Irish Critical Care-Clinical Trials Network case study wins UCD Research Impact Competition

The 2021 impact case study contest included entries describing research from areas across Humanities, Social Sciences and STEM

Today, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact Professor Orla Feely announced the winner and runners-up of the 2021 UCD Research Impact Case Study Competition. The annual competition encourages researchers of all disciplines to write a case study that tells the story of how their work has made a positive difference.

This year’s winner, ‘Improving outcomes of critically ill patients with COVID-19,’ describes the research and impact of the Irish Critical Care-Clinical Trials Network, led by Professor Alistair Nichol, Chair of Critical Care Medicine in UCD School of Medicine.

The Irish Critical Care-Clinical Trials Network at UCD has carried out significant clinical research in preparation for, and in response to, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through collaborative networks of hospitals across 63 countries, this research has had a profound impact on patients with COVID-19, their families, and wider society. The Network’s outputs have saved thousands of lives and ICU bed days by identifying treatments that improve patient survival and recovery (as well as identifying treatments that are ineffective or even harmful), and by informing HSE and WHO treatment guidelines for the clinical management of severe COVID-19 infection.

Professor Feely commented: “I am always impressed with the quality of the applications we receive and this year was no exception. As chair of the judging panel, it is a great pleasure to learn more about the many ways UCD’s researchers strive to make the world a better place. 

“Among this year’s finalists we have researchers helping to tackle the ongoing pandemic, protect the environment, enrich people’s lives, influence policy, simulate sustainable economic growth, improve health and wellbeing, and inspire the next generation.

“I would like to congratulate all of our finalists. Their commitment to ensuring people benefit from their research is admirable and I am delighted to be able to recognise it through these awards.”

The 2021 UCD Research Impact Case Study Competition winner and runners-up were:



Irish Critical Care-Clinical Trials Network (led by Professor Alistair Nichol)
Improving outcomes of critically ill patients with COVID-19



Coastal Communities Adapting Together (led by Dr Chiara Cocco)
Supporting climate action through tree planting

Dr Keith Gaynor
Helping people cope during COVID-19

Professor Judith Harford, Assistant Professor Rachel Farrell, Assistant Professor Aoibhínn Ní Shúilleabháin
Girls in STEM: changing attitudes and increasing diversity

Dr Claas Kirchhelle
Typhoidland: using the past to inform the present and future of typhoid control

Professor Patricia Maguire
AI_PREMie: saving lives of mothers and babies using AI

Dr Denise O’Brien, Sinead Thompson, Lorraine Carroll, Dr Barbara Coughlan
The Labour Hopscotch Framework: improving outcomes for mother and baby

Dr Shane O’Donnell
#WeAreNotWaiting: tackling diabetes through patient-led research and open-source innovation

Associate Professor Helen Sheridan, Professor Tommy Boland, Professor Olaf Schmidt, Associate Professor Bridget Lynch, Assistant Professor Paul Murphy
SmartGrass: improving the sustainability of livestock farming

Professor Eleni Theodoraki
Promoting policies for sustainable mega-sport events

Associate Professor Liam Thornton
Ending direct provision


Professor Feely said: “I encourage all researchers to consider entering this year’s competition when it launches in the spring. To help you reflect on your impact and write a compelling entry we invite you to explore the UCD Impact Toolkit.”