About the conference

The conference is the Network’s flagship annual networking event. This year the theme of the event was Children Should be Seen and Heard.

Children Should be Seen AND Heard was an invitation to celebrate, share and learn from each other about what we are doing well in terms of engagement and inclusion of children and young people, but also offered an opportunity to consider how we may continue to overlook, forget or ignore their voices. This conference was a call for us to go further in our research, our practices and our policies with children and young people across the island of Ireland.

This year, we also celebrated the new collaboration between the Children’s Research Network and the Trinity Research in Childhood Centre (TRiCC) – CRN’s home since early 2019. On Wednesday evening, TRiCC welcomed the Trinity College community and all CRN members to a special lecture by Professor Neil Marlow, paediatrician and expert in neuroscience and child development, who has led seminal research on long term outcomes for extremely preterm infants. Then on Thursday, we held our full day conference, commencing with a Welcome speech by the Professor of Nursing and Midwifery and co-Director of TRiCC, Professor Imelda Coyne, and featuring a key note from the new Special Rapporteur for Children, Dr Conor O’Mahony.

Our Speakers

Professor Neil Marlow

TRiCC Annual Lecture - Title: "Young adult preterm: fit for the future?"

Neil Marlow is Professor of Neonatal Medicine at University College London and current Chair of the NHS England Neonatal Critical Care Clinical Reference Group. He is the Chair of the ongoing NHS England Neonatal Transformation Review.

He took up his appointment at UCL following 11 years as Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Nottingham and 7 years as Senior Lecturer in Bristol. He is an Honorary Consultant in the University College Hospital Neonatal Service. Neil provided neonatal advice to the DH Working Groups that reported on Neonatal Services in 2002 and to the Toolkit for Quality Neonatal Services published in 2008.

His major academic interests have been in long-term outcomes following prematurity and he is the Director of the MRC-funded EPICure studies (www.epicure.ac.uk). He runs a series of local studies into brain and cognitive development following very preterm birth, communication about extremely preterm birth and is a co-investigator on a range of mainly UK based cohort and randomised studies.

Neil has been President of the British Association for Perinatal Medicine, Director of the UCL Institute for Women’s Health, President of the European Society for Paediatric Research and Chair of two European Academy of Paediatric Societies Meetings. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and is an Honorary Life Friend of Bliss, the UK-based charity for premature babies. He is also a member of the executive of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants.

Professor Imelda Coyne

Children's Research Network Conference - Welcome

Professor Imelda Coyne is a Professor in Children's Nursing & Co-Director of the Trinity Research in Childhood Centre (TRiCC). In her role as Ambassador for the Children's Participation Hub, Irish Government, she promotes the importance of children's participation and voices in policies that affect children's lives. The central theme underpinning her programme of research is valuing children's and young people's voices and promoting their participation in matters that affect their lives. She has over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored over 150 conference abstracts, conducted international workshops and delivered keynote addresses at several international scientific conferences. She is a Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science and is an elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. She has held the Alva Myrdal Visiting Professorship at Mälardalen University, Sweden. Visiting Professor at University of Lund, Sweden; University of Malta; Manchester University and the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, UK.

Dr Conor O’Mahony

Children's Research Network Conference Keynote - Title: “The Shadow of the Past: Facing up to Ireland’s Child Abuse Legacy”

Dr Conor O’Mahony is a senior lecturer in child law and constitutional law at the School of Law at University College Cork. He is the director of the Child Law Clinic, through which he works to support litigation concerning children and to advocate for law reform in the area of child law (most notably on the issue of victims of sexual abuse in primary schools, including the Louise O’Keeffe case). He is co-Principal Investigator (with Dr Kenneth Burns) of the Voluntary Care in Ireland Study. Past projects include a major study of District Court child care proceedings, and an international project funded by the European Commission aimed at developing children’s rights capacity among child protection professionals. In 2019, he was appointed Special Rapporteur on Child Protection by the Irish Government for a three-year term.


4th December

TRiCC Annual Lecture by Dr Neil Marlow

5th December

CRN Annual Conference, consisted of invited speakers, traditional oral presentations, light-bulb presentations, posters and workshops.


Poster presenters were invited to give a 90 second overview of their study to all conference attendees, after which they were asked one question by the poster session chair. The posters were then on display for the whole day. See the Book of Abstracts for more information on the individual presenters and their research.

Ian Blackwell, Plymouth Marjon University: 'Daddness'

Emma Cooke, Trinity college Dublin: Parents’ experiences of accessing respite care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the acute and primary care interface: A systematic review.

Angana Nandy, J Quigley, & E Nixon, Trinity College Dublin: Co-parenting, parents’ child-directed speech and toddlers’ socio-emotional competencies

Paul O’Reilly, et al., NUI Galway, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, & The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Canada: Feasibility Study of an Online Pain Management Programme for Children Undergoing Major Orthopaedic Surgery: iCanCope Post-Op

Deborah Webster, Queen’s University Belfast: A Qualitative exploration of social networking sites and adolescent subjective wellbeing.

Questions or follow up:

Please contact Dr Derina Johnson, CRN/TRiCC Research Coordinator, ChildrensResearchNetwork@tcd.ie