Understanding how to scale integrated exercise practitioners in mental health in Ireland(WD_2022_65_WSCH)

   Research Support Unit

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  Dr Evan Matthews, Dr Barry Lambe, Dr Suzanne Denieffe  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Post summary

Exercise is a widely recognised therapeutic for the mental and physical health of people who have experienced mental health difficulty (Stubbs et al., 2018; Heissel et al., 2023). Recognising this value, many international contexts have integrated exercise specialists working as part of multidisciplinary mental health teams, as per guidance from the European Psychiatric Association in 2018 (Stubbs et al., 2018). Whilst pilot efforts have moved to address this deficit in the Irish context (Denieffe et al., 2021; Matthews et al., 2022), there is no clear roadmap for establishing robust structures that can allow exercise practitioners to work to in partnership with individuals in their recovery through integration into specialist mental health services. This research seeks to engage a full-time MSc candidate in to the Department of Sport and Exercise Science (SETU) to undertake primary and secondary research to address this knowledge gap.

The successful candidate will use a range of different research methods to identify the factors that could potentially influence the integration of exercise practitioners into the Irish health services. These research methods might include reviewing the literature, collecting qualitative data, and facilitating workshops with key stakeholders. 

This research is supported by collaborative partners Mental Health Ireland, Wexford Mental Health Services (The Health Service Executive) and Health and Wellbeing, South East (The Health Service Executive).

Person specification



Honours Degree (minimum 2:1) in the specific area or related area including Health/Sport and exercise sciences, Health/Mental health promotion, Public health, Exercise psychology, Physiotherapy.


·      First class award in the specific area or related area (see above)

·      Member of relevant recognised professional body.

Knowledge & Experience


·         Previous research experience and understanding of research processes and methods.


. Knowledge and experience of working with people that use the mental health services

·        Knowledge or experience of working within or engaging with mental health services.


Skills & Competencies


·        Excellent communication (written and verbal) and analytical skills

·        The candidate must be highly motivated and self-directed with good time and project management skills

·        Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see SETU’s English Language Requirements for details.


·        Experience of communicating professionally with diverse populations

·        Display willingness to travel for research purposes

·        Previous experience of scholarly output (scholarly publishing, conference or event presentations).

Funding Notes

Supervisor(s) :
Dr Evan Matthews (Sport and Exercise Science, SETU)
Dr Barry Lambe (Sport and Exercise Science, SETU)
Dr Suzanne Denieffe (School of Humanities, SETU)
Research Group: Centre for Health Behaviour Research
Department /School/Faculty: Department of Sport and Exercise Science
Duration: 2 Years( 24 months)
Status: Fulltime
Funding information: SETU Co-Fund Scholarship Programme
Value of the scholarship per year for two years:
€ 15,000 per year Stipend
€ 2,000 per year research expenses
€ 4,500 per year for PG tuition fees


Further information
For any informal queries, please contact Dr Evan Matthews on email (evan.matthews@setu.ie).
For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email rpgadmissions.wd@setu.ie or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.
University Website https://www.setu.ie/
Application procedure
Download the Research Postgraduate Application Form and return completed applications to rpgadmissions.wd@setu.ie quoting < WD_2022_65_WSCH >in the email subject line.
Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.
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