The European Commission has awarded a major Co-Fund grant to the ASSISTID Project of the Doctrid Research Institute, run by the charity Respect (chaired by Mr Dermot Desmond). Professor Brian Harvey of the RCSI is Research Director for Doctrid and the Coordinator of the all-Ireland ASSISTID Project, which includes all 7 Irish Universities, Queen’s University and the University of Ulster in the partnership.

Professor Lizbeth Goodman of UCD’s SMARTlab and Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland @ UCD will chair the Academic Advisory Committee of the five year ASSISTID project, and SMARTlab will lead on the technical and online workpackages to support the recruitment, selection and project management of 40 fully funded Post-Docs, and will collaborate with the Programme Board on promotions, communications and online networking of the project researchers and wider communities. ASSISTID supports a five year programme of fellowships and research projects and training programmes exploring innovations in the use of assistive technologies by and for people with intellectual disabilities (with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders).

The first Call for the first set of 20 Post-Docs will soon be announced; of those, 16 will be incoming to the partner universities in Ireland, and 4 will be outgoing to the USA and Canadian partner sites. In addition to Professor Harvey and Professor Goodman, the core ASSISTID project team includes national and international researchers and stakeholders including Professor Michael Leahy of Michigan State University, Dr Geraldine Leader of the University of Galway (Clinical Lead for ASSISTID), Mr Liam Walsh of Respect, and Dr Lynnae Routledge of the US National Council on Disability. UCD is also represented on the ASSISTID founding project team by Dr Mick Donegan, SMARTlab Adjunct Senior Researcher, and Mr Huw Williams, SMARTlab CTO, along with Dr Suzanne Guerin of the CHS Centre for Disability Studies, all of whom sit on the Advisory Panel for the Project. Professor Karola Dillenburger of QUB and Professor Mickey Keenan of Ulster University (and Adjunct at UCD) represent the North in this all-Ireland consortium. 48 UCD faculty members from across the colleges are members of the IDRC, and will provide mentorship to fellows as appropriate.

The total project funding in addition to the EC contribution includes Michigan State University’s generous donation to establish the prestigious international Hegarty Fellowships, in honour of the late Sister Martha Hegarty, along with match funds from Respect, and a further match of 1,500,000 in software from the IDRC’s main partner site in Canada: the IDRC at OCADU (Toronto), directed by Professor Jutta Treviranus. The total project funding, and the outputs of related SMARTlab and IDRC projects at UCD including the Leonardo Accessible E-Learning Project, further support this effort towards new CTI solutions to enable development and testing of a co-designed and fully interoperable and accessible online learning environment using open source tools to create personalisable mobile learning platforms suited to the needs of all the world’s learners.

By funding and supporting 40 Post-Doc projects in the domain of Inclusive Design, this innovative project seeks to make a major intervention into the public’s understanding of the real and varied social contributions to be made by People with Intellectual Disabilities, and to foster new innovations in the assistive technology sector as applied to the field of inclusive learning. UCD-SMARTlab’s expertise to be contributed to the overall intellectual output of the project includes: Creative Technology Innovation; Learning Tools for Intellectual Disability; Assistive Technologies; Personalised Learning Environments; Mobile and Virtual World Technologies; Personalised Learning; Interactive Tools for Autism; Digital Media Advocacy and Training; Creative and Artistic Expression: Social Interactions Using Art; Animations for Inclusive Learning; Design for Diversity.

IDRC@UCD colleagues will contribute from across the Colleges to offer additional expertise in domains such as Social Entrepreneurship Solutions for Widening Participation; and Human Rights Studies as Pertaining to People with Intellectual Disabilities. SMARTlab and IDRC researchers will collaborate with colleagues across all the UCD Colleges to provide a fully interdisciplinary and flexible research environment suited to the needs of the Post-Doc Researchers and PhD students to be recruited to work in this exciting domain.

For further background also see:

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Professor Lizbeth Goodman will deliver a Keynote at the Virtual Systems and Multimedia IEEE Conference 2016:

SMARTlab PhDs and Postdocs and Faculty will also contribute to the panel, including Prof Jacki Morie, Dr Eleni Mangina, Dr Joe Eyerman, Dr Aviva Cohen, Dr Cathy Dalton, Dr Nigel Robb, Dr Shane Keaveny, Colin Keogh, Cagri Cubucku and Bo Zhang.

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SMARTlab director Lizbeth Goodman will be giving a speech at the Irish Research Council STEAM: A Workshop to Cultivate Interdisciplinary Research in Ireland. Her speech is titled “Full Steam ahead: on STEAM, R-STEAM,  G-STEAM and the need for Inclusive Design in Education”.

Other members of the SMARTlab team will be giving speeches in the same plenary session. Members and their titles can be found below.

