A man in a lab setting wearing a labcoat is looking into the camera.
George Penman. Image: Luke Maxwell/Siliconrepublic.com

Why did this senior scientist move from Dundee to Dublin?

15 Oct 2019

George Penman explains why he moved to Dublin from Dundee, Scotland, to work in Genomics Medicine Ireland.

Have you ever been so interested in a company that you would move country to work there? After visiting Dublin to find out more about Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI), Scottish scientist George Penman decided to do just that.

He told Siliconrepublic.com about the challenges he faced in shifting his career to Ireland, and the things that he has enjoyed the most along the way.

‘If I feel that I am not growing or expanding my knowledge, I want to move on’

Where are you from and what’s it like there?

I was born in Inverness in the north of Scotland, but most of my upbringing was in Dundee. Dundee is situated on the east coast of Scotland and is a small, compact city. It was a great place to grow up and had a very good medical sciences university.

How long have you been in Ireland?

I have lived in Ireland for almost two years now. I’ll have been here for two years on 1 November.

What prompted your decision to move here?

In my previous role, I was in a position where I thought there was not much more to learn. It has always been my major deciding factor for switching roles. If I feel that I am not growing or expanding my knowledge, I want to move on.

When contacted about the role in GMI, I was intrigued by the idea and decided to come across for a visit and see what was going on. After finding out a bit more, I decided to make the move across.

What’s your role in Genomics Medicine Ireland?

I am a senior scientist within the genomics centre laboratory. My specialisation is in next-generation sequencing.

I also have a background in Hamilton Robotics programming, and have used this to implement the sample workflows within the laboratory.

How would you describe your working environment?

The laboratory that has been constructed within Genomics Medicine Ireland is world class and of very high specification. The people within the company are bright and all have a common goal, and work very hard to make GMI a success. There is never a dull day.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the challenge of not only building and creating a world-leading sequencing facility within Ireland, but also the fast-paced work environment and watching the company grow and develop.

Every day is a new and fun challenge and there is never a dull moment.

Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?

Ireland in many ways is very similar to Scotland in the mentality of the people and in the landscape. The only challenge with making the move is being away from my family and partner.

What surprised you about moving to Ireland, if anything?

This is more about living in Dublin, but the cost of living was a surprise and very different compared to other places I have lived. The other surprise was with the healthcare system, which needs lot of investment.

How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?

The opportunity to interact with other enthusiastic people makes me feel comfortable and happy to work here.

What do you like most about your adopted home?

I like the people a lot and, like I said previously, they are very similar in nature to the Scottish. I like the countryside and nature and get to enjoy that on the weekends.

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