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Research Groups

HRI- HIST Research Group

Cluster Description:
HRI- HIST will advance research in the area of implementation science and the systematic uptake of evidence-based, technology-enhanced interventions into practice and policy. 

AIM: To develop, deliver, and sustain research and expertise in Implementation I(IS) with Information and Communication technology (ICT) in Research, Collaboration / Networking and Capacity Building.

A critical issue in health today is the gap between what we know can optimize health and health care and that which is implemented in everyday practice.  Implementation science seeks to address this gap by understanding how best to ensure that evidence-based strategies to improve health are effectively delivered in clinical and public health practice.

To lead a programme of research training and collaboration that builds capacity in implementation science to facilitate change at patient and provider level and to inform standards of care and policy.

To be an acknowledged player in the international field of Implementation Science with technology to enhance implementation that will attract visiting academics and PhD students from around the world.

The planned HRI-HIST activities over the next three years will ensure that UL’s strategic objectives across many domains are realised and a strong foundation is established across this new cross- cutting field of research. 


Principal Investigator:                                             
Professor Alice Coffey

Research Team:
Prof Norelee Kennedy
Prof Sue franklin
Dr Audrey Tierney
Prof Stephen Gallagher
Dr Pepijn Van de Ven
Prof Stephen Kinsella


Timmons, S., Cornally, N., Hartigan, I., Lehane, E., Buckley, C., O’Loughlin, C., Finn., C., Lynch, M, Coffey, A(2019) Scaling up guidance documents on Dementia Palliative Care: PAR methods and strategies for implementation  2nd UK Implementation Science Research Conference Proceedings from the 2nd Annual UK Implementation Science Research Conference: meeting abstracts Implementation Science201914 (Suppl 2) :69


Timmons, S., Cornally, N., Hartigan, I., Lehane, E., Buckley, C., O’Loughlin, C., Finn., C., Coffey, A.  (2019) Tailoring change management - learning from “readiness-to-change” and learning needs analyses, focused on dementia palliative care, in three long-term care settings. IGS 2019 (Age and Ageing, Volume 48, Issue Supplement_3, September 2019)



Social Media Links: 

NM Twitter account and facebook page

HRI Twitter account


UL Cancer Network (ULCaN) Resarch Group

Cancer is a debilitating disease and it is a significant strain on patients, families, health care workers and on the economy. At the University of Limerick and University Hospital Limerick, we have pockets of excellent cancer research activities scattered throughout the network. Our researchers are making significant contributions to the understanding of cancer and are integral to projects that are having real impact and influencing national and international policy.  Through ULCaN, we are creating an infrastructure that facilitates academic and clinical researchers to undertake multidisciplinary research by providing a roadmap to assemble teams, illustrate mechanisms to facilitate the sharing of information and promote opportunities for project development to build capacity in UL and UHL. Our overarching objective is to help patients on the Cancer Journey. The group and its associated activities will help propel the reputation of UL’s Health Research Institute as an Institute that can perform holistic disease research.

Ageing Research Centre (ARC)

The Ageing Research Centre (ARC) comprises an interdisciplinary group of researchers that aim to:

  • Conduct excellent research that leads to improvement in the health, well-being and social inclusion of older pople.
  • Work across disciplinary boundaries to address research priorities that reflect the day to day realities of older people’s lives.
  • Develop capacity in ageing research at UL and build collaborations with researchers, clinicians, industry partners, older people and their representative organisations.

The Ageing Research Centre has a programme of current activity focused around three thematic areas:  

  • Aligning health services to the needs of older people.
  • Ageing in place.
  • Using health analytics to optimise outcomes for older people.

Physical Activity for Health Research Group

The “Physical Activity for Health” (PAfH) group is a  multidisciplinary research group of physiologists, sports scientists, physiotherapists and health, sports and exercise psychologists is ideally placed to meet global and local policy requirements in the area of physical activity for health.

A key strength is our collaborations with international experts in the area, and with stakeholders in community, policy and healthcare organisations. We have a track record of successful collaborations amongst our members that have led to co-supervised PhD graduations, funded projects and impact on health and social care.

