Science and Technology

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A large factor in the continued growth of the Irish economy has been the major developments in the flourishing science and technology-based industries. Ireland is a key global location for these industries. The ICT industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually. Meanwhile, Ireland is the largest MedTech employer in Europe; this sector employs over 25,000 people directly, and a further 25,000 are employed providing services to the sector.

The government is keen to encourage people to enter careers in the science and technology sectors. It has introduced a number of initiatives to achieve this goal, notably the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), which are committed to providing the necessary structures and funding to educational institutions to ensure Ireland remains a global player in these areas. This means that career opportunities in the science and technology sectors show no sign of slowing down, which is good news for anyone considering the addition of a postgraduate qualification in a science, mathematics or technology discipline to their CV.

Entry Requirements

Most postgraduate courses in the science, mathematics and technology areas require at least a second-class honours primary degree for entry.  There are also postgraduate options available for graduates of other disciplines. Some of these postgraduate programmes function as conversion courses. Relevant professional experience can be useful to help secure a place on a postgraduate course. Students should also demonstrate an interest in their chosen area of research.

Courses Available

There is an array of postgraduate options on offer to the interested graduate pertaining to science, mathematics, and technology. Taught postgraduate courses are available in traditional core subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry and biology, as well as in topical areas of interest such as plasma technology and organic chemistry. Postgraduate courses that focus on different areas and subspecialties of biology and chemistry such as biotechnology and microbiology are also available. Other courses include earth sciences subjects such as geographical analysis.

The pharmaceutical sector is very strong in Ireland at the moment, and that is reflected in the number and scope of pharmacy-related postgraduate courses available at Irish universities. The different specialisations within the pharmaceuticals discipline include quality assurance, compounds analysis, and chemical process technology. Technology and telecommunications is also an important area of study at postgraduate level. Course options include communications systems theory and virtual realities.

Research Areas

Science and Technology offer the research student a wealth of research possibilities. Many third-level institutions have developed expertise in different areas, and there are dedicated research centres at colleges throughout the country. Prospective students may also be able to take advantage of scholarship and graduate-training opportunities through collaborations with locally based companies.

The subjects of pharmaceuticals, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, and biochemistry are very strong possibilities for postgraduate researchers at present. Many institutions have close links with the R&D departments of local and global organisations that fund research programmes at Irish universities. The earth sciences are also ripe with postgraduate research potential. Postgraduate researchers get the opportunity to look for ways to protect the earth in tremendously diverse areas such as aquatic ecology, atmospheric physics & climatology, and botany.

Much of the most cutting-edge telecommunications research in the world is emerging from Irish university and research institute laboratories. Possibilities for research include multimedia and telecommunications.

Career Paths

Careers based around science and technology have seen a massive boom in the last ten years or so, and jobs are plentiful. Multinational pharmaceutical, chemical, and biotechnology companies have been attracted to Ireland and recruitment in these areas show no sign of slowing down. Many colleges and universities have established links with industry and business, and many companies recruit straight from graduate programmes.

Jobs in education and research provide well-established career options. Also, as these specialised industries are expanding in Ireland, a corresponding demand for researchers, experienced scientists and technologists has arisen in academia. Other career paths include IT, business, agriculture & food, insurance, banking & finance, the environment, logistics, the civil service, conservation and many, many more.


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