Our mission and expertise
The RCSI School of Physiotherapy’s mission is to improve physical function, participation, well-being and lifelong health through impactful and innovative research. We evaluate healthcare interventions and models of care for people across the lifespan especially in sporting populations and people with long-term conditions.
Our expertise covers the clinical areas of neurology and gerontology, musculoskeletal health, cardiorespiratory health, obesity and paediatrics. We focus on (re)habilitation and physical activity to restore and maintain health and wellness in clinical populations, using digital technology, non-digital and public health approaches. We achieve our mission by partnering with the public, people living with long-term conditions, sporting populations, frontline health and social care professionals and interdisciplinary centres of excellence, within RCSI, nationally and internationally.
We are located on the RCSI Dublin campus with purpose-built facilities for our postgraduate students and research staff, and a fully-equipped movement analysis laboratory. We have excellent links with clinical sites throughout Ireland and abroad.
We are a dynamic group of experienced physiotherapy academic and clinical researchers with an excellent track record in securing grant income, publishing research papers, supervising Masters and PhD students and impacting healthcare education and delivery.
Research in numbers
- 8 principal investigators
- 3 visiting professors (Professor David Baxter, University of Otago, NZ; Professor Maria Stokes, University of Southampton, UK; Professor Charlie Foster)
- 2 external lecturers (Sarah Rand, University College London and Dr Rose Galvin, University of Limerick Ireland)
- 2 Honorary Lecturers (Aine Ryan, Aoife Stephenson and Mary Walsh)
- 8 research staff
- 18 postgraduate students (including eight PhD students)
- >€2 million – current grant income
Research interests and methods expertise
- Monitoring and surveillance of injury (SCRUm study on schoolboy rugby injuries) and musculoskeletal pain (ADvAnced PhysioTherapy MusculoSKeletal triage – investigating prognostic factors, healthcare utilisation and clinical outcomes in people presenting with musculoskeletal pain in secondary care – ADAPT-MSK)
- Design and evaluation of healthcare and public health interventions for acute and chronic disease – Walking for Health in Severe Mental Illness (WORtH); StrokeCOG; W82GO; BigO; ENACt (ManagemENt of OsteoArthritis in Primary Care in Ireland); and LEAP-Ireland feasibility RCT for gluteal tendinopathy
- Evidence synthesis (systematic reviews and scoping reviews e.g. the Maintenance Of Physical AcTivity BeHaviour (MOTH) programme)
- User-centred design for the development of digital technology – Mobile Assistance for Groups and Individuals within the Community (MAGIC), mobile-health treatment for adolescent obesity)
- MAINTAIN programme exploring how to best maintain physical activity in people with long-term health conditions. You can follow the programme on Twitter here. Contacts: Suzanne McDonough, Aoife Stephenson.
- Measurement of movement (with sensors)
- The Sláintecare Childhood Obesity Education project is empowering healthcare professionals and health professional students in Ireland by providing free online and continued professional development (CPD) accredited training in childhood obesity. It also aims to establish a community of practice for those treating child and adolescent obesity and support improved communication in clinical encounters with families and minimise stigma. Contacts: Dr Grace O'Malley, Childhood Obesity Education team
- The LANDSCAPE study aims to map currently available services and practices in relation to caring for children in Ireland with obesity and their complications. Contacts: Dr Grace O'Malley, LANDSCAPE study team
- BigO involved children and teenagers as ‘citizen scientists’ in an EU-funded research project. Young people collected big data on food marketing and physical activity and eating behaviours using smartwatches and a smartphone application. The information collected by participants may inform future paediatric obesity treatment and help advise public health authorities on how to develop and plan effective programmes and policies in an attempt to reduce childhood obesity. Contact: Dr Grace O'Malley
- The Obesity Research and Care Group works closely with our clinical partners in the W82GO Child and Adolescent Obesity Service in Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street to support high-quality excellence in paediatric healthcare.
- Public and patient involvement
- Improving Pathways for Acute Stroke And Rehabilitation (iPASTAR). Contacts: Prof. David Williams, Prof. Frances Horgan, Prof. Anne Hickey, Prof. Jan Sorensen.