Current Members


The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC)

 The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre undertakes research, education and training in the area of family support and youth development. Established in 2009 the Centre promotes civic engagement for children and youth, by providing relevant expertise in research, teaching, policy and good practice and establishing national and international networks. Their ethos is grounded in three fundamental operating principles: promoting the educational value of civic engagement; highlighting the value of civic engagement as a means of enabling resilience and social support capacity among children and youth; and recognizing that social and political active citizenship can contribute to the achievement of greater social justice and participation.

Research Themes:
  • Family Support - meeting the needs and achieving the rights of children. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre is at the forefront of international theory and empirical work on Family Support. For us, Family Support is underpinned by four common-sense, yet theoretically robust concepts: Social Support, Resilience, Social Ecology and Reflective Practice
  • Youth Development - UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre has a particular focus on research, evaluation and programme development activities in the area of Youth Development. Such interventions aim to enable young people to thrive and engage fully with their own development as well as that of their communities.
  • Supporting Innovation in Policy, Services and Practice – The changing nature of the lives of children and families demands policies, services and practices that are dynamic and flexible. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre has established strong credibility in supporting policy makers, service managers and practitioners to develop and implement new ideas in their work.

Contact details:

UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science & Sociology
Research & Innovation Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway
Tel: +353 91 495461; email:;



The Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP)

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) focuses on advancing social justice and human rights for persons with disabilities through legislative and policy reform. With major research accolades and some of the most respected members in the field on the staff board, the CDLP has earned its place as a policy leader, both in Europe and beyond. 

With only two other entities like it in Europe, and a director – Gerard Quinn – who is widely recognized as the authority on international and comparative disability law in this country, the CDLP has made significant headway since a generous grant from Atlantic Philanthropies helped its establishment in 2008. Since then it has raised approximately €8 million from EU research grants, the Soros Open Society Foundations and other sources.

The CDLP is now an internationally recognized centre of expertise and engages in collaborative work with stakeholders around the world. It co-produces the European Yearbook on Disability Law which is an international peer reviewed journal now in its 4th edition. It directs a major network of Marie Curie PhDs across six different countries, recently hailed by the European Commission as a ‘success story’. Its world-renowned International Disability Law Summer School enters its sixth year this year.

Contact details:

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway
Tel: +353 91 495461; email:



Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG)

The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG)  is a multidisciplinary research centre with a national and international focus on research, education and training in the field of social gerontology. Acting as a major resource for research, policy and practice communities, its aim is to develop understanding of gerontological questions in Ireland with a view to promoting a more holistic and positive view of ageing and life-course issues.

Research at ICSG explores key issues associated with ageing and the life course. Underpinning its research is recognition of the diversity of ageing populations. They seek to adopt interdisciplinary perspectives and novel methodological approaches to address major questions arising from population ageing.

Research focuses on the themes of:
  • Ageing and place
  • Ageing and the life course
  • Economics of ageing
  • Health and well-being in later life
  • Social policies for ageing societies
Rural Ageing Observatory

Since 2010, the Rural Ageing Observatory at ICSG has pursued its objective of contributing scientific and practical awareness and understanding of the complex and interactive economic, social and health behaviours of rural older people in real-life contexts. The Observatory’s pursuit of a social justice agenda for rural transformation seeks to acknowledge the capabilities and diversity of rural people and rural environments.

The Observatory has initiated an International Network on Rural Ageing. Through its visiting fellows programme, it has benefited from the expertise of acknowledged leaders in research on rural ageing: 

  • Vanessa Burholt, Swansea University, UK
  • Norah Keating, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Graham D. Rowles, University of Kentucky, USA
  • Mark Skinner, Trent University, Canada
  • Jeni Warburton, La Trobe University, Australia

Contact details:
Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, JE Cairnes Building, NUI Galway
Tel: +353 91 495461 email:



The Health Economics and Policy Analysis (HEPA)

The Health Economics and Policy Analysis group is located in the Discipline of Economics at NUI Galway. As well as being a member of ILAS  the group also is part of the research network at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, which includes the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology.

The aim of the Health Economics and Policy Analysis group is to develop, apply and teach methods for the economic analysis of health and health care. 

Research themes

Economic Evaluation, including Health Technology Assessment and Stated Preferences, Applied Health Econometrics, and Health Policy Evaluation. These methods are currently being applied to explore a range of research questions in relation to ageing, dementia, disability, mental health, chronic disease, cancer, and obesity. While the research is mainly of an applied nature with an emphasis on peer-reviewed academic output, members of the group also engage and contribute to policy formulation in a range of areas at national and international level. The group have extensive links with clinical and social science researchers at NUI Galway, as well as being engaged in active collaborations with colleagues in national and international organisations. 

Contact details:
Health Economics and Policy Analysis, Discipline of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Tel: +353 91 493094 email:



Community Knowledge Initative (CKI)

NUI Galway launched the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in 2001, which set out to underpin and realise a civic mission as part of its core activities. CKI is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and core funded by NUI Galway.

The Community Knowledge Initiative's activities were viewed as ‘integral to the University's strategic mission and involved a fundamental examination of the role of the University in the social fabric' and were subsequently reflected as a core priority by NUI Galway's Academic and Strategic Plans.

The CKI aims to promote greater civic engagement through core academic activities, namely teaching, research and service at the levels of students, staff, courses, programmes and the institution as a whole.

It define's civic engagement as a mutually beneficial knowledge-based collaboration between the higher education institution - its staff and students - with the wider community through a range of activities including:

  • Service Learning / Community Based Learning
  • Community-Engaged research volunteering
  • Community / Economic regeneration
  • Capacity-building
  • Outreach programmes
  • Community-campus partnerships
  • Access / Widening Participation

Contact details:
Community Knowledge Initiative
National University of Ireland Galway.
Tel: +353 (0) 91 49 3823 email: 



Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN)

In Ireland, the number of children with autism amounts to 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls. This is more than the combined incidence of diabetes, aids, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or down syndrome within the same demographic.


Against this backdrop NUI Galway established this specialist Centre, the first of its kind outside North America that uses an integrated approach to the delivery of postgraduate education, research and the delivery of autism support services. The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) is dedicated to ensuring improvements for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families, not only through scientific research but also through education and providing services to the community.

Research themes include:


  • investigation of evidence-based treatments and non-scientific practices in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder
  • behavioural procedures to increase socially significant behaviour
  • behavioural procedures to decrease and eliminate challenging behaviour
  • longitudinal investigations of the effectiveness of applied behaviour analysis in the education and treatment of children with developmental disorders
  • large scale Irish studies to inform policy makers in the area of service design and appropriate intervention
  • the use of bio-feedback mechanisms in the treatment of challenging behaviour
  • assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior
  • evaluation of behavioural curricula to improve reading abilities
  • comparison of treatment programmes for problem behaviours.


Contact details:

Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental research (ICAN),
Department of Psychology,
National University of Ireland, Galway
Tel: +353 (0) 91 493434 email: