Kids jumping with footballs

Moving Well Being Well Researchers Awarded DCU President’s Award for Research Impact

Submitted on Wednesday, 31/05/2023

Researchers from the Moving Well Being Well project have been honoured with the prestigious DCU President’s Award for Research Impact. This recognition highlights their groundbreaking work in the field of health and well-being, making a significant impact on society.

The Moving Well Being Well project aims to increase physical activity and wellbeing in young children across Ireland. Researchers at DCU and Insight carried out an all Ireland study of over two thousand primary school children, and found that one in four cannot run properly, one in two cannot kick a ball properly and less than one in every five can throw a ball.

The findings noted that the skill development of children with regard to running, jumping, hopping & skipping (movements that are categorised as fundamental movement skills), plateaued at the age of ten rather than progressing to reach a mastery level as expected for this age group.

This milestone is considered significant in the context of children, not reaching it can result in young people exhibiting an aversion to engaging in sports and physical activity, particularly in their teenage years. How could they play, engage in physical activity, if they don’t perform at a certain level? Why would they play if it is so hard to perform well?

The immediate results show increases in basic movement skill proficiency, along with increases in confidence and motivation towards being active and also positively impacting their wellbeing. The project has just received funding from the Department of Justice Community Safety Innovation Fund to roll out the interventions in socioeconomically deprived areas as part of several pilot schemes throughout the country.

Dr Stephen Behan of Insight DCU explains the potential benefits:
“All of these have a multitude of benefits, such as; the physical and mental health benefits that will come from increased Physical Activity, the increased self-perception and self-efficacy coming from mastery of these basic skills and an overall increased sense of wellbeing. However, the long term benefits should lead to increased sport participation in the teenage years, which in turn is likely to lead to a decrease in anti-social behaviour. While we do not suggest that this is a ‘silver bullet’ to prevent criminal behaviour, we strongly believe that this will give the children the tools to be active for life, while setting children up for success and will help to create safe, active and resilient communities.”

The DCU President Award for Research recognises the immense value of the Moving Well Being Well initiative and its potential to bring about positive change in society. The award underscores DCU’s ongoing dedication to fostering impactful research that addresses pressing societal challenges.

“The Moving Well-Being Well project continues to impact communities across the country. Its multidisciplinary focus on active engagement at a national level is the epitome of Insight’s approach to driving successful high impact, societal-relevant research at scale. We are very proud of the team and their achievements”; Prof Tomás Ward, Insight DCU Site Director

The Moving Well Being Well project is a collaboration between the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, the School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin GAA and the GAA. The Research team is comprised of Dr Stephen Behan, Dr Sarahjane Belton, Dr Johann Issartel, Dr Nathan Gavigan and Prof Noel O’Connor.