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Career Guidance Event: Prospects outside academia

According to the Royal Society (UK), 35 PhD graduates from 1,000 will become a permanent research staff (3.5%), and only 45 in 10,000 will become a university professor (0.45%) [1]. To put it in perspective, in 2015/2016 alone, there were 8,225 new PhD enrollments in Ireland [2]This highlights the need to look ahead and think about long term career aspirations, possibly outside academia. The School of Psychology, TCD, is organising the 2nd in its series of 2019 Career Guidance Events with the goal of showcasing career paths outside of academia for researchers in psychology. This event is particularly aimed at postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers. In this session, we will hear from a group of speakers who progressed from university research to working outside of academia, covering both private and public sectors.

This event will take place on May 16th at 4pm in AP3.19 and the list of speakers is below. The format of the event will be a set of short 10 minute informal talks with each speaker outlining their career biography, and providing guidance and advice for those interested in following in their footsteps into a career in industry. These talks will be followed by a panel discussion and a drinks reception which will provide an opportunity to continue discussions with the speakers. Spaces are limited so those who wish to attend should register.

If no more seats are available on this site, please contact the organiser: ruedadlm (at) tcd (dot) ie


Dr. Geraldine Canny  Head of IMSCO and MSCA National Contact Point

Geraldine Canny holds a Ph.D. in immunology from University College Dublin and has a background in academic research. She carried out a Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) and was an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Subsequently, at Lausanne University Hospital, she established and ran a translational research programme on endometrial biology and endometriosis which resulted in the discovery of novel biomarkers and several publications. Dr. Canny then worked at a foundation and at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where she managed several national and international fellowship programmes as well as European funding programmes. Prior to being appointed as the Head of the IMSCO and MSCA National Contact Point she held the position of Scientific programme manager at Science Foundation Ireland.

Dr. Shona D’Arcy – Founder of Kids Speech Labs

Shona’s research career began with her PhD investigating speech recognition for children’s speech and accented speech. Having worked building IVR systems for banking she came back to academia joining the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) project in UCD and then Trinity College. The TRIL project was a multidisciplinary research group that focused on bringing technology into the lives of older adults. As part of the team looking for markers of cognitive decline in older adults through speech analysis, this was Shona’s first insight into the field of digital health which led her to leading one of the first Smart Inhaler validation protocols at the time. Shona then joined Neuromod Devices as Chief Scientific Officer, a company building non-invasive neuromodulation technology to treat tinnitus. This was another first in its kind validation of a digital health device. After a brief time in a software development company to understand the software life cycle, Shona set up her own company combining her expertise in speech analysis and digital health. Kids Speech Labs is a digital health company using data and technology to disrupt how childhood speech and language development is managed. 

Dr. Emmet McNickle – Statistician in the NISRA

Emmet McNickle studied undergraduate psychology at Queen’s University Belfast before completing his PhD on the effects of associative brain stimulation on motor cortical plasticity at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in 2015. He then spent two years working as a postdoctoral fellow in Redmond O’Connell’s lab investigating the neural correlates of human decision-making. In 2017 Emmet took a position as a Statistician with the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). NISRA employ over 200 statisticians and researchers who conduct research, publish statistics and provide analytical support for all aspects of NI government, including the economy, census, policing, healthcare and more.

Dr. Meadhbh Foster  Technical Analytics Lead, Facebook  

After completing a PhD in Cognitive Science in University College Dublin in 2015, the skills that Dr. Forster had developed were transferable between different roles in industry, even when the specific subject areas were not the same. She first started as a Business Analyst in Betfair’s Customer Experience department, before joining Facebook in May 2016. Dr. Forster has held a number of different roles in the data and analytics space in Facebook since then, and recently began managing a small team as a Technical Analytics Lead. This team supports Business Integrity (the teams that try to keep unsuitable paid content – like ads – off Facebook) in EMEA and globally. The Technical Analytics roles largely focus on helping to develop and track Facebook’s metrics, analysing experiments, guiding the direction of the team, and being the data experts and resources as needed. Dr. Foster loves solving problems, and that’s what this space is all about – making sure that the team has the data needed to answer important questions, and the skills necessary to find solutions.

Dr. Freyja Quick – Senior Data Scientits, AIB

Dr Freyja Quick was awarded her Psychology PhD at the University of Surrey in 2014 for her thesis on workplace inequality in academia. After a brief stint as a researcher in Consumer Health & Behaviour, Freyja joined AIB’s Customer Analytics unit in 2015 to design a programme of experimentation for the Digital Sales & Marketing team. Freyja went on to lead Research & Experiment Design on the Analytics Innovation team, designing innovative ways to improve the customer experience and help the business to grow. In her latest role, Freyja leads out on the people and talent proposition for AIB’s newly established Data & Analytics Centre of Excellence.

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