We are a multi-disciplinary research centre

About NetwellCASALA

NetwellCASALA is a leading applied multi-disciplinary research centre designing, developing and testing digital technology to support the management of health and wellbeing as people age. Research at NetwellCASALA actively translates ideas into practical solutions that improve the lives of older people and those who care for them.

We believe technology can help empower people to take more control of their lives as they get older and strengthen the family and community support network around an older person. Older people, as well as those who care for and about them, are at the centre of our work, which includes collaboration not only with the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as with other academic researchers, but most importantly, with older people themselves.

NetwellCASALA has established links with a global network of stakeholders, placing us at the forefront of understanding ageing and age-friendliness. Our knowledge, insight and experience have enabled us to be highly influential in the development of collaborative stakeholder engagements. Through our regional and international collaborations with researchers, industry experts and older people’s groups, we understand how newly emerging technologies can enhance the ability to live at home for longer.

For over a decade we have led a range of ground-breaking projects, such as the Atlantic Philanthropies funded Great Northen Haven smart home complex in Dundalk, Co. Louth, and collaborated on a number of innovative health-care related projects, such as the Horizon 2020 ProACT project in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, IBM, and a host of international partners. Our research remains grounded in multi-stakeholder engaged research using collaboration, co-design, and real-world application as key tenants of our approach.

For more information about our current and past digital and community health projects see our projects page.

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 Innovation and Performance Lab

Innovation and Performance Lab

The Innovation and Performance (I&P) Lab has been developed and equipped to function as a dedicated space for workshops, user testing, research participant sessions, student and CPD training sessions, team sprints, meetings and presentations. The I&P Lab has also been equipped for the evaluation of physical performance testing, such as gait & balance as well as for testing wearable devices to measure physical parameters. These innovation and performance spaces will support greater in-house interaction between NetwellCASALA and our stakeholders across all phases of the innovation process, as well as the application of learnings in the form of an enhanced, interdepartmental and external, teaching and learning agenda for the centre and Living Lab.

Our Team

Dr. Julie Doyle

Dr. Julie Doyle Director

Julie is the Director of NetwellCASALA. Her background is in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and digital health technologies, with a focus on designing and evaluating intuitive and useful health and wellbeing technologies for older adults and those who support their care. Julie joined NetwellCASALA in 2011 and since then has led a number of digital health projects in the areas of chronic disease management, falls prevention, rehabilitation and ambient assisted living. Julie is the Principal Investigator on the Horizon 2020 funded projects SEURO and ProACT and the INTERREG VA funded project ECME, which examine how digital technology can support older adults to self-manage multiple chronic conditions at home. She is also Co-Investigator of the SFI-funded Smart Dementia Care project which aims to build a digital toolkit to support people with dementia and their carers in planning and managing their care.

+353 (0) 42 9370115

Dr. Lucia Carragher

Dr. Lucia Carragher Senior Research Fellow

Lucia’s areas of research are currently focussed in dementia and ageing, home and residential care particularly practice change, stage-specific dementia care, and communication and care giving. She is particularly interested in developing and evaluating interventions to improve the lives of older people and has expertise in case study design, feasibility studies and translation of research into practice.   Lucia supervises age-related studies for masters and PhD level students.

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Dr. Oonagh Giggins

Dr. Oonagh Giggins Research Fellow

Oonagh graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with a 1st Class Honours BSc degree in Physiotherapy, and was awarded with the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapist (ISCP) prize for clinical placement. She received her MSc and PhD from UCD. Oonagh was awarded an Industry Fellowship grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and undertook a one-year fellowship with Novartis, in their Global Service Centre in Dublin. Her current research interests are in personal sensing and the use of novel technologies in rehabilitation, healthcare and clinical trials. Oonagh Giggins is project manager on the Eastern Corridor Medical Engineering (ECME) project.


Dr. Orla Moran

Dr. Orla Moran Postdoctoral Researcher

With a B.A. (Hons) in Psychology, Orla completed a PhD in Contextual Behavioural Science at University College Dublin. Orla has taught and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students at UCD and DkIT. As an Assistant Psychologist with ACT Now Ireland, she has delivered training in third wave therapies such Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to both professionals and clinical populations. Orla has worked on the Changing Lives Initiative, within which she conducted a process and cost-effectiveness evaluation of the Incredible Years Parenting Programme for behaviours consistent with ADHD across Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Orla’s current work includes examining the behaviour change impact of digital interventions, on older people with cardiac conditions. Orla is a member of the Editorial Board for the international Journal of Contextual Behavioural Science.


