Deirdre Byrne

Insight Diversity: Deirdre Byrne on the importance of getting the STEM message out early

Submitted on Monday, 27/03/2023

Deirdre Byrne is a Research Assistant working for Insight under the DCU Exoskeleton Programme; a service which uses robotic exoskeletons to rehabilitate paralysis affected gait in those with neurological conditions. Deirdre has a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Science and Health where she carried out her thesis research for the Exoskeleton programme. Deirdre is presently assisting with and conducting research surrounding the biomechanical and physiological effects of exoskeleton walking and rehabilitation.

What inspired you to pursue a career in research, and how did you get started in your field?

As part of my degree in Sport Science and Health, I was fortunate enough to land a placement with the DCU Exoskeleton Programme. When starting my thesis in my final year, I was excited to brainstorm the ways in which I could make an impact on the programme with my research. Working there and carrying out research fuelled a passion for exploration and discovery in the fields of biomechanics and robotic rehabilitation in those with neurological disorders.

How do you think the research community can encourage more diversity and inclusion in science and technology?

I think focus should be placed on showing children and young women that if the interest is there, they can thrive in the world of science and technology. It can be impactful for children and young women to see examples of their older generations enjoying research and innovation, and making a difference – showing them that there are no limits in what they can achieve in science and technology.
In terms of keeping women in the field, I think it’s important for the research community to create an environment where women are taken seriously and valued to the same degree as men for their knowledge and expertise.