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UCD Research Skills & Career Development

Forbairt Ghairme & Taighde Scileanna UCD

 Career Profile

 Name: Jérôme Fakhry

What research discipline did you complete your postdoc in? Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Number of years as a postdoc in UCD? 1 year 3 months

When did you complete your postdoc in UCD?
April 2006

Did you have any postdoc experience outside of UCD? If so, where and for how long? 
No this was my only postdoc.

What are you doing now? 
I am currently working as a Project Manager with the Environmental Protection Authority in Melbourne, Australia.  I develop partnerships and projects aiming at reducing the volume of hazardous waste going to landfill.

What impact has your doctorate and postdoc had on what you are doing now?
It helps me in terms of understanding technical information, with soft skills (problem solving, analytical thinking) and writing skills. To be honest my postdoc had very little additional impact on the role I am now working in, which is of limited technical nature. It does not call on any of the technical skills I acquired during my postdoc.

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

After completing my postdoc in UCD I worked as a process chemist in the pharmaceutical industry – one year with Helsinn Chemicals in Dublin and two years with Schering Plough in Co. Wicklow.

Since you completed your time as a post-doctoral researcher in UCD how have you drawn on your experience from this time?
The experience gained during a postdoc is relevant if you remain within academia or work as a researcher in the private sector. However I would not consider it to be work experience that is transferable outside of research.

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 my time as a postdoc I was expected to give regular project updates to my research team via PowerPoint presentation. This was valuable experience for my subsequent roles.

During your time as a post-doctoral researcher in UCD what skills would you say you learnt or developed? During my postdoc I developed my presentation and writing skills. I also acquired new technical skills, which are no longer relevant in my current role.

What advice would you give to post-doctoral researchers considering a similar career path to your own?
If you do not want to remain in academia/research, a postdoc will not add value to your CV. My advice is to look for a suitable job as soon as possible after your PhD. During your postdoc, try to acquire/develop new skills by mentoring students, speaking at conferences or getting involved in projects outside of your area of expertise. For example, get involved in Environment, Health and Safety, project development or grant proposal writing.

If you could offer one piece of advice to current post-doctoral researchers what would it be?
I would strongly recommend postdocs to speak with their career advisor about career options and the skills required. Network as much as possible by attending conferences or talking to people already working in your desired field of work. Find out what opportunities exist in their area of work and what skills you need to develop.

If you wish to do a postdoc, I would recommend that you do one abroad. Not only will this be a valuable learning experience but an opportunity to learn a second language. International experience will stand out in your CV.


 Jerome Fahkry