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Posted: 10 May 2007

New research aims to improve how we understand ourselves

A new research initiative at the UCD Geary Institute which focuses on Health & Health Behaviour, Higher Education, Financial Decision Making and Ageing Research was launched in Dublin on Wednesday 9th May 2007.

“The new Centre for Behaviour and Health will establish itself as a global centre of excellence which will shape policy debates and examine how people make life influencing decisions, including decisions around behaviour that may cause them harm,” says Professor Colm Harmon, Director of the UCD Geary Institute, one of the key leaders of the research alongside Professor Patrick Wall from the UCD School of Public Health and Population Science. “With Ireland as its focus, the groundbreaking research taking place at the Centre is directly relevant to Irish society and the policy community.”

Prof Colm Harman (front) and Prof Patrick Wall
Prof Colm Harman (front) and Prof Patrick Wall

Current research projects taking place at the Centre include:

  • Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)
  • UCD Health Risk Behaviour Study
  • Eurostudent & Irish Universities Study
  • UCD Study of Food Risk Perception
  • UCD Day Reconstruction Study
  • Perceptions of Mental Health among Young Irish Men
  • UCD Study of Apprentices

“To understand and resolve the problems we face in society in the 21st century, we must break down the barriers created by disciplinary and professional norms, and apply all relevant expertise in a unified way,” says Professor Patrick Wall, UCD School of Public Health and Population Science. “This is my firm belief, having working for several years as a medical doctor, regulator and as an academic researcher.”

The Centre’s work agenda blends the skills of economics, psychology, social statistics and public health. According to Professor Harmon, the research will go beyond simple descriptions of problems, such as obesity, and instead will focus on the causes of these problems. “This blends quantitative skills with qualitative approaches, to help create innovative solutions to social problems.”

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