We are a multi-disciplinary research centre

About NetwellCASALA

Population ageing is wrought with challenges, but it also offers many opportunities - at NetwellCASALA our multidisciplinary research and development activities are focused on developing more integrated community-oriented services, more sustainable home and neighbourhood design, and more age-friendly technologies.

By 2020, 25% of the EU's population will be over 65, with spending on pensions, health and long-term care expected to triple by 2050. However, older Europeans are also important consumers with a combined wealth of over €3,000 billion. Extending the opportunity for older people to age-in-place in a place of their choosing is a major policy alternative to long term care, thereby enabling older people to stay active, productive and engaged in society, and to enjoy a higher quality of life for longer. The essential business driver is the need for more ‘care’ in an environment of diminishing resources and rising costs.

Working closely with our business partners, members of the community, health services, local and national government, other academic establishments and ageing affiliated agencies, we are actively translating ideas into practical solutions that improve the lives of older people and those who care for them, whilst also creating new business opportunities and informing public policies.

NetwellCASALA is a joint venture between Dundalk Institute of Technology, the Health Service Executive of Ireland and Louth County Council. We have established links with a global network of stakeholders, placing us at the forefront of understanding of ageing and age-friendliness. Our knowledge, insight and experience have enabled us to be highly influential in the development of collaborative stakeholder engagements, including: the Great Northern Haven development, Age Friendly Ireland Initiative, and the establishment of Cúltaca or service brokers who work independently and directly with older people. We also work with industry to achieve product innovation, business competitiveness, and market leadership in the emerging ambient assisted living (AAL) sector. For further information on our projects click here.

Our activities involve an array of disciplines including the social and behavioural sciences, health and medical sciences, computer science, engineering, design, marketing and business administration. We work across the three inter-related and mutually reinforcing strands of communities, environment and technologies. We are in a unique position of being able to provide our partners with a complete concept-to-trial, product and service development environment through the NetwellCASALA Living Lab

We are witnessing the emergence of a new "Silver Economy" and our in-depth understanding of this marketplace, combined with a commercial acumen allows us to offer valued consulting expertise, abilities to optimise your research and development functions, and/or license emerging products. Contact us today to discuss how we might help you.

The Living Lab

A living lab is defined as "a user-centred open-innovation ecosystem operating in a territorial context, integrating concurrent research and innovation processes within a public-private-people partnership". A living lab seeks to involve all stakeholders as co-creators and co-designers in the research. The NetwellCASALA living lab provides an array of environments that offer an opportunity, at every stage of the development cycle, to work with older people, carers, engineers, scientists, healthcare professionals and service providers in both realistic test environments and directly in the community. The NetwellCASALA Living Lab is a member of the European Network of Living Labs.

The 3D CAVE

The Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) is a high-tech immersive virtual reality system which the team at NetwellCASALA use to develop and test new technological, environmental and architectural concepts and designs before they are fully realised. The CAVE is a cube shaped room which offers a multi-person, multi-screen, high-res 3D video and audio interactive environment. As the user moves and interacts within the display boundaries, the correct 3D perspective is displayed in real-time to achieve a fully immersive experience. See how the cave works.

Meet the team

Rodd Bond

Director

Rodd is the founder and director of NetwellCASALA and an architect by background. Rodd has a wide range of interests including creating and sustaining healthy communities and homes; the inter-relationship between environment and peoples’ health and wellbeing; organic design methods and community decision-making frameworks. Rodd is past President of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and continues to hold a strong interest in local policy and business. Rodd has secured over €10m funding for NetwellCASALA since 2006. Away from the office, Rodd is known to enjoy a game of golf.


Eva Beirne

Coordinator of Men’s Sheds

Eva is the coordinator for the Community Men’s Sheds in County Louth. In 2011, Eva was given the remit of coordinating the development of three sheds in County Louth one in Drogheda, one in Dundalk and a third in the Cooley Peninsula. Since then, her efforts have seen the sheds in Louth become a hive of activity, with over 150 men now meeting regularly across the county to share skills, develop interests and enjoy the tea and chat with like-minded people - the very things which add quality of life to years lived and which are at the heart of a truly age-friendly community. Prior to joining the men’s shed project Eva worked for many years in the Irish business sector.

