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Emilie Pine wins UCD Research 2019 Impact Competition

Monday, 02 December, 2019 

University College Dublin: Associate Professor Emilie Pine from UCD School of English, Drama and Film was today announced winner of the 2019 Research Impact Case Study Competition.

Her case study, ‘Communicating the legacy of child abuse and helping victims heal’, showcased research combining humanities-led inquiry and digital technologies to produce new knowledge of the scale and complexity of institutional abuse.

Dr Pine’s team conducted a systematic analysis of how abuse operated and, through media and educational strategies, have extended this knowledge into a deeper societal understanding of the issue. Her work has also helped victims heal, especially through Survivor’s Stories, a project strand that preserves the memories of victims of abuse, housed in the National Folklore Collection.

In 2018, Dr Pine was appointed as an advisor to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on how to use the arts to respond to Ireland’s dark history.

Speaking at the awards, she said: “I’m delighted with this recognition of the collaborative work of colleagues across the university and survivors of institutional abuse. This really shows the academic and real-world value of Humanities research.”

Awarded second prize were Professor Barbara Dooley, Dr Cliodhna O’Connor and Associate Professor Amanda Fitzgerald from UCD School of Psychology, for their case study ‘My World Survey: improving youth mental health in Ireland.’

‘My World Survey’ is the largest national survey on youth mental health. The report was launched by the Minister for Mental Health, Disability and Older People in 2012, and was extensively covered across the media. Its findings have contributed to national policy debate and have informed the development of community-based services.

Presenting the awards, UCD Vice President of Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Orla Feely said: “Impact is not only central to my role, but it is at the heart of the university’s mission. Through research, we can make meaningful contributions to the world. We can help improve health and wellbeing, protect the environment, address the climate crisis, influence policy, stimulate economic growth, enrich people’s lives, and inspire the next generation. We can help steer Ireland and the world towards a sustainable, inclusive, prosperous future.

“I would like to personally congratulate our finalists on this fantastic achievement, and thank them, not only for their hard work on these case studies, but for their commitment to ensuring people benefit from their research.”

The remaining runners-up were:

Professor Gavin Barrett, UCD Sutherland School of Law

Democracy in the European Union – getting it right

Professor Barrett’s research has focused on democracy in the European Union – especially the role of parliaments and the operation of referendums. His research directly led to a change in law that improves EU citizens’ voting rights in Ireland. It also informed the Government’s approach to the Lisbon Treaty, potentially affecting millions.


Professor David BraydenUCD School of Veterinary Medicine

No more needles: developing oral peptide treatments for diabetes

Professor Brayden’s team have developed a new nanoparticle that could allow diabetes patients to take insulin orally, rather than with an injection. This led to an award-winning international documentary film, a patent application, and publication in a top-tier journal. The discovery could lead to profound benefits for patients.


Dr Desmond EarleyUCD School of Music

Promoting Ireland’s rich cultural heritage with contemporary choral music

The research, composition and performance of Irish choral music by Dr Earley and the Choral Scholars of UCD has created significant worldwide engagement with the poetry and music of Ireland. The ensemble’s recordings have performed exceptionally well, with sales in over 80 countries and more than 16 million views on social media.


EIRSAT-1 Team, UCD School of Physics; UCD School of Mechanical & Materials EngineeringUCD School of Mathematics & StatisticsUCD School of Electrical & Electronic EngineeringUCD School of Computer Science

EIRSAT-1: Ireland’s first satellite

EIRSAT-1, Ireland's first satellite, will fly three scientific instruments, all developed in UCD. It will help Ireland take a leading role in international space missions, support the growth of the Irish space industry, produce highly skilled graduates, and continue inspiring school children in STEM subjects.


Dr Kelly Fitzgerald, UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore

Housing memories: the Dublin Tenements’ Museum

The Dublin Tenement Museum tells the story of a Georgian townhouse from a family home to its incarnation as a tenement house for the city’s working poor. Research by Dr Fitzgerald and her team enriched the museum experience through narratives, audio exhibits, a theatre production, and a re-created tenement.


Dr Mirjam Heinen et alNational Nutrition Surveillance Centre at UCD

The weight of the issue: policy impact of childhood obesity surveillance in Ireland

Research on childhood obesity surveillance by the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre has helped policymakers build up a picture of the weight status of Irish children. Members have addressed Oireachtas committees, policymakers and the media, and their findings been used by the Government to define targets for overweight and obesity levels.


Dr David Kelleghan, Dr Tom Curran et al, UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering

AmmoniaN2K: addressing atmospheric ammonia pollution

The AmmoniaN2K project has developed the country’s first concentration map, and identified unlicensed hotspots, of atmospheric ammonia across the country. This is influencing national and international policy, ensuring compliance with EU Directives, and will benefit the environment and human health across Ireland and Europe.


Dr Antonia Trotta, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Protecting our brains with safer helmets

Dr Trotta and the HEADS group have advanced our understanding of head injury and how it can be prevented. Their findings have influenced European standards for helmets, ensuring future products provide better head protection. This will reduce rates of Traumatic Brain Injury and concussion around the world.