Brain Caulfield, Ciaran Purcell and Tomás Ward in front of a poster

Insight PhD: Ciaran Purcell, UCD

Submitted on Thursday, 07/12/2023

Ciarán Purcell is a Level 2 Accredited Chartered Physiotherapist is Sports and Exercise Medicine and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Ciarán has clinical experience working with athletes across all levels from amateur to elite level as well as working with people with a  diverse range of musculoskeletal conditions across the lifespan. Ciarán is passionate about pursuing a career that includes elements of clinical work, teaching and research. Ciarán commenced his PhD in UCD SFI Insight Centre of Data Analytics, as part of the Personal Sensing group, where he is working towards the development of an upper and lower limb athlete pain assessment framework. SO far he has completed a scoping review of the literature, a set of focus groups combining athletes and sports physiotherapists and is currently completing an expert consensus real-time delphi study which will help determine assessment tools and aspects to be included in the pain assessment framework.

What do you enjoy most about research with Insight?

Completing my research with Insight has opened up a world of opportunities. I love the sense of community and comradery that being part a big research team provides. Although much of my research spanned the Covid 19 pandemic there is always opportunities to meet colleagues, share ideas and discuss research and other interests. I am also very fortunate to have an excellent supervisory team who have helped my research career progress over the years.

What is the most challenging aspect of doing a PhD?

Juggling competing demands and managing time is hands down the most challenging element of a PhD. PhD students tend to have a strong sense of curiosity and drive and this can make it difficult to say no and prioritise specific tasks at times. The duration of the PhD means having a plan and structure is important and the responsibility rests with the student to ensure this is in place. Whilst challenging these aspects are vital for life beyond the PhD and this is certainly a safe space to learn them.

When your not working on your PhD what pastimes do you enjoy?

Like many of the Insight crew I have hopped on the long-distance running band wagon. Somewhat ironically, I have had a number of injuries/pain episodes over the past 3-4 years that have encouraged me to take up cycling and spend some time in the gym doing some strength training. I have also learned a lot about how to approach stress and training as part of a busy schedule. I have recently completed my first ½ marathon which was a great personal achievement. Every day is a school day!