The Centre for Social Issues Research is an interdisciplinary collaborative research group housed within the University of Limerick Faculty of Education and Health Science.

The group develops research ideas and supports collaborations to address contemporary social issues, supporting collaborations between skilled researchers at all career stages and external agencies in a partnership approach.

The unifying aim of the Centre for Social Issues Research (CSI-R) is to promote theoretically informed and methodologically sound innovative social research that addresses contemporary social issues and informs social policy.

The core feature of our work is an appreciation that all behaviour, educational, health, occupational and social actions, are shaped by systems and structures as much as individual psychologies. 

We see ourselves as working in partnership with community, service and statutory sectors. Rather than having beneficiaries therefore we take an action-research orientation best exemplified by the mantra ‘nothing about us without us’.  This results in the research being informed, owned and used by our partners for purposes as they see fit. 

We have experience and expertise in collaboratively designing projects, developing funding proposals and carrying out research and interventions with partners. For example, the Irish Research Council offers the Enterprise Partnership Scheme that funds a researcher (PhD candidate) to work with a non-academic partner (e.g. an SME, NGO, or public sector agency). The partner contributes a portion of the cost of the scholarship but accesses extensive research expertise for a relatively modest investment.

We welcome enquiries from potential partners grappling with social issues who might like to work with us - 

Email: csi-r@ul.ie
Phone: 061 202908

Key Research Themes

1. Health and well-being across the lifespan

We are interested in health (physical and psychological) and well-being, in the young and the old. Typically there are different challenges and risks for children, teenagers, young adults and older adults. And many of the health issues we face are chronic and enduring and have different implications depending on life stage.  We are particularly interested in the way that families, friends and communities contribute and sustain the health of at risk groups.

2. Equality, Diversity and Social Exclusion.

In much of the work that we do, we explore the ways that individuals and communities can be strengthened by processes that support social inclusion.  We have a keen interest in the way that communities and groups can be used to promote health and good community relations or social cohesion.  Our research orients to the way in which this can be achieved by though an emphasis on shared values, beliefs and identities as well as by emphasising and facilitating the development of equitable systems and processes are in place for all.

3. Building health and social capital.

We are keen to work with community organisations to develop health and well-being for all.  We have different projects that relate to the needs of particular populations, such as those affected by acquired brain injury, and children and families who live with a disability and those affected by unemployment.  

4. Application of qualitative and quantitive research methods

We are a large group, with a large array of skills.  We don't go in for 'methodolatry' rather we prefer to let the research guide our choice of methods.  We are happy to use an assortment of social science methods to answer our research questions- so sometimes we conduct lab experiments, on other occasions we will use surveys, interviews, and fieldwork.

We are always keen to work with new partners so please do get in touch at CSI-R@ul.ie, Phone: 061 202908

UL Group

Prof. Orla Muldoon

Dr Stephen Gallagher

Dr Siobhan Howard

Dr Jennfer McMahon

Dr Mike Quayle

Dr Elaine Kinsella

Dr Aisling O’Donnell

Dr Sarah Jay

Dr Jenny Roth

Dr Ann Marie Creaven

Dr Daragh Bradshaw

Dr Paul Maher

Dr Cillian McHugh 

Dr Siobhan Griffin

Dr Grace McMahon

Dr Islam Borinca

PhD Students:

Aoife Marie Foran 

Megan Ryan

Tracey Keogh

Jack Loughnane

Caitríona Shelly

Emma Kirwan

Adam O’Riordan 

Lisa Skilton

Ana-Maria Lashkay

Now graduated PhD students: Michelle Kearns, Alastair Nightingale, Clara O’Shea, Joanne Coantwell, Brenda O’Connell, Stephen Walsh, MaryBeth Gallagher, Eoin Brown, Catherine Naughton.

Previous and Current Partners include:

Pieta House, 

Acquired Brian Injury (ABI) Ireland, 

Dept of Health, Communications and Behaviour Advisory Group advising NPHET.

Irish Prison service ad Irish Penal Reform Trust

Family Caregivers Ireland

Childhood Development Initiative  

Safe Ireland 

Care Alliance Ireland

COPE Foundation

Action for Children and Families of Prisoners Network 

Campbell Collaboration UK and Ireland 

Clare Young Peoples Service Committee

Paul Partership and Limerick regenerations initative

Nepal Leprosy Trust 

SWAN Ireland

The Centre has supported the successful proposals of two highly prestigious ERC grants.

European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant “SIMTIC” (Grant agreement No. 884927) awarded to Prof Orla Muldoon (amount: €2.5 million), 2020.

European Research Council (ERC) Starter Grant “DAFINET” awarded to Prof Michael Quayle (amount : € 1.5 million), 2019.

European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept grant “AttitudeNets4All” awarded to Prof Michael Quayle (amount : € 150k), 2022

Health Research Board (HRB) and Irish Research Council (IRC) COVID Research Funded Projects “Maximising Social Solidarity and Trust in Public Health Messaging in the Misinformation Era” awarded to Prof Orla Muldoon, Prof Michael Quayle, Dr Elaine Kinsella, Dr Jenny Roth, Dr Rose Galvin (UL) Eavan Muldoon (Mater Hospital) and Dr Cathal O’Broin (UCD), amount: €152,847.28.

