The Bernal Institute at University of Limerick is home to a multidisciplinary team of world-leading materials scientists and engineers. With a mission to develop disruptive technologies related to Health, Energy and Environment, the Bernal is a place where visions become a commercial reality.

With a PhD in Biotechnology from UL, Finola Cliffe agrees.

“There's a huge history of entrepreneurship within The Bernal, that exposure opens up your mind to the possibilities of where you can take your research, what you can do with your research - that it is possible to commercialise what you're doing.”

Finola went on: “In 2014 I was lucky enough to be interviewed for a position at the Stokes Institute, which is now The Bernal, and I was extremely overawed at that opportunity. I have worked with Professor Mark Davis since 2014 and we have successfully spun out a company from the University of Limerick called Hooke Bio Limited.”

“There's a huge history of entrepreneurship within The Bernal”

Now, Finola acts as the Chief Operations Officer with Hooke Bio Limited and finds herself in the position of hiring the next generation of graduates. Speaking to the calibre of UL postgraduates, Finola said:  “We have had a number of UL graduates in the past, we currently have a number of UL graduates working with us and I've always found them to be extremely professional, very hard working and full of great ideas.”

A PhD can serve as a lesson in so much more than the subject you’ve chosen. For Finola, one of the greatest takeaways was the resilience and discipline needed to see it through – and the ways in which that can help you with life beyond the campus lab. Speaking to her experience in marrying the science and the commercial enterprise, she said: “Working in a start-up is a rollercoaster. I definitely think that my time doing my PhD in UL has given me the resilience to cope with that.”

If you’re curious about what you might achieve through postgraduate studies, you’ll have all the support you need at University of Limerick. #StayCurious