• Francisco Guerra

"What's the craic?" - Moving to Dublin

On my previous blog post I wrote about the start of my secondment at Oncoavanze – the oncologic clinic in Seville. I was there for 2 months and designed a study which aims at getting insight from cancer patients regarding technology and physical activity, more specifically about their preferences and thoughts regarding certain functionalities in physical activity coaching apps.

While the protocol is still under revision, which might take a couple of months, I’ve decided to move earlier to Ireland and start my Secondment at University College Dublin. This is one of the great perks of these European Projects – the flexibility to commute among the different collaborating institutions.

From Seville to Ireland…by car

Kilometers and kilometres of driving + a ferry from France to Ireland + winter weather. My mum freaked out a little – I said “mum I have a hybrid” – no laughs from her side.

Everything was going according to plan: Seville > Lisbon (to spend Christmas with my family) > Oporto > Bilbao > Rennes. Our last stop would then be Cheerbourg, to catch the ferry to Ireland.

BUT had the pleasure to meet Storm Eleonor on the way, which got the ferry from France cancelled.

So, plan B into action: taking the EuroTunnel and driving all across UK to get a ferry from Wales to Dublin.

route moving from Seville to Dublin

Luckily everything turned out to be ok, arriving safely to the city that will be my home for the next years – Dublin!

Pubs, Guinness and 4 seasons in one day

Irish people are impressively friendly and educate, with a passion for beer and rugby, and always pulling out their typical slang terms like: “What’s the craic?” –meaning what’s new? – and “That’s grand” – meaning that’s fine with me.

A lot of Dublin’s magic comes from their history – from the time of the Viking settlement to the Irish Civil war. The city is like a living museum, with medieval castles and cathedrals alongside the architecture from when they were part of the British empire.

Rain, wind, snow and sun in the same day? -> check. Irish solution: Get inside a Pub! They’re huge, all nicely decorated and normally with great live music. There’s not a single day where a pub won’t be full.

Francisco in Dublin

Back to Academy:

It’s been 2 years since I’ve finished my Masters and now I’m back again to academia. I’m placed in a research centre at University College Dublin, where I will continue pursuing my PhD – within the project CATCH.

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, with 400+ researchers, more than 80 industry partners and over €100 million of funding. Insight currently conducts research in the fields of: Chronic Disease Management & Rehabilitation; Novel Personal Sensing; Connecting Health & Life Sciences; The Future of News and Media; etc.

Insight Centre for Data Analytics

Insight undertakes high impact research in data analytics that has significant benefits for the individual, industry and society by enabling better decision making. With a vision on Empowering Citizens and Smarter Societies.

After one year in the industrial sector, now I will have the chance to be in a more research-like environment. Here I will take some courses and get some extra research and technical skills; I’ll have more support from my academic supervisors, which I can now meet face to face; and I’ll be able to collaborate with other PhDs. Besides that, I’m sharing an open-space office with many other researchers that made me feel comfortable from the start.

One more international experience to add to my list.

I will definitely enjoy this opportunity to the fullest… let the leprechaun hunt begin!


A Leprechaun – type of fairy of the Irish folklore. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.

#catchitn #secondment #UCD #MSCA #Dublin #Seville #PhD #research #H2020

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