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Dr Ciaran Mac Donncha

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Ciaran Mac Donncha has more than 20 years of experience working with different age groups in the context of measurement, physical activity and health promotion. His primary research focus is on the determinants and correlates of physical activity and sedentary behaviour across the life-span and relevant data harmonisation. He has been principal investigator on a number of large scale health promotion intervention studies in schools, the workplace and the community. He has supervised 7 PhD and 5 MSc students to completion; he is currently supervising 6 PhD students. He was a member of the National Steering Group for Physical Activity in Ireland who prepared the first National Physical Activity Guidelines and the Draft Physical Activity Plan for Ireland. He has secured in excess of 1.2 million in research funding since 2002. He graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in Physical Education in 1991, he was awarded a Masters degree from the University of Bristol in Exercise and Health Sciences in 1992. He completed his Ph.D in 1998. Ciaran was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick in 1998. Since that time he has held the following posts of responsibility at the University: Programme Director, Head of Department and Assistant Dean of Research, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences.


Aleksovska, K., Puggina, A., Giraldi, L., Buck, C., Burns, C., Cardon, G., Carlin, A., Chantal, S., Ciarapica, D., Colotto, M., Condello, G., Coppinger, T., Cortis, C., D'Haese, S., De Craemer, M., Di Blasio, A., Hansen, S., Iacoviello, L., Issartel, J. & Boccia, S. (2019). Biological determinants of physical activity across the life course: a “Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity” (DEDIPAC) umbrella systematic literature review. Sports Medicine - Open. 5:2.

Murphy, J., MacDonncha, C., Murphy, M., Murphy, N., Timperio, A., Leech, R., Woods, C. (2019). Identification of health-related behavioural clusters and their association with demographic characteristics in Irish university students. BMC Public Health. 19: 121.

Buck, C., Loyen, A., Foraita, R., Van Cauwenberg, J., De Craemer, M., MacDonncha, C., Oppert, J.-M., Brug, J., Lien, N., Cardon, G., Pigeot, I. & Chastin, S. (2019). Factors influencing sedentary behaviour: A system based analysis using Bayesian networks within DEDIPAC. PLOS ONE. 14.

McDowell, C., Carlin, A., Capranica, L., Dillon, C., Harrington, J.M., Lakerveld, J., Loyen, A., Ling, F., Brug, J., MacDonncha, C. & Herring, M. (2018). Associations of self-reported physical activity and depression in 10,000 Irish adults across harmonised datasets: A DEDIPAC-study. BMC Public Health. 18: 779.

McDowell, C., Dishman, R.K., Hallgren, M., MacDonncha, C. & Herring, M. (2018). Associations of physical activity and depression: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Experimental Gerontology. 112: 68-75.