Science Foundation Ireland

Alan Mathewson: Human of CONNECT

Dr Alan Mathewson is a Deputy Director of CONNECT, based at Tyndall National Institute in Cork.

I’m Alan Mathewson and I’m Assistant Head of the Micro and Nano Systems Centre in Tyndall National Institute, as well as the deputy director of CONNECT. My main research area is energy harvesting.

I have done a lot of different things in my life: I have reinvented myself around four times in my life and career. I did different things as various technologies died out so; it’s important to rejuvenate yourself – that is one of the main factors in research. You have to be flexible and able to see that, occasionally, certain research isn’t going anywhere anymore, and something new has to be tried. Finding something new is not easy to do.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching sensors. I was involved in the development of many different types of sensors and I thought I should travel abroad to experience some career opportunities. I worked in France where I couldn’t really get as much done as I could in Ireland. The institute was just too big, and I was crammed in a small office with five other people!

When I returned I made the world’s first-ever 3-dimensional integrated circuit in 1987 which is now in the British Museum and it is something that I am still very proud of.

It surprises some people to see that I still with individual fingers! People laugh. They wonder if I work in tech at all!


CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

Humans of CONNECT
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