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Module 1: Forging relationships: Building and Sustaining your Doctoral Network.

This is a doctoral module intended to broaden the employment skills and opportunities available for doctoral graduates who have a research interest in connected health. Students from across five academic institutions University of Porto, University of Oulu, Maynooth University, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and University College Dublin and from across a broad range of disciplines, engineering, computer design, health, health policy, and business will participate in this module.

The design of this module was informed by a systematic literature review and stakeholder engagement with industry, clinical care, charities, patients, patient representatives, government, recent doctoral graduates, and academics in a "World Café" participatory method for collecting qualitative data.

This module aims to broaden the skills and competencies of students in the areas of networking and communication. The student will develop a set of tools, skills, and strategies for managing teamworking within interdisciplinary and intersectoral contexts. They will learn to communicate with different audiences. Students will develop user-centred research design skills. They will learn how to present and market their research capacity and skills while at the same time building an understanding of themselves and their own career pathway. Throughout the module, students will be challenged to apply their new knowledge through teamworking and networking activities.

This module is student-centered whereby doctoral students will develop skills which they can use within their PhD research, but which will also help them to better understand themselves and their PhD journey.

Module Goals

  1. Develop networking and communication skills.

  2. Understand ethical user-centered research design.

  3. Marketing research capacity and research skills.

  4. Building an understanding of yourself and others.


Module 1: Contributors

Dr. Ann O'Connell

Dr Ann O’Connell is the Medtech and Engineering Skills Programme Manager with Ibec since October 2020. She is leading funding proposal submissions and development of skills programmes in the areas of Quality and Regulatory, of R&D and Digitalisation of Manufacturing. Before joining Ibec Ann was the European programme manager with the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre, where she led the successful application of a proposal to coordinate a H2020 funded project under the ECSEL JU Program. With I-Form the Advanced Manufacturing centre, Ann has collaborated to develop a proposal to receive SFI funding that drove a new outreach programme within IMR. Ann sat on the National Steering committee for both the Vehicle of the Future Cluster supported by Enterprise Ireland and the National Science and Engineering Expo with the Chamber of Commerce in Mullingar.

In 2016 Ann took on the role as programme manager of Advanced Materials Ireland, in this role she has worked with industrial and research organisations to establish collaborative value chain projects.

She completed her PhD in 2014 with the Centre for Bio Nano Interactions (CBNI) at University College Dublin. Previously she worked as a Senior Integration Engineer with Intel Corporation for 15yrs. She brings a unique mix of industrial and academic experience particularly in project management within industry and EU infrastructure collaborations.

Tiago Gama Rocha.jpg

Hi. I’m Tiago Gama Rocha. I’m a teacher, and I do projects.


For more than 10 years I’ve been trying to dive into the wonders of interdisciplinary work, inspire people and teach them how to communicate with each other, one another, and the world around them.


I’ve also spent most of my professional life as an entrepreneur, having co-founded many collaborative projects.


Along the way, I’ve found countless detours, interesting methods, and frameworks, designed to inspire and entertain you as you continue to do your work.


When we meet, we are going to broaden your skills and competences for managing team working within interdisciplinary and intersectoral contexts, communicating with different audiences, and building an understanding of yourself and others.

Maria Quinlan.jpg

Dr Maria Quinlan is a sociologist specialising in the use of creative, innovative, person-centred research methods which aim to facilitate people in sharing their lived-experience. Her research is multidisciplinary, and she has used visual methods such as photovoice to explore a variety of social topics including homelessness, addiction, mental health, sexual violence, and exclusion based on gender, race, and ethnicity.

The methods she uses attempt to shift the locus of control from researcher as 'expert' to the participant as expert, and to democratise the process of knowledge-creation. This approach is rooted in social activism and aims to provide a platform for voices which are often silenced or marginalised in society to be heard. Maria has pioneered the use of photovoice in Ireland, particularly in the area of mental health and trauma. She has also adapted photovoice as an innovative means of exploring the employee-experience within organisations.

She is the founder of Pink Flower Research, a research consultancy which focuses on creating actionable insight regarding issues of equality and inclusion, using trauma-informed methods. Maria was formerly research lead at the Applied Research for Connected Health centre at UCD; and Head of Research at the Institute for Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. She lectures in the Sociology of Mental Health; Equality; Organisational Behaviour; Diversity and Inclusion.

Darragh Whelan.jpeg

Dr Darragh Whelan is the Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer at Output Sports. Originally qualifying as a physiotherapist, he has a passion for sports science, technology and how the two interact. He holds an MSc in Sports & Exercise Medicine from Trinity College and a PhD in wearable sensing technology from University College Dublin. Output Sports is revolutionizing the way athletic staff optimize sports performance. For the first time ever, a wearable for exercise analysis will provide strength coaches, rehab professionals and athletes with valid, reliable and comprehensive analysis in a single, user-centric, fully integrated system. The team have won UCD’s SpinOut of the year, Best business idea at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition, Regional Winner at the Intertrade Ireland Seedcorn competition, and the National Start Up Awards.

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