The research activities of the Department of Clinical Therapies are structured into three research themes, reflecting current areas of research and allowing for co-ordinated and focused planning into the future. Each theme provides a focus for capacity-building and the training of ethical and rigorous researchers. Academic staff, practice education staff and research students all take part in the themes.. In November 2014, under the Research Impact initiative, the Department showcased its revolutionary research into the treatment of back pain.

At present we support full-time and part-time research students at both masters and PhD level. The following PhD projects are open to new applicants 



Effects of exercise on sleep and pain in people with inflammatory arthritis


Norelee Kennedy

Communication in healthcare: Mapping and defining interactions between service users and service providers at micro and macro levels.

Arlene McCurtin

Building an evidence anthology (representing multiple forms of evidence) for a specified treatment in dysphagia

Arlene McCurtin

Adverse healthcare outcomes in older adults in the community


Rose Galvin

Physiotherapy and exercise interventions to reduce symptom severity and enhance quality of life for people living with Multiple Sclerosis

Susan Coote

Developing and evaluating SLT/teacher collaborative programmes to enhance speech language and communication in secondary school children.

Carol-Anne Murphy

Developing speech and language profiling and assessment tools for children with speech and language difficulties in diverse populations.

Carol-Anne Murphy

Understanding and treating word finding difficulties in people with traumatic brain injury.

Sue Franklin




Health & Wellbeing

Research activities from this theme aim to promote the health, activity and participation of people living with a range of chronic health conditions through collaborative and multidisciplinary research. We adopt a biopsychosocial approach in order to develop effective rehabilitation and intervention.

Research areas include: health promotion; physical activity; evaluation and assessment; technology in healthcare; rehabilitation and intervention design; ageing; biopsychosocial aspects of chronic disease.



Professional Practice and Education

Research undertaken in this theme addresses the process of learning, promotion and engagement within inter-disciplinary research. This includes learning in both classrooms and in healthcare settings; exploring how students and practitioners make clinical decisions and analysis of the wider comtemporary and historical influences on the development of health practice and professions.

Research areas include: innovative placements; teaching via inter-professional education (IPE); clinical decision making; peer learning; lifelong learning; quality and evaluation; translational learning; evidence-based practice; history of health-care practice and develpment of professions.


Social Inclusion

Members of this theme engage in research that aims to generate an evidence base to inform the development of policies, practices and programmes that enhance inclusion, development, participation and resilience within communities, where positive health outcomes or access to healthcare may be compromised.

Research areas include: community living; positive learning environments; health and wellbeing; evidence-based interventions; evaluating services; community partnerships; transcultural mental health.



Research Impact: Improving the lives of people with musculoskeletal conditions

Musculoskeletal conditions (MSCs) are the primary cause of work absence in Ireland with an estimated direct cost to the economy of €750 million (Arthritis Ireland 2009). The management of MSCs focuses on keeping people at work and participating in society. Management of MSCs is often hindered by beliefs and practices of healthcare professionals and the public, which are not in line with best evidence. MSC researchers in University of Limerick’s Department of Clinical Therapies have had a direct impact on the management of MSCs by influencing (1) healthcare policy, (2) healthcare practice and (3) public perceptions about MSCs.