Knowledge-led campaign: First United Against Online Abuse Scholarship recipients announced


The FIA-led United Against Online Abuse (UAOA) campaign has announced the first recipients of its prestigious Global Research Scholarship.

 The four scholars will carry out Master’s by Research at Dublin City University with full funding from the FIA Foundation. Their work will help to improve understanding of online abuse against athletes and officials, providing a strong basis for the UAOA coalition’s ongoing efforts to drive behavioural and regulatory change.
The new scholars are established researchers within their respective fields and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the UAOA Research Centre.  
Ana Rodríguez Armendariz (Mexico) is a Deputy CMO at the F1 Mexico City Grand Prix. She has completed clinical placements at Hospital Zambrano Hellion, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, and TecSalud Zambrano Hellion Hospital.
She said: “This opportunity has deepened my appreciation for our sport's pioneers and their legacy of integrity and excellence. This scholarship allows me to further evolve our sport, particularly in combating online hate speech and fostering an inclusive, enlightened community. Our collective efforts are shaping a transformative legacy beyond the field.”
Kimberley Wyllie (Scotland) joins the programme following Psychology Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees at the University of Stirling and Heriot-Watt University. She currently works as a Managing Editor of the Women in a Man’s Race Magazine and actively participates in the UK Girls on Track programme.
She said: “This opportunity from the FIA and DCU is something I genuinely didn't think I'd be able to participate in. It was one of the things I read about, thought I'd pop in an application anyways, but ultimately thought that there would be someone better out there. It's helped my confidence hugely and shown me that it's amazing what a little bit of self-belief can do. I can't wait to get started and join the United Against Online Abuse family. The only limit is yourself.”
Roshni Gajjar (South Africa) is the Founder and Managing Director of StratAstute, a consulting firm based in South Africa, and Future Ones, a company providing STEM educational programmes for motorsport and allied industries. She has also served in various strategy and stakeholder-focussed roles in the financial services, pharmaceutical, healthcare, sports, and higher education sectors.
Roshni said: “Sport fuels passion and exercises potential. In South Africa, Mandela demonstrated how “sport has the power to change the world... to unite people in a way that little else does.” I am honoured and humbled to receive the FIA scholarship award. This opportunity presents a unique privilege to give back; to play my part in the global combat against online abuse. I hope to make a positive difference.”
Maria Iuliano (Italy) works as a press officer at Italian motor sport governing body, ACI Sport SpA.

She said: “Enrolling in the Master’s by Research programme at DCU Business School will enable me to thoroughly investigate online abuse, and I hope to make a significant impact with my work. This is crucial because, through research, we can contribute positively to sports, making it fairer and more inclusive for everyone while continuing to tackle discrimination.”

FIA President, and Founding Patron of UAOA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, said: “I am delighted to welcome our diverse scholarship group. United Against Online Abuse is a knowledge-led campaign, which puts research and insights at the heart of all its activities. Our scholars’ research will be key in helping us build a strong knowledge base in this historically under-researched area.”
The UAOA Research Centre is partnered with the FIA University programme which promotes knowledge and research sharing across the international FIA network. The Research Centre is committed to driving inclusive global scholarships, which upskill researchers from around the world, particularly those outside the EU.

Principal Investigator for UAOA, Professor David Hassan, said: “I would like to congratulate Kimberley, Ana, Roshni, and Maria for this exceptional achievement. We are looking forward to working with them, and learning from their unique perspectives, knowledge, and experience on the topic.”
Professor Theo Lynn, Associate Dean of Research at DCU Business School, said: “These new scholarships will explore the nature of online abuse in sports and the efficacy of different measures to combat such abuse.  By working with the FIA as part of their Global Coalition Against Online Abuse in Sports and fostering a new generation of International researchers working in sports, we aim to contribute to fostering an environment where respect and camaraderie prevail over vitriol and division."
The scholars will begin their studies this month.

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