Suzanne Smith MSc

Suzanne Smith MSc Centre Manager

Suzanne earned a B.Soc.Sc. from UCD, H.Dip. in Business and MSc by research from DKIT. She worked in mental health, substance abuse and health education in the U.S. for fifteen years before returning to Ireland. In addition to teaching Healthcare in the adult education sector, Suzanne has an extensive background in intercultural and anti-racism training and research. Suzanne has worked on a range of projects including ProACT and as part of a European research team exploring Social Innovation in Ageing initiatives. Her research has included identifying barriers experienced by older people to accessing and using GP out-of-hours and exploring the vocational challenges of home healthcare assistants, and exploring stakeholder experiences of online delivery of daycare activities for community-dwelling older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suzanne leads the Living Lab at NetwellCASALA.


Breda Connor

Breda Connor Administrator

Breda 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 coordination and the day to day running of NetwellCASALA.

+353 (0) 42 9370497

Gordon Boyle

Gordon Boyle Senior Software Developer

Gordon is a Senior 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. He joined NetwellCASALA in 2016. Before joining NetwellCASALA Gordon worked as a freelance developer and an assistant lecturer in the School of Informatics and Creative Arts at DkIT. He has extensive experience in web application development along with seven years experience teaching various computing modules. In NetwellCASALA Gordon has worked on the H2020 ProACT project, was the technical lead on the ThinkTech project and is currently leading the development of user-facing care applications for the SEURO Project.


Dr. Michael Wilson

Dr. Michael Wilson Postdoctoral Researcher

Michael earned a BA in Economics and German from University College Dublin, a Master of Arts degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from DkIT and a Graduate Diploma in Digital Media from Dublin Institute of Technology. He earned his PhD from DCU with research focused on the user-centred design of applications that support older informal carers in the self-management of their health and wellbeing, specifically in the area of stress management, digital mindfulness-based interventions and sleep quality. He has lectured in both Human Computer Interaction and English Language in DkIT. Michael is currently an investigator on the Smart Dementia Care project which aims to build a digital toolkit to support people with dementia and their carers in planning and managing their care.


Dr. Séamus Harvey

Dr. Séamus Harvey Postdoctoral Researcher

Séamus is a Postdoctoral Researcher in digital health with NetwellCASALA. His research interests include health psychology and mental well-being, with an emphasis on sport and exercise psychology. Séamus completed a MSc. in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology at Ulster University and a PhD in Sport Psychology at Bangor University. Funded by City Football Group, his PhD focussed on talent development in elite youth football. Séamus also contributed to the development, implementation, and testing of a mental well-being screening process on-site at Manchester City Football Academy. Prior to his PhD, Séamus worked as a Research Assistant with Liverpool John Moores University. He worked on the Steps Towards Alcohol Misuse Prevention Programme (STAMPP) randomised controlled trial, assessing the efficacy of a school-based programme in reducing alcohol misuse and related harm in teenagers. Séamus is currently working on the SEURO project, developing technologies to support self-management by older people with multiple chronic health conditions.


Dr. Yohanca Díaz-Skeete

Dr. Yohanca Díaz-Skeete Postdoctoral Researcher

Yohanca has a background in Nursing and an MSc in “Ageing, Health & the Environment”. In addition to her experience as an intensive care nurse, Yohanca teaches “Healthcare Studies” in the adult education sector and has vast experience supporting children with additional needs. She is interested in research focused in older adults with multi-morbidities living at home and the contribution digital health can make to improve their self-management of chronic disease and their quality of life. She completed a PhD in digital health at Dundalk Institute of Technology, which was awarded by Dublin City University. Funded by the Eastern Corridor Medical Engineering Centre (ECME) project, her PhD focused on an exploration of the role of a medication management app in supporting the care of older adults attending a heart failure outpatients‘ clinic and the experiences of staff and older patients. Yohanca is currently working on the SEURO project in NetwellCASALA. Prior to this role, she worked as a Research Assistant with the Trinity Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation (TCPHI) in Trinity College Dublin.


