Michael Ahern, 2nd Year PhD Student in UCC

I have found my time completing a PhD with MaREI to be both challenging and rewarding. In my case, a great balance is struck between studying the latest research in energy management, developing theoretical methodologies and applying them with industrial partners to get a comprehensive understanding of the impact of my research. I am very fortunate to be involved in a great team of both early stage researchers that I’m navigating the new landscape with, and researchers with many years of experience that are always helpful and invaluable in terms of offering advice such as tips for writing, critiquing methodologies and correctly interpreting results.

MaREI also go above and beyond to ensure they are providing the best support possible, especially since transitioning to working from home. Regular workshops, webinars and online sessions are organised from communicating our research, to exploring start-up ideas, to mindfulness and wellbeing, and beyond. I found these really useful to take a step back from the smaller details at times, and to think about life after a PhD. I look forward to the months ahead as I further develop my own research and watch with interest as others in the team do the same.

PhD Project Title: "The Application of Industrial AI to Mechanical Systems to Increase their Energy Efficiency and Overall Health Status"

Nathan Gray, 2nd Year PhD Student in UCC

I am now just over a year and a half into my PhD and am still learning something new almost every day! Thinking about how we can move people and goods around the world in a low-carbon future is a topic I find fascinating. While the past year of working from home has been a really good opportunity to get stuck into plenty of reading and writing with lots of (virtual) collaboration with colleagues across MaREI, a return to the office (and Friday pastries) sometime in 2021 would be very welcome!

PhD Project Title: "Advanced Liquid and Gaseous Fuels for the Haulage, Aviation and Maritime Sectors"

Dónal Ó Céileachair, 2nd Year PhD Student, UCC

"I’m currently just over a year into my PhD, and I love it so far! My area of research is interesting, challenging and rewarding. As I started the PhD during the pandemic, I do miss out on not having an office space to both work and socialise with colleagues in, but we make up for it by being in contact with each other very often. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to undertake this PhD with MaREI, and I hope my research has a big impact on Ireland’s anaerobic digestion industry."

PhD Project Title: "Developing Economic solutions for on-farm Anaerobic Digestion technologies under Irish conditions (EcoAD)"

Marco Rosati, 1st Year PhD Student, Maynooth University

"I have recently started my experience in wave energy and, although I am still at an early stage of my PhD, the project is already very captivating.

I think that the most surprising characteristic of wave energy is its interdisciplinarity, which I find both extremely fascinating and challenging. I really appreciate the fact that I can literally learn something new every single day. Indeed, the best aspect of this job is that I am never bored!"

PhD Project Title: "Real-time control of oscillating water column wave energy converters"

Afrooz Kazemi Vanhari, PhD Student, NUIG

"During my two years of PhD, I have learned a lot, especially about turbine blade design, composite structure, and fatigue in these structures. When I go back to the last two years, I mean when I started PhD, I understand how I have improved my knowledge and this feeling makes me happy and motivated. Also, I can say that covid 19 wasn’t too bad for me. Because I realized I could focus more on my project at home.
What I like about my PhD is working on an industrial project. So I know that by doing the PhD project I can help the industry in this area."

PhD Project Title: "Development of tools for the design of the next generation of wind and tidal turbine blades"

Ahmed Mohamed, PhD Student, NUIG

"It was a good opportunity for me to do my PhD study in a subject that has been studied for a decade and still needs more studies to be fully understood. Every day the new measuring tools such as laser diagnostics, high-speed cameras give a deep understanding of how the fuel is burning. The process is not that simple, the fuel burned and carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water vapor form as products.

I am lucky that I work with kind, helpful, and excited colleagues. I have success to publish three scientific papers and there will be another three from my research project and got engaged with different projects as well."

PhD Project Title: "Towards reliable chemical kinetic mechanisms to describe natural gas and larger fuel oxidation"

Nicole Todd, 2nd Year PhD Student, UCC

"This year it has been really great to delve into the more practical side of my PhD with commencing my own fieldwork and data collection. With a lot of planning, organisation and being on storm watch for weeks on end, I finally got to deploy my equipment at sea! Of course, there have been trials and tribulations associated with this… a few more than perhaps expected. However, the support of my supervisors and research team taught me the lesson that a huge part of doing a PhD is overcoming problems and adapting for the future. I’m looking forward to what 2021 has to bring."

PhD Project Title: "A multi-method approach to understanding the ecology of harbour porpoise in Irish waters"

Cian Luck, 4th Year PhD Student, UCC

"Doing my PhD in MaREI, surrounded by professional researchers with years of experience, made it feel much more like work than study, which I enjoyed. The four-year project allowed me to develop my portfolio of research and professional skills while addressing real-world issues; sustainable fishing in my case. From day one, I felt fully integrated into a diverse and multi-talented team in MaREI and made lots of cherished memories, including catching seals in the wilds of Mayo, networking at international conferences, and countless laughter-filled coffee breaks. I felt very fortunate to undertake my PhD in MaREI, and despite the many challenges that come with every PhD, I enjoyed (almost) every minute."

PhD Project Title: "Bycatch of a protected species, the Atlantic grey seal, in static net fisheries: untangling the problem"

Jason McGuire, 2nd Year PhD Student, UCC

"My first year as a PhD student has allowed me to explore topics which are of interest to me personally, this topics will now form part of my PhD. Im self-motivated so I’ve had a busy year attending conferences (mainly virtual), participating in research collaboration, attending UCC modules, assisting in lectures, submitting reports, public outreach and presenting results.
My two supervisors have always been available, fortnightly meetings have kept me moving towards the end goal. I found it did take a lot of time to explore my topics of interest, and find which ones I can integrate into my PhD.
The Energy Policy and Modelling Group in MaREI works closely with government departments and plays an important role in exploring Ireland’s energy system, not only am I learning alongside some of the best in the business, but my work is impactful now."

PhD Project Title: "Modelling Carbon Budgets & Exploring Sustainable Energy Pathways for Ireland"