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  Health Outcomes of Socially Excluded Older People in the Age of Digitalisation


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  Dr Sinead Keogh, Dr Ken VanSomeren, Dr Martin O'Neill  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Postgraduate Research Programme in Innovation, Digitalisation, Enterprise and Society (IDEAS) offers 12 PhD research scholarships to commence in 2024. Each project will include an enterprise placement of minimum 12 weeks duration.

Project (IDEAS 11): Health outcomes of socially excluded older people in the age of digitalisation

This mixed-methods study explores how older adults experience social exclusion, and how digitalisation and technological interventions (e.g. smart phones, wearable and connected medical devices) can mitigate against or compound health outcomes for people experiencing multi-dimensional social exclusion. Social exclusion amongst older people is recognised as a major population health concern. It is associated with chronic health conditions such as depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and early mortality. Despite this, our knowledge of determinants that mitigate against or contribute towards exclusion, and their ultimate impact on older adult health, remains underdeveloped for older populations, particularly for those on the margins of society e.g homeless, Travellers, persons with disabilities. Identifying wearable and connected health and fitness devices that impact multi-dimensional social exclusion, could potentially improve the health and well-being of various groups of older people while delivering cost-savings at a national and regional level.

The objectives of this research are to:

1. Complete a scoping review on literature examining the relationship between social exclusion for older people, digitalisation and technological interventions as a method of mitigating the various dimensions of exclusion.

2. Explore the relationship between availability and access to advanced technologies and social exclusion and its impact on health and well-being.

3. Assess how quality and type of relationships are impacted by technology and, the affect this has on loneliness and the implications for our health.

4. Investigate if civic engagement, through the use of technological advancement, can protect against the consequences of deficient social relations.

5. Develop, trial and deliver a training programme with NIPC using technological interventions with the aim of guiding the use of technologies to foster independence, relationships and, potentially ameliorate loneliness and promote better health.


A minimum of 2.1 honours degree (Level 8) in a relevant discipline.

Project Duration:

48 months (PhD)

Preferred Location:

ATU Galway, Galway City Campus


Application Form / Terms of Conditions can be obtained on the website:

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm, (GMT) Monday 29th April, 2024.

Only selected applicants will be called for an online interview (shortlisting may apply).

Business & Management (5) Economics (10) Nursing & Health (27) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

TU RISE is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021- 27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.
Funding for this Project includes:
• A student stipend (usually tax-exempt) valued at €22,000 per annum
• Annual waivers of postgraduate tuition fee
• Extensive research training programme
• Support for travel, consumables and dissemination expenses