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Kieran Brennan, Enterprise Partnership Scheme, Irish Research Council

What's your name and area of research?

My name is Kieran Brennan and I’m on the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme with Randox. My research is hosted by UCD.

Why did you pick the Enterprise Partnership Programme

The benefit of the Scheme is that it gives you two years to work on a project that you helped design. It also allows you get industry experience by providing you with a commercial partner.

What do you do in a normal week?

Our work revolves around cancer cells, so we need to nurture them so we can continue our research. A normal week would involve doing different experiments on these cancer cells and then interpreting the results. So there is lab work and analysis work. As part of the scheme I have a mentor who I report to during my work at UCD as well as preparing reports for my industry partner.

What skills do you need to be a good researcher?

In cell biology you need to be a good communicator to explain what’s happening and how processes work. You’re always working with people so teamwork and personal skills are important. It’s also very important that you have a passion for the work. You also need patience and you need to be confident in what you are doing.

What supports does the Irish Research Council provide?

There is the financial support which allows the work to take place, so that’s crucial. But it’s also structured so that you have a host, a mentor and a commercial partner; they all provide me with guidance under the scheme. You’re not on your own and that’s very important. I simply couldn’t do this work without the Irish Research Council, because their strategy is in funding projects that translate to industry, so if you have a project that will have direct outcomes in terms of patient health, you’re limited in terms of the supports you can access, so the Irish Research Council are vital in that respect.

What potential career paths can you follow?

In terms of my options, to date all my experience has been academic up to and including this postdoctoral research. So, this scheme gives me some industrial exposure. My aim is to continue on this path and hopefully secure a lecturing position but this Scheme also gives me the option of pursuing a career in industry.