My postgraduate study: Paddy Dennis, Medical device design

Paddy Dennis (Medical Device Design, National College of Art & Design) talks about his postgraduate experience.

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Primary degree Industrial Design BDes, NCAD (2013)
Postgraduate study Medical Device Design
Employer Cook Medical

What convinced you to further your
studies and why did you choose the
course in NCAD?

I was working as a design researcher in
Koln, germany in 2014 and was coming
to the end of my contract. I was worried
about the prospect of getting a job in
Ireland on my return. I was aware of the
Medical Device Design masters in NCAD
and it had always interested me because
the Medical Devices industry in Ireland
is massive and I knew that if I did the
masters I would be much more
employable. I then did some research
into the course and decided it was the
right move.

How does your postgraduate study differ
from the undergraduate experience?

The Medical Device Design masters in
NCAD is quite unique in that it allows
students to work directly with industry
partners on projects that are generated
from genuine needs within the Medical
Device industry. Working directly with
industry partners was by far the biggest
difference between post and undergrad.
It meant that we could run ideas by
industry experts who were dealing with
the same problems we were, we each
took control of our projects and generated
our own project plans to meet deadlines and achieve our design goals. This was
different to the undergrad experience
and I would advise anyone undertaking
the masters to be sure that they are
willing and able to be self starters

What is one of the biggest challenges you
have faced to date with your studies?

I knew going into the Medical Device
Design masters that I would have to
improve my existing skills quite a lot.
Being out of practise for just a year still
made getting into the flow of academic
life difficult, at least for a few weeks.
Part of the course obviously included
learning about the anatomy in detail.
This was tough at the beginning and for
the first few weeks it was a little
overwhelming but it was really
interesting and so eventually became
something that I looked forward to
weekly. This experience showed me that
putting in the hours with something
that is initially quite challenging can
ultimately lead to greater things in the
end. Short term pain, for long term gain!

How did your postgrad degree help
land your current job?

One of the projects we worked on was
sponsored by Cook Medical, a
multinational medical device company.
I made some great contacts while
working there because we worked
closely with them on the project and I
gained a great deal of insight into the
work that they do. This meant that
when an employment opportunity with
Cook presented itself towards the end
of the course I was in a great position.
Two weeks after I finished the Medical
Device Design masters I began working
with Cook Medical in their plant in
Limerick and I haven’t looked back! I’m
working in the industry I wanted to
work in when I started the masters and
I’m working on some incredibly
interesting projects and helping to
produce great products that have a real
impact on patients’ lives. I couldn’t be

What are your ambitions over the next
few years in developing your career?

I plan to continue working here for
some time before looking at other areas
of the industry. I’m constantly learning
new things in my role as a Research and
Development engineer and I find the
work very rewarding, if a little
challenging! I find the whole industry
fascinating and I especially like working
directly with the doctors and nurses
who ultimately use the products.

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