About the cluster

The SHAPE (Society, Health and Political Economy) research cluster brings together researchers with interests in interdisciplinary approaches to issues relating to health, food and wellbeing, from a wide range of disciplines, including Applied Social Studies, Epidemiology and Public Health, General Practice, Geography, Medicine, Occupational Sciences and Occupational Therapies.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To support and promote critical, social scientific and cross-disciplinary health research within UCC.
  • To combine research interests and collaborate in research projects, seminars, publications and funding calls.
  • To combine different research methodologies and expand Irish health research in innovative directions.
  • To highlight the social, economic, philosophical and political dimensions of health and healthcare.
  • To impact on Irish health policy by conducting policy relevant health research.

Cluster Events

The SHAPE cluster organises regular events at which members and invited speakers can present their research. Recent highlights include: 

Evidence Amalgamation Workshop, May 2019

On 10 May 2019 the SHAPE research cluster hosted a full-day workshop on evidence amalgamation, with Irish and international presenters including Louise Caffrey (Trinity College, Dublin); Hannah Jongsma (University College London); Ben Baumberg Geiger (University of Kent); and Jacob Stegenga (University of Cambridge). Further details available here

Past, Present and Future of Patient Payment in the Irish Healthcare System, March 2019

This half-day workshop examined the role of different funding mechanisms for healthcare, with a view to informing policy-makers on a more equitable way forward. It provided multidisciplinary insights into the issue of paying for health in Ireland, drawing on a number of perspectives including economics, history, social policy and public health, while also drawing on international comparisons. Participants from Ireland, the UK and Spain presented eight papers on a range of topics including the history of universal health care; the costs of healthcare in contemporary Europe; paying for health in Ireland (historical and economic perspectives); and access to healthcare, private health insurance and inequity. Further details available here: paying for health care

The cluster hosts internal seminar series at which cluster members present their work. A list of presentations from 2019 is available at: SHAPE Seminar Series


Current projects linked to the SHAPE cluster:

Leaving No One Behind: Developing an All-Ireland Integrated Health and Social Care Service for All in a Post-Brexit Era (2019-2020). Funded by the CACSSS Interdisciplinary Research Fund.

School Food Policy in Ireland: Opportunities and Challenges (2019-2020). School Food Policy in Ireland: opportunities and challenges (2019-2020). Funded by the CACSSS Interdisciplinary Research Fund.

Physical, Emotional, Active, Cognitive, Health Project (PEACH)(2018-December 2020) Further details available at the following link: PEACH

Cluster Membership

Click on the following link for a list of Cluster Members

If you would like to join the SHAPE Cluster, please contact the Cluster leader, Dr Eluska Fernandez ( or the ISS21 Research Co-ordinator (

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30