Dr Monica O'Mullane (Research Fellow)

Dr Monica O’Mullane is a research fellow funded by the EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship programme. Monica will explore gender equality in Irish higher education through qualitative research on Athena SWAN, a gender equality programme which seeks to promote good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in science and research. Based on qualitative case studies in three higher education institutions, the project seeks to understand the role, position and perception of Athena SWAN within Irish higher education. The research will look in particular at how Athena SWAN is being adopted and utilised in higher education, how institutions respond to the change process implied in the initiative, and why the processes of Athena SWAN vary in different contexts. Monica will work with Dr Caitríona Ní Laoire, who was the Irish PI on the multi-country FP7 funded Genovate (Transforming Organisational Culture for Gender Equality in Research and Innovation) project, in which Monica also participated, as scientific coordinator of the Slovak partner team.

Monica has had a long-standing interest in equality issues, stemming from her political and health studies (UCC and NUIG) before her work in the Genovate project. Previous research interest has been in Health Impact Assessment (HIA) which resulted in numerous peer reviewed articles and two books (published by OUP and MUP), initiating and coordinating of the Southern HIA Network (in Ireland) and enthusiastic involvement in the WHO Healthy Cities movement (in Cork and Trnava (Slovakia)). Other research interests have involved Monica in a national diabetes project (based in UCC), in curriculum development projects (funded by NAIRTL in Ireland and by the EC in Slovakia as part of two multi-country projects), researching in ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) projects (based in Stockholm), initiator and evaluator in school mental health programmes (Zippy Friends) (Ireland and Slovakia), and teaching English as a second language to adults and primary school children.

As MSCA fellow and because of her everlasting interdisciplinary interests (spanning across the social sciences, public health and political sciences), Monica was appointed academic representative on the Cork Healthy Cities (CHC) Steering Group in 2019. In fact, she was part of a small but tenacious group of people who set up the group in 2008, achieving W.H.O designation in 2012.  The CHC is currently finalising its next ten year action plan. Monica and the coordinator of the project, Ms Denise Cahill, are working to co-edit a book on the project’s experiences and reflections, hoping to publish in 2022, as a way to celebrate the collaborative and inter-agency way the project works to improve the health and wellbeing of Cork’s lovely people by the Lee.



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

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