Five reasons why research could be right for you

Last updated: 9 Oct 2023, 09:49

The supports available from the Irish Research Council mean that a career in research is rewarding, stimulating and engaging. Many highly qualified researchers apply each year, which means that the application and selection process is highly competitive, but why couldn’t you be one of them? Here are some of the reasons why people choose a career in research.

Light microscopes in a lab

A career in research broadens your mind

The research community is collaborative by nature, and by meeting and communicating with other researchers, you can gain a better understanding of the holistic benefits of research. In one sense, doing research expands your vision as well as your content-based knowledge. You are constantly confronted with problems and hypotheses that challenge you to question your assumptions and to produce new outputs. At the same time, the collaborative nature of research broadens your mind by connecting you to like-minded people who contribute to the growth of your specific research in unforeseen ways. In this sense, the benefits of a career in research have a holistic element, involving adaptation, curiosity and teamwork skills. You will also gain an understanding of how research in particular areas can change and adapt, helping you to make sure your own research remains current and viable.

A career in research is challenging

The scope of recent Irish research breakthroughs reveals both the brilliance of researchers and the complexity of natural and human sciences, which do not give up their secrets easily. To become a good researcher, you need strong attention to detail, excellent complex problem-solving skills, resourcefulness and tenacity to validate your work. This is why the Irish Research Council funds projects based on the quality of the proposal and how it will contribute to knowledge.

A career in research can make a difference

The results of your research could have benefits across many areas of society, from addressing social, cultural and health issues to scientific and technological breakthroughs that could have benefits internationally.

A career in research can be fun

The work is hard and the standards are rigorous, but most researchers agree that their work is rewarding so you will enjoy what you do, and hopefully you will even find a way to express that through your work. Research allows you to try out new ideas, experiment with cutting-edge technology, meet interesting people and take part in engaging discussions.

A career in research is diverse

It includes natural and life sciences, engineering, as well as fields such as Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Research may range from statistical analysis to demographic investigations, such as the impact of technology on social inclusion or exclusions. Or, it may involve fine-grained analyses of philosophical or historical relevance. Yet other research projects may question how language and communication develop and influence our lives. Common to all fields, however, is the interdisciplinary character of research projects, which fosters collaborations across different disciplines. A career in research is valued: Being able to say you’re a researcher is rewarding in its own regard, particularly if you’re doing the right work to back it up. Being part of a broad network of people working towards better understanding and enhancing people’s lives is something to be proud of. Read about how you can apply for funding from the Irish Research Council or for a place on one of their postgraduate programmes and much more at .

Achievements in Irish Research

Each year the Irish Research Council recognises excellence in Irish research, and some of the notable achievements for 2022 included:

  • Modern European history expert and professor of modern history, Professor Robert Gerwarth, who won the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year Award 2022. He is an expert on 20th century European history with an emphasis on the history of political violence and armed conflict. He has published widely in the field. One of the main objectives of his work is to connect different national experiences in European countries. In light of the current geopolitical climate, his expertise in ‘war studies’ is crucial.
  • Professor Judith Harford was awarded the Researcher of the Year: Impact Award. Her research focuses on gender and social class in relation to education. Her work has helped expose inequalities and raise awareness of gender and social class issues at a national level. Judith has served on several working group and committees of the Department of Education and the Teaching Council of Ireland. Her projects include a study into the under-representation of women in senior positions in higher education which led to a symposium on gender equality in higher education.

Aoife Doyle talks about her experience working with the Irish Research Council


Aoife Doyle, Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme, Irish Research Council

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