I-PARC Symposium: 10th June 2019

I-PARC Symposium: 10th June 2019

The first I-PARC symposium on “Effective Evaluation and Implementation of Physical Activity Initiatives” was held on the 10th of June 2019 in the Clock Tower, Department of Education, Dublin. This included 43 individuals from various backgrounds but all interested in the evaluation and implementation of initiatives for increasing physical activity levels in Ireland. A half-day meeting was also held with members of the project team and research advisory panel on the 11th of June 2019. Below is a short overview of the symposium with a full report available to download at the end of the post.

Dr. Fiona Mansergh (Healthy Ireland, Department of Health) kicked off the Symposium with an introduction to I-PARC including the symposium agenda and objectives. Following the welcome, Prof. Catherine Woods (University of Limerick) presented a proposed vision, aims and objectives for  the collaboration. Those attending the symposium were asked to provide input into the vision, aims and objectives of such a collaboration, with the final versions now available on the I-PARC website homepage.

Next, the day’s keynote speakers took to the stand to deliver three informative presentations. These included:

Dr. Paul Kelly (University of Edinburgh) who presented the “Evaluation of physical activity initiatives; what, why and how?”

The presentation covered six key concepts of pragmatic evaluation including:

  1. What is evaluation?
  2. How does evaluation differ from research?
  3. Why do we evaluate?
  4. What is pragmatic evaluation?
  5. What should we measure and evaluate?
  6. The initiative and the evaluation.





Dr. Femke van Nassau (Amsterdam UMC) who presented on “Implementation research and scale up of physical activity initiatives; what, why and how?”

The presentation covered the following topics:

  1. The science practice gap and barriers for translating research into practice.
  2. What is implementation research?
  3. Why should we do implementation research?
  4. An overview of the Dutch Obesity Intervention in Teenagers (DOiT) including the implementation strategies used and the facilitators and barriers of the intervention.
  5. How to implement a programme using the PRACTIS Guide?





Dr. Paula Carroll (Waterford institute of Technology) who finished with “Men on the Move: The story of a community based physical activity programme for inactive men.”

The presentation led on from the previous talk, speaking about translation of research into practice and implementation strategies used in an Irish context. The presentation covered the following topics:

  1. The rationale for Men on the Move
  2. Providing a solution through a gender sensitising service.
  3. Adopting a real world approach to delivering Men on the Move.
  4. Building partnerships and buy in from key stakeholders.
  5. Capacity building within the delivery system.
  6. Key recommendations from the successes of Men on the Move.






The presentations led to interactive activities facilitated by members of the I-PARC project team. The first of these activities (facilitated by Prof. Marie Murphy and Ms. Shirley O’Shea), asked the symposium participants “What outcomes do you require to make decisions regarding the future of an initiative?” This included group discussions to identify important outcomes for physical activity initiatives and what stakeholders require them. A second activity, facilitated by Dr. Niamh Murphy and Mr. Benny Cullen required participants to identify as an individual who either delivers/coordinates initiatives or funds/supports (i.e. at a policy level) initiatives. In these groups, participants were asked “From your experience, what elements have facilitated the successful implementation of initiatives for increasing physical activity.”

Both of these activities led to a number of useful findings that can be found in the I-PARC Symposium Report. This can be downloaded by clicking here: I-PARC Symposium Report 2019

The I-PARC project team would like to thank those who attended the symposium, each of the speakers and the Department of Education for hosting the event. We look forward to holding future events as part of the project.

Thank you for reading.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *