In 2020, Eoghan received an $8,000 grant from JCU’s Hunter Research Project Support Grant for his research focusing on the Great Barrier Reef. Eoghan has already planned how he is going to spend the money.
Dive trips are expensive, and most of the money will go to visit coral colonies more often. “This helps me to resurvey my corals as they grow, at regular intervals,” he says.
More data from the field also helps to improve Eoghan’s research results. “The Hunter Award will help the data that comes out of my research to be of an extremely high quality, as I have the funds to be able to return and resurvey at regular intervals. Each time I resurvey the same corals, I will be making a new 3D reconstruction of it, and recording details of the resident fish community, if present.”
Part of the funds will also go into software development. “It will allow us to develop a semi-automated procedure to overlay reconstructions of corals from different time-steps.” This in turn will improve the accuracy of his coral growth models.
Tips for getting a grant
Of course, there is no ‘secret recipe’ to getting a grant, but Eoghan has some helpful tips for students who are interested in applying for grants. “Attend workshops, listen to your supervisors, get as much information as you can from anyone who knows more than you,” he says.
"You must go out of your way to acquire knowledge on the subject. It’s a skill set that can't be transferred from anywhere else. Over time, you learn to frame your research for research applications in the best possible way. I'm very much at the start of that process but I'm always trying to improve.”
Tips for getting into science
If you are at the beginning of your journey and thinking about getting into science, Eoghan has some advice. “If you decide to go to university, do it because you have a genuine passion and take it seriously from day one,” he says.
“Aside from that, networking early on is the right idea. It's the one thing I wish I'd had the confidence to do earlier as it opens up opportunities to gain some experience above and beyond the bounds of your course.“