The group has four complementary and inter-linking focus areas; 1) Measurement, surveillance and Determinants of PA, 2) Biomedicine of PA, 3) PA and Exercise as Medicine, and 4) Policy Impact and Implementation of effective interventions. Our research is cross-sectoral in public health, community, healthcare, sports and school settings, and across the lifespan, from children to older people.

PD+PA (Product Design + Performing Arts) Research Group

The Creative Process meets the Creative Product - enhancing the performance Artist through research, design and technology.

This cross-disciplinary Research Group provides collective thinking of Design, Technology, Allied Health, Physical Science and Business to deliver market-driven and user centered product/service innovations for the performance arts. The cluster aims to develop and commercialize products in this area. A number of issues for performance artists such as dancers and musicians in terms of the products, devices and wearables that are intended to physically support them in their performance have been identified. In many instances these products have not kept pace with the changes in the performance, are not ergonomically designed, or do not cater for the individual needs of performers.

Project areas:

Project 1: to investigate how technological advancements and the design of footwear can prevent injury and improve quality of life for the Irish dancer.

Project 2: to transfer the knowledge and skills developed in project 1 to mitigate against injury and enhance the performance of other dancers: ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom and salsa.

Project 3: Dance solutions for the older Adult. A specifically designed dancing shoe for the older adult, could in turn enable the general adult population to take up dancing without risk of injury. This would complement projects being conducted with the older adult population within the Arts and Humanities research cluster.

Project 4: to identify needs amongst other performance artists such as musicians, in terms of ergonomics, repetitive strain injury, customization and physical impairments. This may extend to orchestral musicians, session musicians, marching bands and the teaching and learning experience. (See Figure 1)

Group leads:

Dr Louise Kiernan (PI) – School of Design

Dr Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain – Irish World Academy of Music and Dance

Bernard Hartigan – School of Design

Group collaborators:

Prof Drew Harrison - Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences

Dr Ian Kenny - Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences

Dr Roisin Cahalan - School of Allied Health

Dr Briga Hynes - Department of Management and Marketing


PART-IM Research Group

This group brings together arts-based and participatory scholars from medicine, nursing & midwifery, and the performing arts, as well as a leading NGO for migrants. Our vision is to develop increased understanding of the role of arts-based methods as participatory strategies for involving migrants in health research.

Migration is a global phenomenon and in 2016 WHO Europe published the first ever WHO strategy and action plan for refugee and migrant health. 17% of the population of Ireland is now born outside the country. In line with international imperatives for Public and Patient Involvement (PPI), involving migrants in health research is important. However, there is a persistent pattern of migrants’ exclusion from health-related participatory spaces.

University of Limerick scholars are field leaders in participatory approaches to health research. There is also a pioneering cohort of scholars focused on arts-based research and health, particularly in relation to singing. Both groups have developed capacity in participatory and arts-based research with specific reference to issues of migration.

Combined, we represent a unique and innovative collaboration to support existing and new collaborations and to shape national and international migrant health research and policy. Drawing on our experience of using participatory and arts-based methods, and utilising the existing infrastructure of the PPI theme in the Health Research Institute (HRI) at the University of Limerick (UL) we will work with existing civic engagement energies including the UL Sanctuary group and UL Engage towards three key goals:

Research:  to expand the evidence base for the role of arts-based methods in migrant health research and to evaluate training in the use of participatory and arts-based methods.

Collaboration and networking:  to develop stronger links between arts, heath and migrant research energies within the university and beyond, and model networking strategies such as the Irish World Music Café.

Capacity Building and Training: to develop training opportunities in arts-based research methods for health workers, migrants and researchers, with a view to building skill, knowledge, resources, and confidence in the application of this approach.

Research Team:

Lead Applicant: Prof Helen Phelan (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Co-Applicant: Prof Anne MacFarlane (Graduate Medical School)

Co-Applicant: Dr Sylvia Murphy Tighe (Department of Nursing & Midwifery)

Official Collaborator: Dr Tríona McCaffrey (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Official Collaborator: Dr Hilary Moss (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Official Collaborator: Dr Susann Huschke (Graduate Medical School)

Official Collaborator: Maebh Barry (Department of Nursing & Midwifery)

Official Collaborator: Leonie Kerins (Doras Luimní)