Project Title Crisis Coping for Marginalised Youth: Living and Learning through COVID-19
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Professor Pat Dolan, Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc (Joint PI), Dr Cormac Forkan, Dr Elaine Keane, Dr Niamh Flynn, Dr Cliona Murray, Dr Paul Flynn

Project Summary

This study explores the impact of home schooling on young people in the context of emerging evidence that the most marginalised are becoming increasingly educationally disengaged and disenfranchised. As an active response to these issues, this innovative project - a multi-phase, sequential, mixed-methods research design consisting of five interconnected phases, organised into eleven work packages (WPs) - will provide youth advocacy based, co-created, targeted support for the young people and families concerned andcreates timely evidence-based outcomes to change policy and practice for this range of stakeholders.

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Project Title Youth Social Innovation Lab (YSIL)
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Dr Bernadine Brady, Prof Pat Dolan (Joint PI’s), Dr Charlotte Silke, Ms Rebecca Jackson

Project Summary

The Youth Social Innovation Lab (YSIL) is a partnership between Foróige and the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. The goal of the Youth Social Innovation lab is to:

  • Identify and research social issues facing youth in Ireland, particularly those who are disadvantaged
  • Develop, implement and evaluate innovative social responses, including non-formal educational programmes for young people in Ireland.

Activities include research, service design, evaluation, dissemination.

Full project descriptions are available here.

Funded By

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Project Title Activating Social Empathy (ASE) in Schools Evaluation
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Prof. Pat Dolan, Dr Charlotte Silke, Dr Niamh Flynn, Ms Emer Davitt, Dr Aileen Shaw

Project Summary

Activating Social Empathy (ASE) is a programme developed by researchers at the UCFRC Centre in association with the NUI, Galway School of Education. ASE is designed as a resource for teachers working with secondary school students. This programme aims to address empathy as a foundational social skill with important implications for how people behave towards one another and how they respond to societal challenges at a local and global level. It follows the framework for Social and Emotional Learning provided by the Collaborative for (CASEL), a global leader in SEL practice, outlining 5 core competencies that can be taught across a range of settings including Self-awareness; Self-management; Social awareness; Relationship skills and Responsible decision-making. Such initiatives often incorporate skills and competencies for conflict resolution, common humanity and global awareness.


The ASE programme was initially rolled out in 2020 at schools across Ireland, the first large scale initiative to introduce empathy education designed to enable students to develop skills in understanding and practising empathy. A Randomised Control Study is underway by researchers at the UCFRC to assess the impact of the programme and inform further development and enhancement. Due to the challenges schools are currently experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme has been adopted also into an-online format also. Interest in the programme is high with a number of international schools expressing interest. Following the findings of the RCT, the programme will be revised and developed for adoption across cultural contexts.

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Project Title

School Culture: Empathy Research and Diagnostic

Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Prof. Pat Dolan, Dr Charlotte Silke, Dr Aileen Shaw, Dr Bernadine Brady

Project Summary

This project builds on findings from earlier research undertaken by the UCFRC team that indicates a whole-school approach to the promotion of empathy and social values is warranted. Increasingly, evidence suggests that in efforts to bring about systemic change, a whole school or holistic approach that permeates and is sustained by the entire school community is being endorsed. Across a range of stakeholders, this includes school ethos and policies, educational curriculum, support services, staff development, student-staff relationships and community engagement. However, further research and guidance on the specific nature and components of a whole-school approach to empathy are required. Based on a systematic review of the literature, this project proposes to explore the development of a Diagnostic Tool to support assessing and promotion empathy in schools. Pending funding availability, this self-assessment tool will be developed and piloted by researchers and is intended for use within secondary schools to self-evaluate levels of empathy. As a proposed instrument for use in a global context the development and design will incorporate a range of cultural factors.

