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  Smart Kids, Healthy Lives: Integrating Technology to Combat Childhood Obesity in Ireland


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  Dr Robert Mooney, Prof Suresh Pillai, Dr Michelle Queally, Dr Saim Ghafoor, Dr Anushree Dwivedi  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Postgraduate Research Programme Translational Health Research Innovation preVention & Equity (THRIVE) offers 12 PhD research scholarships to commence in 2024. Each project will include an enterprise placement of minimum 12 weeks duration.

PhD project Title: (THRIVE 1) Smart Kids, Healthy Lives: Integrating Technology to Combat Childhood Obesity in Ireland

Childhood obesity is a growing concern in Ireland and globally, with rising numbers of overweight and obese children projected for the future. Addressing this issue requires effective preventive measures, interventions, and policymaking. The multifaceted nature of the problem involves factors such as public health initiatives, lifestyle changes, socioeconomic conditions, and government policies. Physical activity levels directly impact obesity rates in children, closely tied to their physical literacy, defined as the motivation, confidence, competence, knowledge, and understanding to engage in physical activities throughout life. Irish children exhibit lower physical literacy compared to international standards, measured through methods like fundamental movement skills screening. Existing measurement techniques are flawed due to expertise, cost, and time constraints.

This research proposes a novel solution using wearable technology, leveraging inertial sensor technology. This cost-effective and user-friendly approach aims to measure physical literacy in children, driving lifestyle changes and facilitating targeted early interventions globally to combat childhood obesity.

The aim of this project is to develop new technology that can be used as a means of combating childhood obesity.  

Project Objectives:

1.     To understand and quantify the extent of the problem of obesity in Ireland and to gather evidence that further links obesity with physical literacy.

2.     To develop and test new wearable technology for conducting physical literacy tests in real world environments.

3.     To design and conduct experimental intervention studies that can prove the clinical and cost effectiveness of the new technology. 


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

Project Duration:

48 months (PhD)

Preferred Location:

ATU Galway Campus


Application Form / Terms and 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).

Computer Science (8) Nursing & Health (27) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

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
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