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

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 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.

Meet the team

Rodd Bond

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.

+353 (0) 42 9370675

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.

+353 (0) 42 9370362

Gordon Boyle
Software Developer

Gordon is a Software Developer at NetwellCASALA. He received a BSc (Hons) degree in Commercial Computing from DkIT in 2006 along with a MA in Music Technology in 2008. Before joining NetwellCASALA Gordon worked as a freelance developer and an assistant lecturer in the Department of Creative Media at DkIT. Gordon is involved in the H2020 ProACT project along with design and devlopment for the ThinkTech project.


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.

+353 (0) 42 9370677

Breda Connor

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.

+353 (0) 42 9370497

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 Principle Investigator on the H2020 ProACT project and Co-Principle Investigator on the SpONSOR and Maestro projects. She is also leading the design of the Alone platform under the ThinkTech project.

+353 (0) 42 9370115

Joanne Finnegan
Research Assistant/Research Rdministrator

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.

+353 (0) 42 9370511

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.

+353 (0) 42 9370360

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.

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.

+353 (0) 42 9370673

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
Postgaduate 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 has recently completed her MSc research that explored access to and utilisation of general practice (GP) out-of-hours (GPOOH) services by older people. She was supervised  by Dr. Lucia Carragher (NetwellCASALA) and Dr. David Getty (Dept. of Humanities, DkIT). Currently Suzanne is working on the ProACT project.


Michael Wilson
Postgraduate Student

Michael is currently undertaking a PhD 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.