• Question: what is your experiment budget and who gives it to u and how do you use it would u vist a school in Dublin to show ur work and how you make sure its safe

    Asked by HiMyNameIs...... to Gavin, Mark, Michel, Roisin on 16 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Mark Kennedy

      Mark Kennedy answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      My total budget for my PhD was about €120,000, which covers my wage for 4 years, my equipment, my travel expenses and my tuition fee. Other fields have a much higher budget, as their equipment is a lot more expensive than mine (all I really need is a good computer for my work).

      Some space telescopes that I use have very, very large budgets. The XMM-Newton X-ray Space telescope, which I was using on Sunday night, cost €689 million to build.

      My funding comes from the Naughton Foundation and also from UCC.

      I would love to visit a school in Dublin, I love doing outreach and talking to people about my work.

      And (thankfully) making sure my work is safe is very easy – since all of my “experiments” happen in systems that are billions and billions of kilometres away from Earth, they can’t harm us 🙂

    • Photo: Michel Destrade

      Michel Destrade answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      I’d say I spend a couple of thousand euros per year on experiments. But of course I’m relying on a lot of existing equipment and technicians in my university and they cost a lot! So the university funds most of my experiments and the rest I get from grants, which are competitions that scientists can enter to ask for research money. Some are at National level (for example, the Cancer Society funds research) and some at international level (for example, the EUropean Commission). Not easy to get one of those!

      And yes, I visit schools all the time, so don’t hesitate to write and invite me, I’d be delighted to come and talk about my research. Here’s a 3 min talk about my work on skin:

    • Photo: Gavin Coleman

      Gavin Coleman answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      Most PhDs in Ireland, as Mark said, have a total budget of about €100,000 to cover living expenses, fees for the university and any supplies you might need to do your research. My work has been funded by a few different projects over the years, mostly from the EU who are working on trying to understand nanochemistry better to see if there are safety concerns, to try and regulate, and to try and stimulate any money making industry that might come of the research.
      Mainly my money is used to buy materials to make nanoparticles, and to buy proteins and cells to interact them with. A lot of the machinery I used was already in the group.
      I’d love to visit a school and chat about my work, most people don’t know much about nanochemistry so it would be great to show it off. By wearing proper protective equipment like gloves and goggles most nanoparticles are completely safe and nothing to worry about 🙂

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 17 Nov 2016:

      Mark and Gavin have already covered the generic budget for PhD students, although mine was a bit lower (around €75000) because it only lasted for 3 years! My funding was from the Irish Research Council, and most of it goes on paying university fees and buying chemicals and small bits of equipment.

      The most expensive part of my project is definitely buying in the chemicals. While a lot of the equipment I needed was already there, I had to buy in specific chemicals which range in price from €25 for 100g to €200 for 1g!

      I would absolutely love to visit a school in Dublin to chat about chemistry (either my chemistry specifically or chemistry in general), talking about science is one of my favourite things to do, especially if it helps interest students.

      In terms of safety, we do tons of risk and hazard assessments for chemistry to make sure that we know all the possible problems with the reactions we’re doing, and can plan for any eventuality. For chemistry that you might take to visit a school, we make sure that none of the chemicals are toxic, and that there’s nothing that would cause a big fire or explosion. Hope this answers your question! 🙂