The milestone amount is reached as the Clinical Therapies Department celebrate 10 Years. The Department of Clinical Therapies at the University of Limerick hosted a showcase of current research by faculty and students in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Department. Since 2006, over €3million in competitive research grants has been awarded to staff within Clinical Therapies at UL, across the three disciplines of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy.
In 2012, the Department restructured its research activities into three Research Clusters to reflect current areas of research and to allow for more coordinated and focussed planning into the future. The three Clusters are titled; Youth, Disadvantage and Disability; Professional Learning, Theory and Practice; and Enhancing Participation and Activity for people with Chronic Conditions. Each Cluster provides a focus for capacity-building and training of ethical and rigorous researchers. The establishing of writing groups by each Cluster has enhanced the quality outputs from Clinical Therapies.
Speaking at the event, Professor Alison Perry, Head of the Department, of Clinical Therapies said: “The current focus in Clinical Therapies is to further internationalise our research. The Department members are working closely with key international partners, building research alliances, enhancing opportunities for staff/student exchanges and for recruiting research students from a broad range of overseas countries.
The Department has strong national and local partnerships – with industries, with government agencies, and with other Departments across UL. These include technology companies, advocacy and support groups, and we value their input and support as we grow and develop our Clinical Therapies’ research programme.”
The anniversary event included a keynote address from Professor Maura Daly Iversen, Professor of Physiotherapy at Northeastern University, Boston, USA who was at UL to plan student, staff exchanges . Her talk on The Future for Allied Health Research: Development and Direction clearly illustrated how technology will change the face of rehabilitation and healthcare.
The second keynote speaker, Dr Teresa Maguire, Head of the Population Health & Health Services Research Unit at the Health Research Board, Ireland, congratulated the department staff on their impressive trajectory in research outputs over the 10 years.
Examples of current research projects across Clinical Therapies include; Working with arthritis: strategies and solutions; Reducing stigma for people with an intellectual disability; Improving activity for people with Multiple Sclerosis; ‘Work Ready’ - a group intervention to maintain wellness during unemployment; and Designing meaningful daily activities for ‘at risk’ Limerick youths to enhance their health and wellbeing. These research studies are grounded in ‘real life’ issues, and staff aim to make a practical positive difference to people’s health and wellbeing.