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Dr. Ciaran Mac Donncha


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 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. 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 approx. €1.6m in research funding; produced in excess of 60 research outputs; supervised 8 PhDs and 6 MSc students to completion; currently supervising 5 PhD students, Joint WP leader and Chair of DEDIPAC Data Pooling taskforce (2013-2016) - EU Joint Programme Initiative (JPI) Determinants of Diet, Physical Activity Knowledge HUB (DEDIPAC); member and made a significant contribution to the national committee on physical activity guidelines and national physical activity strategic policy (2008-2012); currently work package leader EMPATIA Erasmus+ project (2018-2020) and expert contributor EU JPI Policy Evaluation Network. Has engaged in significant research grant and journal peer review activities.

Research Interests

Determinants/Correlates of Physical Activity and related Health; Physical Activity and Health Promotion, Physical Education and Public Health

Teaching Interests

Teaching & assessment on Physical Education and Sport and Exercise Sciences degree programmes. Teaching modules are: Pedagogy, Exercise & Children's Health, Exercise & Health Psychology, Human Performance Evaluation, Research Methods.

Professional Activities


  • 2008 National Physical Activity Steering Committee,
  • 2001 Physical Education Association of Ireland,


  • 2003 University of Limerick - Lecturer


  • 1998 University of Limerick - Ph.D.
  • 1992 University of Bristol - M.Sc.
  • 1991 University of Limerick - B.A.


Conference Contribution

Conference Publication


Puggina, A,Aleksovska, K,Carlin, A,Condello, G,Cortis, C,Jaeschke, L,Kennedy, A,MacDonncha, C,Capranica, L,Boccia, S,DEDIPAC Consortium


European Public Health Association (EUPHA)
Boccia, S,Puggina, A,Aleksovska, K,Carlin, A,Condello, G,Cortis, C,Jaeschke, L,Kennedy, A,MacDonncha, C,Capranica, L,DEDIPAC Consortium


European Conference of Developmental Psychology
Connell, A; Smyth, PJ; MacDonncha C


American College of Sports Medicine
O'Neill, CM; MacDonncha, C


European College of Sport Science
Murphy, A; Smyth, PJ; Mac Donncha, C


American College of Sports Medicine
O' Gorman, D; Hunter, A; Mac Donncha, C; Kirwan, JP

Other Journal


Implementing a whole school approach to physical activity - preliminary findings in three pilot schools in the mid-west.
Sohun, R; MacDonncha, C
National Institute of Health Sciences Research Bulletin


Primary Care Exercise Referral - Interim Findings.
Reddan, S; Sohun, R; MacDonncha, C
National Institute of Health Sciences Research Bulletin


The effect of a physical activity education programme in the hospital workplace setting.
Sohun, R; MacDonncha, C; Breen, C; Neeson, B
National Institute of Health Sciences Research Bulletin

Other Publication


Physical education: benefits to society
MacDonncha, C


Peer Reviewed Journal


Identifying and sharing data for secondary data analysis of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and their determinants across the life course in Europe: general principles and an example from DEDIPAC
Lakerveld, J,Loyen, A,Ling, FCM,De Craemer, M,van der Ploeg, HP,O'Gorman, DJ,Carlin, A,Caprinica, L,Kalter, J,Oppert, JM,Chastin, S,Cardon, G,Brug, J,MacDonncha, C
BMJ open DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017489


Using concept mapping in the development of the EU-PAD framework (EUropean-Physical Activity Determinants across the life course): a DEDIPAC-study
Condello, G,Ling, FCM,Bianco, A,Chastin, S,Cardon, G,Ciarapica, D,Conte, D,Cortis, C,De Craemer, M,Di Blasio, A,Gjaka, M,Hansen, S,Holdsworth, M,Iacoviello, L,Izzicupo, P,Jaeschke, L,Leone, L,Manoni, L,Menescardi, C,Migliaccio, S,Nazare, JA,Perchoux, C,Pesce, C,Pierik, F,Pischon, T,Polito, A,Puggina, A,Sannella, A,Schlicht, W,Schulz, H,Simon, C,Steinbrecher, A,MacDonncha, C,Capranica, L,DEDIPAC Consortium
Bmc Public Health DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3800-8


Reliability and validity of a new physical activity self-report measure for Younger Children
Belton, S; Mac Donncha, C.
Measurement In Physical Education And Exercise Science DOI: 10.1080/10913670903454994


Lower back pain in physically demanding college academic programs: a questionnaire based study
Brennan, G; Shafat, A; Mac Donncha, C; Vekins, C
Bmc Musculoskeletal Disorders DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-8-67


A reliable technique for the assessment of posture: assessment criteria for aspects of posture
Watson, AWS; Mac Donncha, C
Journal Of Sports Medicine And Physical Fitness


Validity of field tests for evaluating endurance capacity in competitive and international-level sports participants
O'Gorman, D; Hunter, A; McDonnacha, C; Kirwan, JP
Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research


Reliability of Eurofit physical fitness items for adolescent males with and without mental retardation
MacDonncha, C; Watson, AWS; McSweeney, T; O'Donovan, DJ
Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

Published Report


The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland
The National Physical Activity Steering Group


Socialisation of people with a disability by motivating them for adapted physical activity
European Commission, Socrates Project - No 71189-CP-2-2000-1-LT-Minerva-ODL


Physical Activity Participation programme for people with Disability
Socrates Project - No 71189-CP-2-2000-1-LT-Minerva-ODL