I-PARC (Ireland’s Physical Activity Research Collaboration): Bridging the research to action gap to support the implementation of the National Physical Activity Plan

The purpose of this research is to develop a bespoke research collaboration ‘I-PARC’ (Irish – Physical Activity Research Collaboration) to support Get Ireland Active! the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP)1. I-PARC will bring together researchers, policy makers and practitioners from physical activity (PA) to establish how best to implement effective interventions, and in this way achieve the NPAP goal of reduced population levels of inactivity. We will use a formula ‘effective interventions X effective implementation x enabling contexts = socially significant change’. This acknowledges that changing population PA behaviour in a significant way is more likely to happen through the combined efforts of evidence-based programmes, effective implementation strategies and supportive environments. NPAP provides the supportive environment; the gap in knowledge is in identification of effective interventions and the most effective implementation strategies that work in an Irish context.

Guided by NPAP’s actions, which are now government policy, this research will combine literature reviews, online surveys, qualitative 1-1/focus group interviews and using a co-design process, iteratively test our solutions to answering these questions in order to find the best fit for optimal knowledge transfer. The outcomes of this research include the development of a standardised evaluation framework from which to assess the
quality of interventions considered as acceptable for allocation of public funds and a mechanism for decommissioning ineffective interventions (NPAP Actions 53 and 54). They will also provide evidence of the key barriers and facilitators to the successful implementation of effective interventions in Ireland, and make recommendations for an infrastructure to support effective implementation practices (NPAP Action 52). Ultimately, this study will provide knowledge users and researchers with an in-depth understanding of the processes through which practice can inform research and how research is translated into practice, addressing our knowledge in how we identify effective interventions and implement these successfully.

Award Date
20 April 2018
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Catherine Woods
Host Institution
University of Limerick
Applied Partnership Awards