Ruairí Brannigan

Having graduated from DCU in 2011 with a degree in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Studies, I’ve always been attracted to fundamental chemistry and materials science, specifically to the challenges faced bridging the gap between the two when designing new polymers for advanced applications. 

By making simple modifications on a molecular level, we create materials with unique properties. This is everything from conductive materials for solar cells and weather-resistant coatings for off-shore windmills. My current research is focused on producing sustainable and degradable plastics from renewable resources, and biocompatible dressings for internal wound healing after invasive surgeries.

Chemistry appeals to creative minds

When I was younger, I was fairly creative and inquisitive, and always enjoyed playing with hands-on activities like making art, building and ‘inventing’ contraptions and annoying my family with random questions. When it came to secondary school, I found these sometimes annoying qualities were actually applicable to the sciences, and I developed a passion for chemistry.

For me, allowing students to be excited by and engaged with the scientific process is where true innovation occurs. As educators, we can’t necessarily impart this, but we can facilitate the environment for students to grow. If we can nurture a desire and ambition towards inquiry in our students, the next generation of scientists will significantly push the boundaries of what we think is possible.

Ruairí Brannigan is Assistant Professor, BSc in Chemical Sciences general entry

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