Associate Professor wins UCD 2020 Research Impact Case Study Competition

University College Dublin: Associate Professor Catherine Cox has been named winner of the UCD 2020 Research Impact Case Study Competition. Her case study, entitled 'Out of sight, out of mind: changing public perceptions of the mental health crisis in Irish prisons,' details the significant impact of her project exploring the history of prisoner health.

The five-year project is funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award and led by co-Principal Investigators Associate Professor Cox and Professor Hilary Marland from University of Warwick. The research identified long-standing neglect of people with mental illness in Irish prisons.

Working with partners in the arts sector, she co-devised a series of events that communicated these challenging histories, changing perceptions of prisoners' right to psychiatric services and contributing to the wellbeing of prisoners and ex-offenders.

Associate Professor Cox is director of UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, a senior member of faculty at UCD School of History and leads theHealth Medicine and Wellbeingresearch theme in UCD College of Arts and Humanities.

She said:

Leading and working on the Wellcome Trust Award 'Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000' was hugely rewarding. The team at UCD School of History collaborated with brilliant artists, dedicated advocates and imprisoned people to communicate with large audiences about an important but neglected issue, mental health in the criminal justice system.

In doing so, we co-created artistic works and exhibitions that were marked by excellence and innovation. Importantly for me, a historian, we put the history of these issues in conversation with our present. I am delighted the achievements that emerged from these collaborations have been recognised by a UCD Research Impact Case Study Award."

The annual UCD Research Impact Case Study Competition encourages researchers, of all disciplines, to write a case study that tells the story of how their work has made a positive difference.

Despite the challenges of the year, UCD Research received more entries than ever before in 2020. Commenting on the results, Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact Professor Orla Feely said: "The volume of entries we received last year is a testament to the high-impact work going on across the university and to our researchers' dedication to making meaningful contributions to the world. Research at UCD continues to improve health and wellbeing, protect the environment, influence policy, stimulate economic growth, enrich people's lives, and inspire the next generation."

There were nine runners-up in the 2020 UCD Impact Case Study Competiton:

  • Diabetes Complications Research Centre (UCD DCRC)

Addressing the stigma faced by people living with obesity

  • Associate Professor Ainhoa González

Planning for sustainability through Environmental Sensitivity Mapping

  • Assistant Professor Jennifer Keenahan

Protecting the built environment from the effects of wind

  • Associate Professor Marie Keenan

Reimagining justice and healing after sexual violence

  • Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe

Right technology, right time: how the PEARs app is improving pregnancy outcomes

  • Professor Cal Muckley, Dr Gaurav Kumar, Linh Pham and Darragh Ryan

Protecting older adults against financial exploitation

  • Dr Kevin Nolan

Reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in hospitals

  • Associate Professor Francesco Pilla

iSCAPE: improving the smart control of air pollution in Europe

  • Dr Heidi Riley

Promoting women in peace mediation across the island of Ireland

Professor Feely added: "I would like to personally congratulate our finalists and to thank them, not only for their hard work on these case studies, but for their commitment to ensuring people benefit from their research.

" I encourage all researchers to consider entering this year's competition when it launches this spring."

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