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My postgraduate study: Paddy Dennis (Medical Device Design, National College of Art & Design)

Medical device design
Working directly with industry partners was by far the biggest difference between postgrad and undergrad

Primary degreeIndustrial 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 happier.

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.