  • Dr Shane Keaveney and Colin Keogh: “Disruptive Tech for New STEAM Applications”,
  • Dr Anita McKeown: “Water in the Desert: using a novel STEAM curriculum tool for creative placemaking’
  • Çağrı Çubukçu: “Creative Gamification”

If you wish to get more information about IRC STEAM, please follow this link.

The full programme of the workshop can also be found below:

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NASA Mars Simulated Space Mission successful in the Virtual World!

Professor Jacki Morie of SMARTlab/School of Architecture, UCD and All These Worlds Ltd. played a crucial role in training the NASA team released this week from their year’s confinement in the Hawaiin simulated Space Station. Prof Morie created and ran the virtual world connecting the astronauts to their families and to the space station back at base!

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Census of the Heart

An alternative census that gets to the heart of our population. By asking deeper questions, we’ll find meaningful answers to who we are and what we feel as people alive in Ireland in 2016…

Dear Friends,

We have been busy at The Trailblazery HQ and are delighted to launch the next thing from us to you – Census of the Heart.

On the night of April 24, coinciding with the precise anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the 2016 National Census takes place in Ireland. To mark this occasion, The Trailblazery is launching an alternative census – Census of the Heart. This is a national enquiry that aims to capture the deeper dimension of people’s lived experience and find out what it really means to be alive in Ireland exactly 100 years after the Rebellion. The National Census will enable future generations to find out about us, their ancestors. On technology we have yet to dream of, they will discover who was where, how many rooms were in the house we were in, if there was a peat fire, a septic tank and Wi-Fi and other stuff like that. This is important, but Census of the Heart delves a little deeper into the psyche and soul of the people in Ireland. Responding to the general categories of the census, we have come up with questions that explore other ways of knowing and understanding what it means to be alive in Ireland in 2016.

Why an alternative census? We have all been immersed in the story of Ireland’s past with the centenary commemorations, remembering the lives of the men and women on this island 100 years ago. Census of the Heart aims to excavate and preserve the state of our nation in 2016 for future generations. According to the literature, “Census 2016 will give a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions of our people”. So, on the 24th of April every person on the island of Ireland will become a statistic. While the official census provides valuable data on a broad range of social and economic infrastructure, we’re upgrading and augmenting that knowledge by asking deeper questions that accesses people’s inner worlds. We want to know what matters to you in 2016.

The Ask: Tell us how you feel: Our mission is to connect with a broad section of people across the island of Ireland so we can get straight to the heart of things. We believe that all voices are important. We’re asking you to help us achieve our vision by completing Census of the Heart and then sharing it with friends, family, colleagues and even random strangers via your personal and professional social networks. The Census of the Heart survey will run for 4 weeks from April 24 – May 22 on

Below you’ll find some sample posts for your Facebook and Twitter pages, an image to share via social channels and links to The Trailblazery social accounts. Feel free to copy and paste these or come up with your own.

Sample Tweets:

The Trailblazery present Census of the Heart – Tell us how it feels to be alive in Ireland 2016? #censusoftheheart

Census of the Heart – an alternative census that conects with the heart of Irish people in 2016. #censusoftheheart

Census of the Heart: an alternative Irish census connecting with the heart of our population. #censusoftheheart

Census of the Heart – an alternative Census. Tell future generations how Ireland feels in 2016. #censusoftheheart

Léiríonn An Trailblazery Daonáireamh an Chroí – Inis dúinn conas a mhothaíonn sé bheith beo in Éirinn i 2016? #daonaireamhanchroi

Daonáireamh an Chroí: Daonáireamh difriúil a dheanann ceangailt le dlúthchroí muintir na hÉireann i 2016 #daonaireamhanchroi

Daonáireamh an Chroí: Daonáireamh difriúil adgceangailt le croí an phobail #daonaireamhanchroi

Daonáireamh an Chroí: Daonáireamh difriúil. Inis do ghluainte an todhchaí conas a mhothaíonn Éire i 2016 #daonaireamhanchroi


The Trailblazery brings you Census of the Heart – an alternative census that gets to the heart of our population in 2016. By asking deeper questions, we’ll find meaningful answers so that future generations will know how it feels to be alive in Ireland right now. We are asking you to contribute to this snapshot in time and maybe even influence future history.

Léiríonn An Trailblazery Daonáireamh an Chroí – Daonáireamh difriúil a dheanann ceangailt le dlúthchroí muintir na hÉireann i 2016. Tríd ceisteanna domhain a chur, aimseoimid freagraí tábhachtacha do ghluainte an todhchaí ar chonas a mhothaí Éire inniu. Fiafraímid duit páirt a ghlacadh le go mbeimid in ann an am áirithe seo i ndáimh na hÉireann a léiriú agus, seans, an todhchaí romhainn a athrú.

The Trailblazery Links:

Facebook –

Twitter – @trailblazery

Hashtag – #censusoftheheart

Facebook Event Page –

Kathy Scott
Independent Creative Producer
The Trailblazery | the ireland : iceland project | Wonderlust

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