#FYI: Magda Staniek, Postdoctoral Researcher, Irish Research Council

#FYI: Magda Staniek, Postdoctoral Researcher, Irish Research Council

I’m Magda Staniek and I’m an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Researcher based in School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. After getting my MA from the University of California, back in US, I worked for 15 years. I’ve worked in education. I was a lecture of politics and I also worked as a coordinator of the International Studies program in a Liberal Arts College in US. So getting a PhD and establishing myself as a researcher was always been my personal and professional goal so I had the opportunity to pursue a PhD at Trinity College Dublin, and then subsequently, sort of, fulfil this ambition of establishing myself as an independent researcher through the postdoc funded by the Irish Research Council. You spend a lot of time reading, reading other people’s work which is great because you actually have the luxury to do that. Also, you know obviously spend a lot of time thinking and writing your own research. But at the same time, so you don’t only live inside your head you also have a massive opportunity to engage with researchers. I have had a number of opportunities to work with my colleagues. I had opportunities to present at seminars. I had an opportunity to discuss on that seminar, you may have an opportunity to review journal articles and if you engage in any kind of collaborative research with people either within your University or outside you know you have an opportunity to collaborate, that as well so you can either retreat into your own research into your own head and everything or you can also be as engaged as you want to be. In terms of the funding and you’re very well-founded by the Irish Research Council which provides your salary. But also beyond that, as a part of the application process, you can apply for a budget. But also very importantly, what I think the Irish Research Council does is they support you as a researcher, they support you as a person, so they don’t only found your project, they don’t only found the research that you doing but they support you as a person, as a researcher. Either pursuing the more traditional, more conventional route of becoming an academic, a lecturer after your postdoc or perhaps an alternative career path in my case I had the opportunity to work this year at the Higher Education Authority. Currently and engaged in doing work on the impact of internationalisation programs like Erasmus and Erasmus plus, the impact that that may have on the students in Ireland, on the system of Higher Education system and also on well the country as a whole so this is very interesting for me because it’s a kind of a more applied area of research and it’s a research involving policy, so that’s something that I did not have before. I had a lot of other experience, work experience but I did not have specifically experience in the policy research. So that has been very, very interesting for me. So in terms of skills that you need to have to be a successful researcher first of all you have to have passion, you have to have a lot of passion and you have to believe in what you’re doing, you have to like your project. Okay if you don’t have that, no good. That is what’s going to motivate you because sometimes it can be a very kind of a lonely exercise, because you will spend a lot of times obviously like I said inside of your own head thinking and pondering and writing etc. So you need to have that passion. You also have to be self-disciplined, you have to have a lot of that kind of focus and self-discipline in a different way than you had as a, perhaps, as a doctoral researcher. So you may, depending on the nature of your project, you may have to work on a kind of a multi-faceted project as opposed to working towards a kind of a magnum opus and having a lot of supervision from your mentor. So sometimes you just have to be able to kind of work on little projects that may or may not lead somewhere, hopefully they will. But you have to be able to do that in parcelling out your work and stay very focused and have, like I said, have a kind of self-discipline and the drive and like what you’re doing.

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