Established in 2018, I-PARC involves multiple stakeholders, across policy, practice and research, who work together to apply insight, intelligence, and innovation to the challenge of getting more people to become more active, more often in Ireland. The challenge of how to increase the physical activity levels of the population of Ireland needs a whole of systems approach, one that brings together researchers, policy makers and practitioners from multiple sectors involved directly or indirectly in the creation of opportunities for physical activity.    

I-PARCs vision is to inspire the best use of evidence, effective delivery and supportive environments for improving activity levels in Ireland. Consequently, I-PARC brings together all relevant 'stakeholders (Appendix 1) and uses a formula to effect real change in addressing the inactivity challenge (Figure 1).

Progress to date:

I-PARC has hosted four events since its establishment in 2018;

  1. The 1st I-PARC symposium (June 2019) “Effective Evaluation and Implementation of Physical Activity Initiatives”.
  2. The 2nd I-PARC symposium (January 2020) “Systems Based Approach: What is it and why is it relevant to Physical Activity promotion?”.
  3. The I-PARC inaugural conference (January 2021) “Collaborative Action for Physical activity promotion: opportunities presented by COVID-19”.
  4. The I-PARC second annual conference (January 2022) “Leveraging policy, programs, and research for a more active society in the wake of COVID-19"

Some of I-PARC’s other outputs include two research articles published in peer reviewed journals and the development of three toolkits for delivery in the form of capacity building workshops in which participants will become familiar with the toolkit resources (Figure 1).

  1. A Systems Approach toolkit – what are the Enabling contexts that promote physical activity?
  2. Evaluation Toolkit - how do we measure effective physical activity interventions?
  3. Implementation toolkit - what are the criteria for effective implementation of physical activity interventions?
The Irish Physical Activity Research Collaboration (I-PARC)

Current and planned work:

The I-PARC project was funded through the Health Research Board Applied Partnership Award for a period of 2.5 years. This funding for the research project expired at the end of April of 2021. However, the I-PARC knowledge users (Dept. of Health – Healthy Ireland, Dept. of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Health Service Executive and Sport Ireland) have collaborated to fund an I-PARC project coordinator for a further two years beginning May 2021. The I-PARC Coordinator and Project Team of multi-sectoral stakeholders are currently planning and working on the roll-out and dissemination of the three toolkits under each pillar of I-PARC developed in the initial phase of the project. I-PARC version two will continue to build on the work completed to date by I-PARC.


I-PARC Practitioner Advisory Group and Research Advisory Panel

The work of the I-PARC Project Team is supported by a Practitioner Advisory Group currently formed by 25 members representing 23 organisations across Ireland. In addition, a panel of international experts advise the Project team on matters related to research and evaluation of the impact of the collaboration.

I-PARC Team Members

Catherine Woods (University of Limerick; Academic Chair),

Fiona Mansergh (Dept. of Health; Government Chair),

Enrique Garcia Bengoechea (Sport Ireland, University of Limerick, Project Coordinator),

Benny Cullen (Sport Ireland),

Colette Brolly (Public Health Agency Nothern Ireland),

Derek O’Neill, (Dept. of Transport)

Grainne O’Donoghue (University College Dublin),

Ian Smith (Dept. of Sport and the Gaeltacht)

James Lavelle (Dept. of Sport and the Gaeltacht),

Lorraine D’Arcy (Technical University Dublin)

Marie Murphy (Ulster University),

Niamh Barry (Dept. of Education and skills),

Niamh Murphy (Waterford Institute of Technology),

Ronan Kielt (Dept. of Education and Skills)

Sarah O’Brien (Health Service Executive),

Sarah Taylor (Dept. of Transport)

Research Advisory Panel members:

Adrian Bauman (University of Sydney),

Andy Jones (University of East Anglia)

Claudio Nigg (University of Bern)

Femke van Nassau (Amsterdam University Medical Centers),

Girish Ramchandani (Sheffield Hallam University)

Joey Murphy (University of Bristol)

Nanette Mutrie (University of Edinburgh),

Nick Cavill (Cavill Associates)

Paul Kelly (University of Edinburgh),

I-PARC Partners