Career Profiles: Joe Flanagan
  1. What is your name?

Joe Flanagan


  1. Where do you work and what is your role/job title?

PhD Researcher at University College Dublin & Enbio Ltd.

 3.What were the main ‘career decision’ milestones in your life so far?

Graduating 4th in my class and winning an iMechE award for my final year project and deciding to do a PhD in Ireland instead of moving to Australia.

  1. Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

My Grandad. He was passionate about cars and I grew up listening to stories about him and his brother making their own cars which made me want to be a Mechanical Engineer.

  1. Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Currently yes but as I am now in my final year of my PhD I feel that will begin to change.


  1. How did you go about getting your current job?

    I applied for a summer internship with Enbio to gain experience before moving to Australia and then one of my lecturers approached me saying that he wanted me to apply for IRC funding for a PhD. I applied for the scholarship and ended up getting it.


  1. Describe a typical day.
    Wake up at 6:30-7, cycle into UCD. Try to do some writing on my PhD before anyone else arrives into the office or work on papers. Then either testing, doing out test plans or analysing results for the rest of the day. It really depends on what is on the agenda for that week.


  1. What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

As I am doing a PhD my main responsibilities and tasks are research and writing my thesis.

  1. What are the main challenges?

Finding motivation to write can be difficult for me. I find it much easier to be doing practical experiments.

  1. What’s cool?
    Working as the systems engineer for the EMOD (EWBIO Module) payload on EIRSAT-1 (Educational Irish Research Satellite 1) and some of the customers I have been able to work with through my PhD.


  1. What’s not so cool?

Having to compile four years of research into a thesis that will be critiqued to the highest level in the VIVA.


  1. What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

My research has focused on adhesion promotion so I have a lot of experience with that along with a lot of experience analysing metals microstructures and surface properties.


  1. What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
    I took Design & Communicaitons Graphics, Applied Maths and Physics. I knew I wanted to do Mechanical Engineering in college so my subject choices were focused around that.


  1. What is your education to date?
    Bachelors of Engineering,

Final Year of PhD in Materials and Mechanical Engineering


  1. What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Being able to use various surface characterisation techniques such as SEM, XRD, EDX, optical microscopy and then being able to use CAD software such as Solid Works, AutoCad and Inventor.

  1. Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I am currently taking classes on six sigma and lean manufacturing.


  1. What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Getting the IRC funding to conduct a PhD.

  1. What personal qualities do you have that help you in your career?

You need to be quite self-motivated and driven. I think this definitely helps me in my day to day work.

  1. What is your dream job?

I would love to work for a Formula 1 team as a Race Engineer or to set up my own company.


  1. What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Make sure that you really want to do a PhD. If you don’t really want to do it it will be very difficult to finish and a lot of students drop out after 3 years with just the research masters.

  1. What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Self-motivation, hardworking and ambition.

  1. What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Working as a research assistant in a lab.