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Project Title Planet Youth – Research and Data analysis support
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Dr Charlotte Silke, Dr Bernadine Brady

Project Summary

Planet Youth is an international evidence-based primary prevention model, developed by the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA) at Reykjavik University. Initially developed to reduce substance use rates amongst young people, the model uses a whole population approach to target the risk and protective factors that determine youth substance use behaviours and enhance their social environment. In Ireland, Planet Youth pilot sites are operating in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. These five-year pilot programmes have been initiated and developed by the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force with the support of partner agencies in the region. The model is underpinned by data derived from the administration of a comprehensive questionnaire to all 15-16 year olds in the region every two years. The data from the survey enables communities to develop data-driven interventions designed to address selected risk and protective factors. The UNESCO Chair programme is a member of the steering group of Planet Youth Galway and provides research and data analysis support to the Planet Youth programme.  

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Project Title Seas Suas 
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Dr Charlotte Silke, Dr Bernadine Brady

Project Summary

Seas Suas is a social empathy programme for third level students, developed by the Student Chaplaincy at NUI, Galway. The programme aims to encourage students to be more proactive in helping others and to be more observant of other students in need. The programme also aims to increase students’ knowledge of student issues, as well as improve their interpersonal-helping skills. Seas Suas is based on the “Bystander Peer Education” framework and modelled on the ‘Step Up’ programme, which was originally developed by the University of Arizona. Researchers at the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre are working with Seas Suas to evaluate and further develop the programme. A mixed-methods research design has been used to quantitatively and qualitatively explore the impact that participation in the Seas Suas programme has on students’ social, emotional, and cognitive outcomes over time.

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Project Title Evaluation Framework for Community Development Group Activities of the Galway City Partnership (GCP)
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Professor John Canavan (Principal Investigator)

Project Summary

Facilitation Process towards Community Development Monitoring and Review Methodology for Galway City Partnership. The aim of the process is to develop a practice methodology that:

  1. Supports ongoing reflection by Community Development Workers (CDWs) on their group support and development activities towards its improvement.
  2. Aids supervision of CDWs in relation to their group support and development activities.
  3. Offers a framework for the generation and collation of data on the quality and value of their group support and development activities to be used for organisation-wide reflection, review and planning.
  4. Supports the provision of data to funders for advocacy and accountability purposes.

 

 
 
 
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Project Title Bridging Worlds – New Learning Spaces for New Times  
Commencement Date

2020

Research Team

Dr Bernadine Brady, Dr Cornelia Connolly & Professor Pat Dolan 

Project Summary

Covid 19 related school closures have exacerbated educational inequality and inequity. With an imperative to establish a strong and sustainable interface for learning, this project will enable a reconceptualization of the intersection between formal and non-formal education settings. The project aims to bridge the gap between learning in formal learning and non-formal contexts. The project has been conceptualised as a wrap-around model – where we support children, teachers, school leaders and youth workers - with a shared focus on the quality of all children’s learning with proactive targeted provision for marginalised groups. While the focus is on all learners the project has a core objective of enhancing and reimagining the educational infrastructure around learning spaces for marginalised and disadvantaged learners who typically struggle.

The project is a partnership between a range of organisations, including the School of Education (NUIG), Foróige and the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre.

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Project Title

Family Support Provision within Foróige 

Commencement Date 2020
Research Team

Dr Carmel Devaney (Principal Investigator) & Dr Carmen Kealy

Project Summary

This research carried out on on Foróige’s Family Support projects undertaken by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) at NUI, Galway. The overall aim of this research is:

  • to describe the Family Support programme and its operational context;

  • to consider the strengths and challenges of delivering Family Support as part of a Youth Work service; and

  • to generate learning for Foróige for future implementation and delivery of its Family Support Service.

  •  Funded By

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Project Title A review of international experiences in relation to the implementation of a statutory duty for interagency collaboration to ensure the protection and welfare of children
Commencement Date 2020
Research Team

Dr Carmel Devaney (Principal Investigator), Dr Carmen Kealy 

Project Summary

This project involves a review of international experiences in relation to the implementation and operation of a statutory duty for interagency co-ordination and collaboration to support the protection and welfare of children. In doing this, it will identify key lessons from experiences in other jurisdictions considering context and drivers for reform, processes for implementation, changes in policy, and operational structures and models. It will also review and consider monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, resource requirements and the facilitators and barriers to effective implementation. The experience and impact of a statutory duty for interagency co-ordination and collaboration on all stakeholders involved, including service users and where possible children will be taken into account.  