Dr. Niamh Caprani

Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Niamh is a human-computer interaction (HCI) researcher with a focus on designing for older users towards independent living. Niamh joined the team in October 2013 and is working on the KIDUKU project, designing systems for clinicians and older patients to monitor health and wellness from home sensor data. Prior to this Niamh worked in the Insight centre in DCU, where her area of research was lifelogging and wearable cameras. Niamh completed her PhD from Dublin City University in January 2013. Between 2001 and 2007, Niamh attended IADT Dun Laoghaire, firstly as an undergraduate in BSc. Psychology Applied to IT and continuing on to complete her MSc (research).

Dr. Lucia Carragher

Research Fellow

Lucia is a Research Fellow in NetwellCASALA leading projects concerned with the social aspects of ageing. She has a background in both quantitative and qualitative methods and analysis. Her relevant research and teaching interests lie broadly in the areas of ageing, community care, dementia, quality of life, and informal learning and well-being. She has successfully supervised students to MSc and PhD level and is currently supervising two MSc and one PhD student.

Breda Connor

Administration

Breda joined NetwellCASALA in 2007 and worked with Rodd in setting up the Centre. She has a Diploma in Project Management and has previously worked as a Junior Systems Analyst for the Revenue Commissioners. In her current role as Senior Programme Administrator she is responsible for office administration, diary management, events and the day to day running of the Centre.

Dr. Julie Doyle

Research Fellow

Julie is a Research Fellow in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at NetwellCASALA. Julie received a BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Science from University College Dublin in 2002 and a PhD in Human Computer Interaction from UCD in 2006. Julie joined NetwellCASALA in January 2011 and leads HCI research that crosses the fields of ambient assisted living, falls prevention, emotional wellbeing and telehealth. Her current research is examining the effectiveness of various types of feedback to convey health and wellbeing information to older adults; how to increase older adults' awareness of their own health and ultimately support them in self-management of their health with the goal of enhancing quality of life. Julie is Principal Investigator on the KIDUKU, and SpONSOR projects.

Joanne Finnegan

Research assistant/research administrator

Joanne is a research coordinator and project administrator at the Netwell Centre.  She has been involved with various FP7 and EU funded projects, including Home Sweet Home, BRAID, HaiVisio and DISCOVER4Carers; projects which cover a broad spectrum of ageing research, from technology to policy to roadmapping. She studied Architecture at Queens University, Belfast. Before joining NetwellCASALA she worked in practice on various construction projects.

Dr. Andrea Kealy

Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer

Andrea is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in NetwellCASALA in addition to her role as an Assitant Lecturer in the School of Informatics and Creative Arts in Dundalk Institute of Technology. Her research interests include ambient assisted living and applying data mining techniques to extract useful features from large ambient sensor datasets. She has recently completed her doctoral research studies which focused on the use of ambient sensors to longitudinally profile the behaviour of older adults in their own homes.

Pat Kerins

Cultaca Service Broker

Pat is one of two lead Cúltaca (service brokers for older people) in NetwellCASALA, where he has worked since September 2007. Pat is a retired member of An Garda Siochana.

Ed Lenox

Software Engineer

Ed Lenox is an engineer with 20 years experience in software development. He has worked in the financial and web technology sectors and has most recently been working with cloud-based startups. He was CTO of Intrade.com from 2004 until 2010, an online service that became a world leader in its space with users in over 100 countries worldwide. At NetwellCASALA, Ed manages the CABIE data aggregation system and leads software engineering.

