NUI Galway Lead Three COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation Projects

Date Released: 7 January 2021

Professors Pat Dolan and Gerry Mac Ruairc will lead a project focusing on young people aged between 12 and 18 who are marginalised or are at high risk during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and there is evidence that the most marginalised are becoming increasingly disconnected from school.

Funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, the project will work with marginalised young people and their families to come up with ways of coping with and improving wellbeing. The results will be tailor-made approaches and supports for marginalised young people, as well as evidence to inform policymakers and provide tools for important stakeholders, such as teachers and parents.

Young people who are marginalised are at risk of disengaging from school, and from society more generally, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research will work with marginalised young people and their families to come up with new ways to support those at risk. By developing solutions with marginalised young people, the project can inform strategies that can help them engage with school and reduce the risk of disengagement.

Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “The pandemic has posed very particular threats to the education and wellbeing of marginalised youth in Ireland.”

Professor Gerry MacRuairc, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “This project is a unique opportunity not just to research the problem but, working directly with youth and their schools, to come up with real-world, practical solutions.”