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Ben Kavanagh


Ben recently completed his B.A in Applied Psychology at University College Cork. His research interests include periods of transition, and adolescent development with his final year project examining sleep behaviour across the period of emerging adulthood in Ireland.

In the past, Ben was a PPI contributor in UCC which inspired him to apply for the PPI Ignite @UCC Summer Scholarship. As well as continuing his work with Foróige as a youth mentor, Ben hopes to implement  aspects of PPI into his upcoming masters in Developmental Psychology which he will complete at Maastricht University.


Summer Studentship Reflection

The PPI Ignite @UCC Summer Scholarship has provided me with invaluable experience both in terms of my personal development and career development as a researcher. As part of the internship, I worked closely with experienced researchers on a project to assess Understanding and Experience of Public and Patient Involvement at University College Cork, and through this, I had the opportunity to develop my academic writing skills, critical thinking skills, and indeed my research skills in general.

A major advantage of this internship has been connecting with academics and researchers from all over Ireland. Given PPI Ignite @ UCC is part of the National PPI network, I had the privilege of joining meetings with PPI experts from major universities in Ireland and to learn about the exciting PPI work that is ongoing across the country. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to work closely with experienced researchers in UCC and the support I received from my supervisor and the PPI Ignite team was extremely beneficial in terms of my personal growth as a researcher. The detailed feedback I received on my work has allowed me to develop my skills in a relatively short space of time, something I am very thankful for as I pursue my master degree.

Before commencing the internship, my knowledge and experience of PPI was somewhat limited, however I leave this internship with a wealth of knowledge of what PPI entails and upon learning about the many benefits of a PPI approach to research, I have been inspired to embed a PPI approach in my future research as a psychologist.  Perhaps a highlight of my experience has been joining meetings with PPI contributors from across the country and  hearing personal testimonies of how PPI has made a difference in the lives of many, and indeed how it is continuing expanding into many fields of research.

Although this scholarship was of huge benefit to my own personal and professional development, I hope that the work I carried out will indirectly help patients and members of the public in the future. As part of my work on this internship, I produced a report which examined the understanding, experience of PPI in UCC, as well as identifying the barriers and enablers to PPI. The report is intended to guide PPI ignite @ UCC in how best to direct  resources for PPI in the comings years, and in turn maximise PPI output from the university.

PPI Ignite Network@UCC

4th Floor Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, T12 XF62