Dr David Neal
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Research Fellow
Place of work / study:
Amsterdam University Medical Centre, Department of Psychiatry
Area of Research:
Technology for social health in dementia
How is your work funded?
EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (DISTINCT)
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m originally from the UK and moved to Amsterdam with my Dutch wife in 2019. I studied behavioural neuroscience and then clinical medicine at the University of Cambridge and went on to work as an NHS doctor in London. One of my jobs was in old age psychiatry. I found it a fascinating field, but felt frustrated by how little I could do to help people in their daily lives, outside the hospital. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to join the FindMyApps project, working every day on solutions which can help people in everyday life.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
Since 2019 I’ve become fluent in Dutch but I still sometimes have word-finding difficulties, which fortunately many of our research participants can relate to! I really think it helps build rapport that I’ve made the effort, even when I get it wrong.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
I think there is so much scope to help people maintain their quality of life. If you can get through all the complexity of understanding what that actually means, to people at the individual level, and at the macro-scale for how interventions and entire systems need to work for people, you can make a huge difference for people. There’s so much to learn and to achieve.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Commit fully to what you’re working on in the short-term, but don’t be afraid to take different directions and explore different fields in the medium to long-term. It will make you a better researcher if you’re able to integrate different disciplines, skills and perspectives. I strongly believe that real innovation happens not within disciplines but at the intersection of disciplines.
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
Daniel Dennet’s book, From Bacteria to Bach and Back. I think it’s really entertaining and contains lots of interesting thought experiments and ideas. If you’re into something a bit more on the philosophical end of science, I would recommend it.
Can we find you on Twitter & Instagram?