Dr. John Loane

Lecturer and Researcher

John is a researcher at NetwellCASALA and is also a lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematics at Dundalk Institute of Technology. John's research interests include Data Analysis, Data Mining and Data Visualisation. John has been technical lead on the Better Energy Communities Projects in 2012, 2013 and 2015. These projects involve working with multiple partners in Co. Louth to deliver energy upgrades to buildings as well as remotely monitor energy usage within the buildings in real time. This helps build a Living Lab of Energy usage data. John is Principal Investigator on INDICATE, an EU, FP7-funded project.

Ann Marron

Cultaca Service Broker

Ann R.G.N. S.C.M. Care of the Elderly. Ann has nursing experience in acute hospitals, extended care facilities, private nursing homes and the community. Ann has worked as one of two lead Cúltaca (service brokers for older people) in NetwellCASALA since September 2007.

Catherine McConville

Postgraduate Student

Catherine McConville is a PhD student in NetwellCASALA. She is supervised by Dr Lucia Carragher from the Netwell Centre and Dr John Evoy, Principal Clinical Psychologist/Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Midway Services Ltd. Catherine's background lies in public sector housing. Her doctoral study is focused on older social housing tenants and in particular on the prevalence of loneliness and the role that housing providers can play in identifying 'at risk' tenants, either at the point of allocation to a new tenancy or through the day-to-day interactions of staff with tenants. As part of her research, she will develop and test a new measure of loneliness suitable for use as a screening tool in a service delivery context. She will also identify appropriate channels of referral for tenants found to be at risk, to services to support individuals to re-engage with their wider community.

Anne Murphy

Coordinator Good Morning Louth

Anne is the coordinator of Good Morning Louth, a free, friendly telephone service for older people in County Louth.

Patricia Sheridan

Postgaduate Student

Patricia Sheridan is an MSc student in the NetwellCASALA, supervised by Dr Lucia Carragher and Mr. Joe Treacy, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Studies. Her research examines the experiences and attitudes of undergraduate nursing students on clinical placements with older people, including student nurses' attitudes to older adults at different stages of their training. She will explore the sources of stress students experience while on clinical placements and the coping mechanisms they employ. The relationship between stressors, attitudes and knowledge will be explored by examining students' knowledge of the ageing process and their perceived readiness for clinical experiences. The findings from Patricia's study will support teaching and learning to improve the quality of nursing students' clinical placement and ensure a positive experience of learning to care for older people.

Suzanne Smith

Postgraduate Student

Suzanne earned a B.Soc.Sc. from UCD and worked in health and education in the U.S. for fifteen years before returning to Ireland and setting up her own business with a focus on intercultural and anti-racism training and research. After completing a Higher Diploma in Business at DkIT in 2012, she joined NetwellCASALA as part of a European research team exploring Social Innovation in Ageing initiatives. Suzanne is currently undertaking an MSc exploring access to and utilisation of general practice (GP) out-of-hours (GPOOH) services by older people. She is supervised  by Dr. Lucia Carragher (NetwellCASALA) and Dr. David Getty (Dept. of Humanities, DkIT).

Stuart Quinn

Finance Manager

A business studies graduate from the College of Commerce, Rathmines, Stuart is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant. He joined NetwellCASALA in April 2007 as Finance Manager having worked as a Senior Internal Auditor in DIT for over three years. Stuart has responsibility for all financial matters in relation to NetwellCASALA including complying with the reporting requirements of all stakeholders. His previous positions include roles in the Civil Service, the Food Industry and a three year spell as an entrepreneur.

Michael Wilson

Postgraduate Student

Michael is currently undertaking a Masters by Research in Human Computer Interaction with NetwellCASALA, supervised by Dr. Julie Doyle. His research project focuses on the user-centred design of applications that support older adults in the self-management of their health and wellbeing, specifically in the area of stress management and sleep quality. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and German from University College Dublin (2004), a Master of Arts degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Dundalk Institute of Technology (2009), and a Graduate Diploma in Digital Media from Dublin Institute of Technology (2013). He currently delivers iPad classes to older adults in Dundalk as well as English for Academic Purposes to international students in Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Collaborate with us