 

 

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Project Title A Review of Tusla’s Parenting Strategy
Commencement Date 2020
Research Team

Dr Carmel Devaney (Principal Investigator), Dr Rosemary Crosse

Project Summary

This proposed research has been drafted at the request of Tusla, Ireland’s dedicated State Child and Family Agency to support their work towards reviewing the current Parenting Support Strategy and devising a new five-year strategy. The proposal adds to previous work undertaken by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) on Tusla’s Prevention Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) Programme (Crosse and Devaney, 2018), the aim of which was to strengthen and develop Tusla’s prevention, early intervention and family support services. Tusla’s commitment to support the embedding of all government-led prevention and early intervention initiatives is evident in the agency’s Corporate Plan (2018-2020). 

 

 

Funded By

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Project Title Youth and Parental Participation in the YAP Ireland Programme: A Case Study 
Commencement Date 2020
Research Team Dr Bernadine Brady & Dr Carmel Devaney (Co-Principal Investigators)
Project Summary The aim of this study is to document, explore and conceptualise YAP Ireland’s participation processes in order to enhance understanding of how YAP and other child welfare organisations can best support participation practice. 
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Project Title

Evaluation of the Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) Education Fund

Commencement Date

2017

Research Team

Dr. Cormac Forkan, Prof. Pat Dolan, Dr. Tanja Kovačič

Project Summary

This project focuses on the evaluation of education fund funded by the Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI).  Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) was established by Government in 2015 to fill a gap in funding innovation for the non-profit sector. SIFI’s Education Fund was opened to projects focused on improving educational outcomes (at QQI Levels 3-6 from the National Framework of Qualifications) for those experiencing educational disadvantage arising from living in a disadvantaged area, socio-economic disadvantage, experiencing mental health or other health issues, or disability. Following a rigorous selection process 10 projects were chosen as recipients of the Award: eight of the projects are based in Dublin while the remaining two are based in Cork. The core focus of this work is to identify successful models for scale/replication.

The overarching aim of the evaluation is “to investigate the extent to which practices and process utilised by awardees can serve as models of excellence in overcoming inequality in education”. To address this aim, SIFI set out the following set of objectives, which are designed:

1. To provide awardees with the data necessary for the appraisal of their organisation or programme;

2. To trace the benefit of awardee projects on their students and their progression towards QQI levels 3-6 and/or in relation to other project objectives in overcoming educational disadvantage;

3. To identify successful models for scale/ replication;

4. To suggest policy changes that might be desirable to overcome educational disadvantages.

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Project Title

Social Innovation Fund Ireland Youth Funds Evaluation

Commencement Date

2019

Research Team

Dr Cormac Forkan, Prof. Pat Dolan, Dr. Caroline Heary, Dr Tanja Kovacic, Dr Leonor Rodriguez

Project Summary

The Youth Funds consist of two interrelated funded streams, the Youth Education and Youth Mental Health Funds. The overall aim of these funds is to improve access to provide meaningful, lasting support to innovate mental health programmes and initiatives that reach out to young people before and during the societal, academic, physical, and emotional pressures of early adolescence and early adulthood.

Aims of Youth Education Fund

  • Improve the retention of youth learners up to age 25 who are affected by disadvantage or disability at level 1 to 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) or equivalent accredited programmes/courses,

  • Demonstrate movement of learners along the NFQ ladder or equivalent.

Aims of Youth Mental Health

  • Provide meaningful, lasting support to innovative mental health programmes and initiatives that reach out to children and young people before and during the societal, academic, physical, and emotional pressures of early adolescence, adolescence and early adulthood. SIFI has supported nine projects are recipients of the Youth Mental Health Fund around the country. These programmes provide a combination of counselling, music therapy, empathy, listening support services, emotional support, academic support, programmes and workshops to improve youth mental health.

