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UCD Research Skills & Career Development

Forbairt Ghairme & Taighde Scileanna UCD

 Career Profile

Name: Declan Healy

What research discipline did you complete your postdoc in?
Newman Scholarship in renal transplantation research - funded by the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund.

Number of years as a postdoc in UCD? Two years: October 2003 - December 2005.

When did you complete your postdoc in UCD?
December 2005.

Did you have any postdoc experience outside of UCD? If so, where and for how long? 
Yes, as a postdoc in DCU from January 2006 - September 2006.

What are you doing now? 
Medical Advisor at MSD (Human Health)

What impact has your doctorate and postdoc had on what you are doing now?
My doctorate and postdocs have allowed me to progress my career in a way that would never have been possible without them.

What was the route between your postdoc and what you are doing now?

After the Newman Scholarship and the postdoc in DCU, I then undertook a full-time MBA at Smurfit Business School as I was interested in the commercial side of research and felt that this would help me transition to a role where I could combine scientific and business disciplines.  After the MBA I worked at Science Foundation Ireland as a programme manager for three years.  This role allowed me to stay within science, but with a focus on the commercial potential within basic research.  A natural progression then led me to my current role at MSD as Medical Advisor where I am responsible for medical and scientific support to the biologics business unit. 

Since you completed your time as a post-doctoral researcher in UCD how have you drawn on your experience from this time?
The postdoc at UCD was my first postdoc and has stood to me as it gave me my first real experience of directing and being responsible for the research I was conducting and how the research funding was spent.  It also gave me my first real experience in mentoring of others in their research careers.  In addition to this, I built up an important network of contacts that I still draw on today.  

When you reflect on your time as a post-doctoral researcher in UCD, what stands out in terms of its contribution to your subsequent career development?

During your time as a post-doctoral researcher in UCD what skills would you say you learnt or developed?

The main skills that I developed during that time were proper planning, independence and further developing the ability to deal with ambiguity and adversity required when conducting research.

What advice would you give to post-doctoral researchers considering a similar career path to your own?
My postdoctoral research was conducted in the knowledge that I did not want to pursue a career as an academic principal investigator.  I therefore looked to gain experience across different research areas that would give me a broad experience.  This career path has certainly stood to me but would not be ideal for someone looking to stay within academic research where it would be more important to develop ma track record within a narrower field of research.

If you could offer one piece of advice to current post-doctoral researchers what would it be?

Always be planning well ahead of time where your next source of research funding is going to come from.


Declan Healy photo