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About the SHAPE 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: 

Leaving No One Behind: Health Inequalities on the Island of Ireland, 27 April

This full-day online symposium was co-hosted by the ISS21 SHAPE & REACT Research Clusters.

How was care represented in Ireland’s Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID-19 Response? 2 March 2022

In this seminar, Dr Felicity Daly (Post-doctoral Researcher on the CareVisions project) explored governmental discourses about care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Cork Healthy Cities Action Plan, 21 April 2021

In this seminar Denise Cahill (Healthy Cities Co-coordinator in Cork City) described a range of initiatives that are underway to increase the number of green spaces and open up different spaces (including streets and the river) for recreation, play and exercise. Further details are available here

Subjective Beliefs and Economic Preferences During the COVID-19 Pandemic24 March 2021

In this seminar Professor Don Ross presented the findings of a major experimental research study carried out in the US and South Africa to explore people's beliefs and economic preferences during the pandemic. Further details are available here

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

Research Projects

Projects linked to the themes of the SHAPE cluster include:

Imaging/Imagining Reproductive Crisis: time-lapse microscopy, animation and fertility discourse (2024-2027). Dr Rebecca Close (PI). DOROTHY COFUND Programme. 

SocialPaths: Sex-specific socioeconomic pathways to cardiovascular disease risk across the life course (2022-2026). Dr Linda O'Keeffe (PI). Funder: Health Research Board.

Development of a health impact assessment (HIA) implementation model: enhancing intersectoral approaches in tackling health inequalities (2023-2026). Dr Monica O'Mullane (PI). Funder: Health Research Board.

TEENVOICET1D Developing a Public Patient Involvement (PPI) Panel of Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes (Jan-Sept. 2023)

CareVisions: Envisioning a Care-Centred Society Within and Beyond COVID19 (2020-2023)

TEENT1D: Teenagers Transitioning to the Self-Management of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D): Exploring Day-to-Day Experiences and Developing Social Supports (2021-2022)

ISL-HEALTH: Ensuring Access Provision to Public Health Services for the Irish Deaf Community (2021-2022)

PEACH: Physical, Emotional, Active, Cognitive, Health Project (2018-2020) 

School Food Policy in Ireland: Opportunities and Challenges. Funded by the CACSSS Interdisciplinary Research Fund

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


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