Researcher profile


Professor Pat Dolan


Introducing Pat Dolan

Professor Pat Dolan, is joint founder and Director of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway and the distinguished Chairholder of the Republic of Ireland's first UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement.

Over 20 years experience in Family Support

For over 20 years Pat has had an active interest at front-line worker, service manager, academic and research levels in Family Support and community-based interventions in helping adolescents. He has completed longitudinal research on adolescents, their perceived mental health and social support networks. His additional research interests include Family Support; Reflective Practice and Service Development; and Youth Mentoring Models.

Child and Family Research Centre

Based at the School of Political Science and Sociology, the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) is a partnership between NUI Galway and the Health Services Executive.

CFRC's main objective is to improve outcomes for children and their families; advance family support practice; and advance policy both in Ireland and internationally.

Launched in 2007 by President of Ireland, Mary McAlese, Pat explains how the Centre has evolved in response to the increasing demand for services for child welfare that deliver the best outcomes for children:

In the past, family support research focused more on the theoretical nature of child welfare. The CFRC is very much about applying practice to the theory and sharing and disseminating methodologies that enable practitioners to support families better.

The Centre is internationally recognised as a leader in the theory and practice of Family Support. It is affiliated with a range of university centres of excellence, NGOs and civil society organisations dedicated to enhancing the welfare of and improving opportunities for disadvantaged children and their families.

Education and Training

In the area of education and training, the CRFC offers Masters and Higher   Diploma programmes in Family Support Studies for professionals working in state and voluntary services on behalf of children and families. A joint PhD programme with Trinity College Dublin has also been established and will provide inter-institutional, structured doctoral training in Child and Youth research.

UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement

In October 2008, Pat was appointed Chairholder for the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway.  The UNESCO Chair, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland, will deliver a programme of work in relation to best practice for civic engagement for children and youth, with the core objective of providing relevant expertise in theory, practice and policy and establishing international links and networking in this field of education.  As Chairholder, Pat will work with two partners, the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway and Foróige, a national youth work organisation, to emphasise the importance of civic engagement as a policy issue for education within Ireland, among partner organisations and the wider international network.

Pat Dolan