This evaluation is focused on the Youth Mental Health Funds. This is a multi-method longitudinal, developmental evaluation which aims to investigate the extent to which practices and process utilised by awardees can serve as models of excellence in overcoming inequality in mental health. It is envisaged that this three-year research will provide the evidence base to achieve changes in policy and practice of youth mental health in Ireland and serve as a model of international excellence and best practice.

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Project Title COST Action CA18123, COST Association
Commencement Date

2019

Research Team

Dr Lucia JIMENEZ, Action Chair, Dr John CANAVAN, Action Vice Chair & Managaement Committee, Dr Carmel Devaney, Working Group Leader & Managaement Committee , Pat Dolan, Managaement Committee

Project Summary

The best interest of children is placed at the forefront of social policies, giving the governments the responsibility to provide parent and family support. The recent crisis has placed parenting at a more difficult situation, accompanied by the existence of complex family realities that need new responses which require innovative approaches. Although recognised as central to a number of political priorities, at a European level the institutions have not yet addressed family support wholistically.

The Action proposes the creation of a Pan-European family support network, under which family support and parenting policies are included, combining both common goals across countries and the recognition of the specificities of cultural and families’ contexts.

This Action will build collaborative pathways between researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, children and families, public and private agencies, and general society to create the necessary framework that allows to inform family policies and practices with the underlying goal of ensuring children’s rights and families’ well-being. EuroFam-Net will: (1) Use a pluralistic and dialogic structure to co-create responses with all involved stakeholders in the field in close collaboration with the national policies; (2) Create an evidence-based framework that improves family support services, science and technology-driven policy and practice; (3) Use a multidisciplinary approach by gathering all the relevant scientific disciplines working in this field; (4) Disseminate research and  make use of advice mechanisms to the professional and political arena to innovate in family support services; (5) Avoid the duplication of services and promote inter-sectorial coordination, increasing the efficiency of available resources.

Please see a link to the European Family Support Network - EuroFam-Net here https://eurofamnet.eu/home.

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Project Title Youth Empathy and Social Values (YES) 
Commencement Date 2017
Research Team Dr Bernadine Brady, Professor Pat Dolan, Dr Charlotte Silke, Dr Ciara Boylan.
Project Summary

The Child & Family Research Centre’s work on youth social empathy includes a large research study, curriculum development and the mainstreaming of social empathy education in schools and teacher education. The Youth Empathy & Social Values (YES) project is closely linked to other core research areas of UNESCO Chair, in particular Youth as Researchers , Youth & Civic Engagement and Prevention of Youth Radicalisation. Supported by the Centre’s patron Cillian Murphy, the YES project aims to inform the development of policy interventions in the area of education and child and youth development.

See here for further information on the project.

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Project Title Impact Orientation of Principal Investigators of Medical Device Publicly Funded Research Projects 
Commencement Date

2016

Research Team

Prof Caroline McGregor, Prof James Cunningham, Brendan Dolan

Project Summary

This study investigates the impact orientation of principal investigators (PIs) undertaking publicly funded research that relates to the medical device sector. While there is a growing body of empirical research on PIs, little is known about how PIs understand and conceptualise research impact, beyond the oft-discussed scientific and economic outputs and outcomes traditionally associated with academically focused research projects. However, as a key actor in the translation of research, the PI plays a vital role in bridging the translation gap, sometimes referred to as the outcome-impact gap, in enhancing the potential broader impact of publicly funded research on society.  This is of particular importance at present in the medical device sector given the significance of clinical and translational research in ultimately positively impacting on patient care and the quality of life of patients. To better understand the impact orientation of PIs involved in medical device research, from basic to applied scientific fields, the study’s multidisciplinary research team is investigating the antecedent, organisational, project and individual level factors that influence and enhance the principal investigator’s impact orientation. The study is using an innovative ecological approach from social sciences to conceptualise and map research impact and the micro- to macro-level stakeholders involved throughout the medical device translation process.

Publications

Cunningham, J.A., Dolan, B. and McGregor, C. (2020) Preparing scientists for the principal investigator role and impact in the medical device sector [White paper]. Galway: CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, National University of Ireland Galway.

White Paper

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