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University of Limerick

The UL Research Impact Podcast Channel features interviews and seminars exploring research that makes an impact beyond academia.

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Episode 39: “Nothing about us, Without us” President’s Research Excellence and Impact Award 2022 Winners

How do social and cultural changes occur, and how can policy be influenced to encourage these changes, particularly in terms of aiding people who are marginalized and stigmatized in our society? The award-winning research team from the University of Limerick's Centre for Social Issues Research is collaborating with government and advocacy groups to help those who are directly affected by disability, those who care for those who are disabled, child carers, and those who are affected by domestic violence The centre has a long history of working together to address the issues that underprivileged members of our community face. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre for Social Issues Research recommended governments in Ireland and the United Kingdom on how to effectively help COVID-19 front-line workers, carers, and those with underlying health concerns, as well as how to encourage people to follow public health recommendations. Prof Orla Muldoon, Prof Mike Quayle, Dr Sarah Jay, Dr Stephen Gallagher and Dr Siobhan Howard join our host Prof Helena Lenihan to discuss their award-winning collaborations.


10 Feb 2022

Rank #1

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Back pain: Treating the human - not the scan

The personal, societal and economic costs of low back pain are enormous, and the likelihood of being disabled by back pain has worsened in recent decades. Prof Helena Lenihan, Chair of the UL Research Impact Committee is joined by Dr Kieran O’Sullivan, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy, School of Allied Health and winner of the President’s Research Excellence and Impact Early Career Award. Dr O’Sullivan’s research has shed new light on why back pain is such an ongoing challenge and the tendency for back pain to be treated as an almost entirely ‘physical’ issue – where we rely too much on tests such as MRI scans, at the expense of treating the whole human. His research has led to the development and testing of novel solutions for the treatment of back pain.


8 Jun 2021

Rank #2

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Tackling multi-drug resistant infections through research collaboration

A 10 year partnership between UL and HSE has benefited patients dealing with multidrug-resistant infections, patients with cystic fibrosis and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Winner of the 2020 Outstanding Research Collaboration, President’s Research Excellence and Impact Award, the collaboration involves microbiologists, designers, engineers, nurses, physiotherapists, paediatricians, respiratory specialists. Understanding infectious disease outbreaks and the microbial causes of infection leads to new prevention and control interventions, education programmes and innovations in medical device and testing technologies. Prof Colum Dunne, School of Medicine, Prof Barry Linnane, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician, UHL, Prof Nuala O’Connell, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, UHL, Barbara Slevin, Assistant Director of Nursing, Infection Prevention & Control, ULHG, Kevin O’Sullivan, Rapid Innovation Unit and Prof Colum Dunne, School of Medicine UL join our host Prof of Economics, Helena Lenihan to discuss their award-winning collaboration. Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


10 Dec 2020

Rank #3

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Zero Hours and Low Hours Work in Ireland

Zero hours work is work with no guaranteed hours. Researchers at the Kemmy Business School, have been examining the prevalence and impact of zero hours work and low hours work amongst Irish employees. Dr Lorraine Ryan, lecturer in Employment Relations & Human Resource Management in the Department of Work & Employment Studies at the KBS discusses the prevalence of these work contracts, their effect on employees and their social impact. She outlines how she and her colleagues carried out the first study in Ireland into zero hours contracts and how their findings influenced the shaping of the 2018 Protection of Employment Act.


27 Nov 2020

Rank #4

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Technology in Education: Why content is key

Dr Ann Marcus-Quinn, a lecturer in Technical Communication and Instructional Design at the University of Limerick asks whether the move from book to tablet is the right one for the education system. She discusses how digital teaching and learning resources can be used, developed and shared in order to enhance teaching and learning in Irish education. She also talks about her involvement in a review of a secondary school’s digital policy and how this resulted in its decision to reintroduce books citing concerns over students screen time and recommending a blended approach to learning.


7 May 2020

Rank #5

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Engineering Physical Activity in Breast Cancer

Dr Michelle Norris shares how her project, ‘BREASTech’, is working to better understand how software and technology can impact the physical activity levels of breast cancer patients and survivors. She also discusses how her training as an ALECS Marie Curie COFUND fellow is helping her to share the impact of her research with a wider audience.This work was supported, in part, by Science Foundation Ireland grant 13/RC/2094 and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund through the Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programme to Lero - the Irish Software Research Centre (www.lero.ie) and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754489.


18 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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Importance and challenges of getting the right wheelchair

Dermot Hayes, disability community activist from Ennis in conversation with Dr Rosie Gowran, School of Allied Health, UL and Leigh Gath, disability rights campaigner on the importance and challenges of getting the right wheelchair nationally and globally and the difficulties that wheelchair users face when proper supports are not available.


3 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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Personalised medicine and the pharmacy of the future

Oisín Kavanagh is a pharmacist and PhD researcher with the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), the SFI Pharmaceutical Research Centre, at the University of Limerick. He discusses how advances in the distribution and production of medicines might shape the pharmacy of the future and how these could help to alleviate the financial burden on the State while in turn easing the burden on patients, making drug delivery easier and more effective. He explores how 3D printing of personalised medicines in pharmacies may bring benefits but also raises the regulatory concerns that may ensue within an industry that is highly monitored and regulated.


19 Jul 2019

Rank #8

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Research Soapbox

The Research Soapbox event highlighted how research can make a real difference. The lunchtime showcase event took place in the Fab Lab in Limerick’s city centre and involved researchers from PhD to Professor with voices from the University of Limerick Thesis in 3 Competition as well as the Research Impact Podcast Series. The event was moderated by Prof Helena Lenihan, Chair of the UL Research Impact Committee. The range of topics varied from match fixing in sport to designer medicines and from folding turbine blades to the rights of wheelchair users and a lot more besides.


18 Jul 2019

Rank #9

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Using psychology and the power of collective identities to combat adversity

Psychology has traditionally focused on biological, genetic or personality factors to explain why some people cope better or worse than others in adverse situations. However such a focus can lead to a therapeutic dead end as it is very difficult to change a person’s temperament or genetic predispositions. In the first of a series of guest host podcasts, Psychology Masters student Ilyana Keohane introduces Prof Orla Muldoon as she discusses the research carried out at the Centre for Social Issues Research at UL where they address this problem by conducting highly regarded research on the benefits and burdens of so-called ‘collective identities’, such as nationality, socio-economic groups, and ethnicity.


8 Jul 2019

Rank #10