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My time as a visiting scholar in Dublin

I am Toby, a PhD student at the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences at Ulster University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. My research focuses on young people and their involvement in drug markets in Northern Ireland. I am always trying to expand my understanding and critical thinking about related topics. My research interests include young people’s substance use, drug markets, and drug policy. I applied to the COORDINATE for a place on their Transnational Access Visit programme to use the Growing Up In Ireland dataset. I sought to use this data to gain insight into young people’s substance use in Ireland.



I was extremely thankful and proud to have been granted funding to undertake this visit to University College Dublin. My topic aimed longitudinally to examine young people’s alcohol use in Ireland. I spent two weeks at UCD while also visiting other universities in Dublin and speaking to researchers and professionals with similar interests to my own. I liaised with my academic host, Sarah Morton, to develop a plan to examine the GUI dataset and hopefully construct a research briefing going forward. This work will remain ongoing and I hope it will be possible to draw some parallels between the findings from Southern Ireland and that of Northern Ireland. 


During my time at UCD, I spent time working on campus. UCD has a very interesting and scenic campus, making it a really great place to study. I divided my time between working on my project using the GUI project and networking. Given the research interests of my PhD, connecting with scholars and practitioners in Dublin was important. I used this time to discuss what research will be impactful in Dublin and how potential collaborations may transpire in the future. I thought it was important to connect with people who worked in academia, as well as those doing work in the community. Doing so offered a real insight into what I should consider when using the GUI dataset. Similarly, it offered an insight into where my PhD might take me. 


In my free time, I visited the many galleries in Dublin, with the Hugh Lane Gallery being a particular favourite of mine. I made use of the good weather to visit Phoenix Park, walk along the canal and visit Howth. Dublin has so much to offer and many hours can be spent wandering around, making it a truly great city to visit. 


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