Category Archives: Research

Basic Research and ‘That’ Letter

Governments always want some sort of tangible return from academic research. But since the financial crisis began in 2008, the prevailing view in Ireland has been that the primary or even the only role of academic research should be to … Continue reading

Posted in education, Research, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Why should the taxpayer fund curiosity-driven research?

Why indeed. The supposed importance of state funding for curiosity-driven research comes up very few months, usually sparked by a column in the Irish Times. From the outset let me state that I think ‘pure’ research is worth funding. I … Continue reading

Posted in Research | Tagged | 1 Comment

The TA Concept – A PhD Student’s perspective

My second guest post comes from Tríona O’Connell, a PhD student in the School of Biotechnology here in DCU. This is a reply to my recent post in which I suggested that Irish PhD students become more involved in undergraduate … Continue reading

Posted in education, Research, structured PhD, teaching assistants, Third Level | 6 Comments

Teaching the Scientific Method

I was going to write about Teaching Assistants this time but I’ve postponed that for next week. In the meantime, this article in Scientific American about parents’ reluctance to expose their children to injections of any kind, vitamin K in … Continue reading

Posted in 21st century, education, Research | 7 Comments

The Second-to-Third Level Transition

This is the text (more or less) of a letter I lashed off the the Irish Times last week. Not surprisingly given its length, it didn’t get published but why waste it? The recent ESRI report highlighting the difficulties that … Continue reading

Posted in education, Leaving Cert, Research, structured PhD | Tagged | 3 Comments

Doing a Man City on Irish Science?

There is no doubt that the standing of Irish science and engineering has improved enormously in recent years. The international subject rankings prove this unequivocally. The reason for the improvement is simple: funding. Good science needs money and lots of … Continue reading

Posted in Research | 1 Comment

From PhD to Industry

A few weeks ago I ran into a former student who had recently completed a PhD in a biology discipline and now works in technical sales. He’s a bright, outgoing, ‘emotionally intelligent’ sort of bloke. He did his PhD in … Continue reading

Posted in education, Research | 2 Comments