What is your name and area of research?
Jennifer Kavanagh. I’m doing a PhD with the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme with Yvolution Sports.
What motivated you to go into research?
In my final year we did a lot of research projects and I decided it was exactly what I liked. As opposed to just going over assignments, it was all self motivated, so we went in, did our own work during the day at our own ours and everything was your own idea. I got to design full studies and execute them and work very closely with supervisors. I decided that was what interested me.
Why did you pick the Enterprise Partnership Scheme?
I wanted to see how research worked in the outside world. It also means that I get extra support. I get to go into an amazing innovative business and work with them, and they really help me through everything. Along with working with my supervisor through academic, I get to see how everything goes into marketing and how that works in the outside world.
Was the potential to develop a product a motivation?
I’m definitely interested in developing products. Currently I’m getting on really well with Yvolution so I could go forward and be their ‘scientist’ as they call me.
What are the skills required for success?
Be extremely critical to begin with. In terms of research we do a lot of reading of literature so you need to be able to find where those gaps are. Know how to answer research questions. You can’t just have an idea. You need to go forth and see how that idea will be answered. You’ll be the person who has looked at this the most. While your supervisors have a vast amount of knowledge in the broad area, you’re the one who knows this exact area, so only you can answer those questions.
What supports do the Irish Research Council provide?
The Irish Research Council do annual progress reports and it’s nice to see the comments from both Enterprise Partner and my supervisor mentor within the college. They give feedback on everything you’re doing and you can see exactly what you’ve done in the year and how to improve.
What potential career paths can you follow?
Currently we take on a lot of tutoring and extra lectures. I’m actually really liking that. Originally I thought I would go straight into industry after, but now I wouldn’t mind doing further research and take on lectures. I have undergrads whom I supervise in their final year, and I really enjoy that.