Growing Up in Ireland Research Analyst
I joined the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study team at the ESRI as a research analyst in February 2017, having previously worked as a research associate at the University of Cambridge. Before joining the ESRI, my research experience was focused primarily on child physical activity and obesity. While studying for an MSc in exercise physiology at Trinity College Dublin, I conducted a small study investigating the association between physical activity and obesity in Irish schoolchildren. I followed this up with a similar study of these health parameters (albeit on a much larger scale) for my PhD at Queen Mary University of London.
"Whilst my research on GUI allows me to continue investigating the child health issues I’ve always been interested in, I can now explore a diverse range of other issues too."
Since joining the ESRI, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in many research areas that I hadn’t previously explored. Growing Up in Ireland is a multi-disciplinary study, involving the research of physical and mental health and development, educational performance and pathways, family sociodemographic issues, and child psychosocial wellbeing. So whilst my research on GUI allows me to continue investigating the child health issues I’ve always been interested in, I can now explore a diverse range of other issues too; what are the most common chronic health problems for Irish children, what are common smoking and alcohol consumption habits during adolescence, and what is the prevalence of high blood pressure for emerging adults in Ireland? I can also collaborate with experts in child psychology, education, health economics and social class research.
I really enjoy the collaborative nature of the research in the ESRI. Given the size of the GUI study (almost 20,000 children have taken part over 10 years), we are dependent on a large team to help run the study effectively; managing the study on a daily basis, collecting high quality data from children all over the country, cleaning and analysing that data, and producing numerous research reports.
"It’s really nice to know that my research is helping to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in Ireland."
The most rewarding thing about the research we conduct at the ESRI is that it’s policy driven. Growing Up in Ireland produce reports on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, so key policymakers in Ireland are keenly aware of the work we do. It’s really nice to know that my research is helping to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in Ireland.