefits to his employer. The title of his dissertation was "The Impact of Recycled Concrete Aggregates on the Strength and Workability of Infrastructural Concrete". The use of recycled concrete aggregates has the potential to enhance the sustainability of ready mixed concrete and to also reduce the volume of concrete waste that is sent to landfill. The laboratory based research that he completed provided a platform for full scale recycled concrete aggregate processing trials in Roadstone. A number of concrete mix designs incorporating recycled concrete aggregates have now been developed with full scale concrete production planned for 2019.

Dr Tomas O’Flaherty, lecturer at IT Sligo was Alan’s dissertation supervisor and together they wrote and presented a research paper as an outcome from this research at the 2018 Civil Engineering Research in Ireland conference (CERI2018) organised by the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI) along with the Irish Transportation Research Network (ITRN). See for further detail.

Another graduate from this first graduating class, Finan Dooley, also presented a research paper at this conference. Finan is a local authority engineer who works in the Infrastructure Management Unit, Environment & Transportation Department of Dublin City Council. Finan’s dissertation supervisor was Dr Pat Naughton who was a co-author of this research paper.Finan confirmed that the “The MEng project on utility reinstatements in urban flexible carriageways was a subject that I had interest in and was something that had not been researched in Ireland since the early 90’s. The subject posed a challenge to local authorities in a changing urban environment that requires economic vitality so it was necessary to review and expand the subject to make it relevant in today’s world. I wanted to explore the subject field with new ideas and methodologies. It has particular relevance in the work place as this project will assist in the review of national polices relevant to the field. The project has since started further research and it is hoped that internationally the theories, methodologies and conclusions will be critiqued and further researched in this area. The project has brought me expert knowledge to the subject nationally and will no doubt bring progression in my professional career development as a Civil Engineer”

Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at IT Sligo commented on these achievements,’ IT Sligo are proud to have developed this strategically important programme with our partners, not only to satisfy the upskilling requirements of the sector but also to instigate important applied research so that we can all benefit from the learning gained. It is very fulfilling to see that our first batch of dissertations have led to research papers and made a real impact in the workplace.’

Further information about this and other construction related part time online programmes can be found at or call telephone 07191 55222.