Laura Ballantine BA

Laura Ballantine BA Postgraduate Researcher

Having earned a BA (Hons) in Social Care at DKIT Laura became an early stage researcher representing NetwellCASALA in Greece on the Value Ageing research project. With a background in the area of Intellectual Disability services, Laura is currently engaged in PhD studies focussed on nursing home based Dementia Care where she is exploring the relationship between communication and behaviour using a Behavioural Staging Model.


Aoibheann McKeown BSc, RNID

Aoibheann McKeown BSc, RNID Postgraduate Researcher

Aoibheann is a Registered Intellectual Disability Nurse (RNID) having earned a Bachelor of Science (1st class hons) from Dundalk Institute of Technology. During her nursing training, Aoibheann worked as a Health care assistant in home care services and voluntary organisations and since qualifying works in both home care and voluntary organisations. Aoibheann is currently undertaking a Master of Science by research. Her research examines the workplace experiences of home health care assistants.


Patricia McAleer MSc, RNID

Patricia McAleer MSc, RNID Postgraduate Researcher

Patricia earned a BSc (Hons) degree in Intellectual Disability Nursing and a MSc by research, in Ageing and Health. From her masters research, examining the experience of student nurses working with older people, Patricia developed The Student Nurse Stressor-15 (SNS-15) Scale, validated for use in nursing education settings, which received international attention following publication. She was a Research Assistant on ProACT and is currently undertaking a PhD examining the role of nurse-led telephone triage in assisting people with multimorbidity to self-manage their conditions. She was a research project prizewinner at DigiFEST2020 for her presentation entitled ‘The Role of Telephone Triage Nurses in Supporting Older Adults with Multimorbidities in Ireland and Belgium to Self-Manage using Digital Technology’.


Yiyang Sheng MRes

Yiyang Sheng MRes Postgraduate Researcher

Yiyang earned a BS and Master of Research in Computer Science from University of Liverpool. His current PhD research focuses on Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) for self-managed home-based health care plans for older adults with cardiac conditions.


Berk Zafer MSc

Berk Zafer MSc Postgraduate Researcher

Berk is a doctoral researcher currently exploring the effects of human-robot interactions on people living with dementia. He earned his BSc in pharmacy and MSc in biotechnology at Ankara University and worked as a researcher at the University of North Carolina, School of Pharmacy. In addition to his community pharmacy experience, Berk has been working as a freelance consultant and medical author for pharmaceutical/informatics companies, including Sciome Informatics USA and Pfizer Istanbul.


Síofra McCrum BSc MSc

Síofra McCrum BSc MSc Postgraduate Researcher

Síofra earned a BSc Psychology in University College Dublin and went on to complete a MSc in Clinical Neuroscience in University of Galway. Her research background includes examining the relationship between motor imagery and emotion recognition and studying the impact of safety planning on suicidality. She is currently undertaking a master’s by research with NetwellCASALA examining older adults’ attitudes towards online psychotherapy.


Siobhán O'Neill BSc

Siobhán O'Neill BSc Postgraduate Researcher

Siobhán is an Occupational Therapist having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. Siobhán currently practices in the acute healthcare sector within the speciality of older adults, having previously worked across the acute, community and rehabilitation settings. Siobhán is committed to quality improvement within older adult services and has presented her project work at the Irish Gerontological Society conference on multiple occasions. She is currently undertaking a master’s by research with NetwellCASALA exploring older adults’ access to social support using digital platforms.


Prabhadini Godage

Prabhadini Godage Postgraduate Researcher

Prabhadini Godage is a Medical Doctor who pursued her higher studies at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. She initiated her professional journey as a Demonstrator at the Medical Education Centre within the same faculty where she obtained her degree. Subsequently, she successfully completed her internship at the paediatric surgery unit of Lady Ridgeway Hospital for children and Castel Street Hospital for women, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Prabhadini has always been passionate about health care research and the digital health solution arena. To make her dreams a career, she enrolled in the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, to undertake an MSc program in Biomedical Informatics. More recently, she successfully completed her Doctor of Medicine training in Health Informatics at the same institution. She is currently engaged in PhD research at DkIT, evaluating the efficacy and impact of digital health-based mindfulness intervention on emotional wellbeing and glycaemic control in women with gestational diabetes.