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Research Themes

 Research Themes 

All Research Projects A to Z



Theme Description

Indicative Projects

Comparative Social Policy: Local and Global

This theme highlights research methods (i.e. comparative) and geographical focus (local – national – global). The School has several members who conduct comparative research through different languages, covering diverse regions (Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa).

(opens in a new window)Democratic Governance of Funded Pension Schemes (DEEPEN) 2020–23. Funding Organisation/Programme: NORFACE. Principal Investigator: Professor Karen Anderson (Social Policy), Head of School of the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice and currently Chair-Elect of the Council for European Studies.

European Social Survey (ESS) Rounds 9, 10 & 11. 2018–24. Funding Organisation: Irish Research Council. Principal investigator: Dr Micheál Collins, Asst. Prof. (Social Policy) with colleagues at the UCD Geary Institute and UCD School of Sociology.

EURO-ASIA Comparison Of Care-Technology Innovation Policies (2019- present). Funding organization/Programme: Toyota Foundation. Principal Investigator: Dr Naonori Kodate, Assoc. Prof. (Social Policy) and director of the UCD Japanese Studies Centre.

Transforming European Work and Social Protection: A new proactive Welfare State fit for the Future World of work (TRANSEUROWORKS). Principal  Investigator: Dr Dorota Szelewa, Asst. Prof. in Social justice. Funded by European Commission, Horizon Europe research programme).

Equalities, Human Rights and Social Justice

This theme covers a wide range of research areas that seeks to advance equality, human rights and social justice through the critique and analysis of the barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability, and the effort to conceptualise and implement imaginative justice-based solutions.

The impact of Covid-19 on Tenants in the Private Rental Sector. Mar. to Aug. 2021. Michael Byrne (with research assistance from Juliana Sassi).

FULBRIGHT FELLOWSHIP (Mar. to Jun. 2022) Funding Organisation/Programme: Fulbright Scholar Programme. Awardee: Dr Marie Moran, Asst. Prof. (Equality Studies, Social Justice) , UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice and director of the UCD Equality Studies Centre.

Childrens' Needs: Now and in the Future. 2022-23. Funding organisation: Barnardos. Principal Investigator: Dr Karen Smith, Asst. Prof. in Social Justice (Equality Studies).

Transforming Justice: An All-Island Examination of Justice Responses to Historical Institutional Abuse North and South. 2023-25. Funding Organisation: Higher Education Association (HEA) under the North-South Research Programme. Leading HEI: UCD & Principal Investigator Marie Keenan (Assoc. Prof. in Social Work) with Anne-Marie Mc Alinden ( Prof. in Law, Queen's University Belfast) and James Gallan (Assoc. Prof in Law, Dublin City University).

Equal status legislation in Ireland in the provision of goods and services. Principal Investigator: Judy Walsh (Asst. Prof. in Social Justice). Funding organisations for current ongoing work:  IHREC and European Commission.

Financialisation of Welfare

Under this theme, research examines the changing face of capitalisms and welfare states and its implications for the nation-state’s role in social protection, housing, health and social care and pensions.

Hanse Wissenschaftskilleg Senior Fellowship (August 2022, June-August 2023). Funding Organisation/Programme: HWK. Principal Investigator: Dr Stephan Köppe, Asst. Prof. (Social Policy) , UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice and co-director of the MPP programme.

Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities

Research under this theme is focused on the changing construction of gender and gender relations and theories of power, identities and sexualities.

A Qualitative Study of LGBTQI+ Youth Homelessness in Ireland. Funding organisation: Focus Ireland. Co-Investigators: Dr Aideen Quilty, Assoc. Prof. (Social Justice) , UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice and Dr Michelle Norris, Full Prof. (Social Policy) and Director of UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy.

Forced sterilisation and Reproductive Justice in Peru. Funding: Ad Astra start up. Principal Investigator: Dr Ernesto Vasquez del Aguila, Asst. Prof. (Social Justice), UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

Health and Well-being over the Lifecourse

Research under this theme examines health and well-being issues across all age groups. This strand of research deals with the protection and welfare of children, issues that affect policy and practice in the health and social care sector as well as practitioners, patients and citizens.