The Centre for Open Science via a Department of Defense (DoD) award (DARPA SCORE), Cooperative Agreement Award N660011924015. $10,000 to  Dr Siobhán Griffin, Dr Cillian McHugh, 2020-2021.

Irish Research Council Postgraduate Fellowships

(Highly competitive awards with approximately 1 in 12 success rate in the social sciences, value per annum: €23000). The Centre has a consistent record of success in this programme.

  • Tracey Keogh, 2021. Supervisors: Prof Stephen Gallagher & Dr Siobhán Howard, 1 year award
  • Jack Loughnane, 2021. Supervisors: Dr Jenny Roth, 2 year award
  • Caitríona Shelly, 2021. Supervisors: Prof Orla Muldoon & Dr Jenny Roth, 3 year award
  • Emma Kirwan, 2021 . Supervisors: Dr Ann-Marie Creaven & Prof Stephen Gallagher, 3 year award
  • Adam O’Riordan, 2019. Supervisors: Prof Stephen Gallagher & Dr Siobhán Howard. 3 year award
  • Aoife-Marie Foran, 2020. Supervisors: Dr Aisling O’Donnell & Prof Orla Muldoon, 2 year award
  • Eoin Brown, 2016. Supervisors: Prof Stephen Gallagher & Dr Ann-Marie Creaven. 3 year award
  • Daragh Bradshaw, 2016. Supervisors: Prof Orla Muldoon & Dr Ann-Marie Creaven. 3 year award
  • Alastair Nightingale, 2017. Supervisors Prof Orla Muldoon, Prof Mike Quayle. 3 year award.
  • Michelle Kearns, 2014. Supervisors Prof Orla Muldoon, Prof Rachel Msetfi, 3 year award.
  • Stephen Walsh, 2012, Supervisor, Prof Orla Muldoon, Prof Stephen Gallagher, 3 year award.

Irish Research Council Post Doctoral awards 

Enterprise partnership award from the Irish Research Council under the CAROLINE award scheme to Dr. Elaine Gallagher in collaboration with SWAN IReland entitled ‘Relationships on the River’. Mentor: Prof Orla Muldoon €160,266, 2018

Enterprise partnership award from the Irish Research Council and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland [grant number EPSPD/2013/691] awarded to Dr Elaine Kinsella. Mentor by Prof Orla Muldoon  €90,000, 2013

IRC Marie Curie CAROLINE award to Dr Sarah  Jay.  Political engagement and education in excluded youth. With U Capetown. Mentor: Prof Maura Adshead   €183,837, 2017

IRC New Foundations

Jay €12,000 2021,

Creaven €12,000 2021,

Bradshaw €12,000 2020,

Bradshaw €15,000 2021,

Muldoon €25,000 2016,

McMahon, €9,700  2016.

Kinsella, €6000, 2014

Muldoon, €6000, 2012,

Other Awards

Funding to organize a Symposium titled: “The Midwest Psychological Field Station; Looking Back, Looking Forward”, (co-applicant in collaboration with Marek McGann, Sofie Pedersen, & Jytte Bang), from Carlsberg Foundation (€8,000)

Internal Seed Funding

Succeed & Lead funding 2019, €100,000 McMahon & Gallagher

Faculty of Education and Science, University of Limerick. Adjustment to University: A Biomarker Study. Dr Siobhán Griffin, Prof Stephen Gallagher, Prof Orla Muldoon. €5,339.50, 2021.

Faculty of Education and Science, University of Limerick. Cognitive Load and Moral Dumbfounding . Dr Cillian McHugh  €1972.91, 2021.

Faculty of Education and Science, University of Limerick €3,438: The CV19 Heroes Project - Social predictors of Burnout. Dr Elaine Kinsella.

2020 : University of Gloucestershire Internal Research Grant Programme 2020 (Research Priority Area: Sport, Exercise, Health and Wellbeing) small grant award (£5,558.66): CV19 Heroes Long-term fallout

University of Gloucestershire Internal Research Grant Programme 2020 (Research Priority Area: Sport, Exercise, Health and Wellbeing) small grant award (£5,525.41): Grace Under Pressure: Elements of resilience in everyday heroes and heroes every day in the COVID-19 crisis to Dr. Elaine Kinsella and Dr. Rachel Sumner (Uni Gloucestershire).

Awards 

Irish Researcher of the Year 2020, Commended. Prof Orla Muldoon

Nevitt Sanford Award for Outstanding Professional Contributions to Political Psychology 2020, International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) Prof Orla Muldoon

Fulbright International Scholarship to Prof Orla Muldoon 2020

STAR Early Career Award, Society for Stress and Anxiety Research, 2018, Dr Siobhán Howard

STAR Student Development Award, Society for Stress and Anxiety Research, 2019, Dr Grace McMahon (awarded as a PhD student, supervisors: Prof Gallagher & Dr Creaven)

STAR Student Development Award, Society for Stress and Anxiety Research, 2021, Tracey Keogh (supervisors: Prof Gallagher & Dr Howard)

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Seal of Excellence Certificate (European Commission), 2020, Dr Siobhán Griffin

Evidence Synthesis Fellowship:  Dr. Daragh Bradshaw 2020

Health Research Board, fellowship for  Systematic Review Training, Dr Elaine Kinsella, 2014.