Adults’ Experiences of Engaging with Child Protection Services to make Retrospective Disclosures of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Funding Organisation/Programme: IRC New Foundations & other sources. Principal Investigator: Dr Joseph Mooney, Asst. Prof. (Social Work), UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

Hidden Harm: Safeguarding Family Carers from Carer Harm (SAFE_FCarer) Funding Organisation & Programme: Irish Research Council/ New Foundations funding scheme. Principal Investigator: Dr Sarah Donnelly, Asst. Professor of Social Work, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

Ten Years of Dementia Service Implementation: Sustainability into the Future. 2022.Principal Investigator: Maria Pierce, Asst. Prof. in Social Policy, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of people with physical disabilities. Funding organisation: Swedish Research Council. Principle Investigator: (UCD) Dr Alan Maddock, Asst. Prof. in Social Work, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

Exploring the intersectionality of women’s problematic substance use within the Irish context (INTER-WOMSU). Funding organisation: IRC New Foundations. Principal Investigator: Dr Sarah Morton, Asst. Prof. in Social Policy.  Partner organisation: Merchant's Quay Ireland.

Migration, Racism, Conflict and Citizenship

The world has become diverse, multicultural, multi-ethnic, multireligious and multi-lingual. Under this research theme, academics in the School scrutinise challenges facing governments and civil society in finding solutions to accommodate and harness this diversity in ways which promote peace and human rights.

Perspectives of refugees on questions of participation, power and ethics in research. March 2021-June 2022. Funding Organisation/Programme: IRC, New Foundations & UCD – UoE Strategic Partnership fund. Principal investigator: Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Assoc. Prof. in Social Work.

Connections Between Participation and Protection in the UN Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Funding organization/Programme: International Peace Institute (IPI) in New York. Principal Investigator: Prof. Aisling Swaine, Professor (Gender Studies, Social Justice) with Dr Catherine Turner, Associate Professor in law. She is the deputy director of the Durham Global Security Institute, and a member of the Law and Global Justice Research Cluster in Durham.

Examining Racism, Diversity and Social Inclusion in Second Level Education in Ireland (2021 – 22). Funding Organisation/Programme: Dublin based second level school. Principal Investigator: Asst. Prof. Elaine Wilson (Social Work) with Dr Niamh Flanagan, School of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University & Tonye Benson Olatunde, Tutor at the School of Applied Social Studies, University of Maynooth.

Practice in Social Work Education

Research under this theme looks into the changing nature of professionalism in social work and highlights the importance of providing education and training for new professionals in order for them to feel equipped to deal with complexity in the real world.

Potential Social Work Students’ Perceptions of Social Work. Jan – July 2023. Funding organisation and Programme: Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) under Lot 1 of its Research Framework. Co-Investigators: Dr Joe Mooney (Asst. Prof. in Social Work) and Dr Elaine Wilson (Asst. Prof. in Social work)

Sustainable society: Economy, Environment & Social Inclusion

This research theme contributes to a sustainable global society by creating more inclusive and resilient communities in the world. This includes policies relating to energy, built environment and knowledge dissemination/education for fostering global citizens.

Energy Justice: addressing transport & residential energy deprivation (NexSys) (2022 – 25).  Funding Organisation/Programme: All Ireland Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Partnership Programme. Principal Investigator:  Assoc. Prof. Nessa Winston, Assoc. Prof. (Social Policy) with Dr. Páraic Carroll, Asst. Prof. in the UCD School of Civil Engineering (Co-Investigator).

Paz Alto Cauca: Peacebuilding in northern Cauca, Colombia; Funding Organisation/Programme: ESRC/Colciencias. Dr Krisna Ruette-Orihuela, Postdoctoral  Fellow and UCD Asst. Prof. since 2021 , UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice with Principal Investigators, Professor Katherine Gough, Loughborough University, UK and Prof. Irene Velez-Torres (PI) Universidad del Valle, Cali Colombia .

Time for a 4 day week? Assessing the economic social and environmental impacts of reduced worktime. Funding organisation if applicable; FORSA-Non-profit partners 4 Day Week Ireland and 4 Day week Global. Co investigators: Dr Orla Kelly (UCD) with Prof Juliet Schor Boston College and Dr Wen Fan, Boston College.

Contact the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

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