Irish Social Science Platform Annual Conference, December 01/02, 2009
Speakers Information

Diane F. Halpern is a past-president of the American Psychological Association, the largest professional associations in the world with over 150,000 members and affiliations in 80 countries. She is the Trustee Professor of Psychology and the founding Director of the Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children at Claremont McKenna College.  Diane has published many books including, Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (4th Ed.); Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities (4th ed.), a special two-volume edited issue of the American Behavioral Scientist entitled Changes at the Intersection of Work and Family (edited with Heidi R. Riggio, 2006), From Work-Family Balance to Work-Family Interaction: Changing the Metaphor (edited with Susan Murphy, 2005), and Women at the Top: Powerful Leaders Tell Us how to Combine Work and Family (co-authored by Fanny Cheung, 2008). Her most recent books are Undergraduate Education in Psychology: A Blueprint for the Future of the Disciplines (edited, 2009) and the introduction to psychology textbook, Psychological Science, 3rd edition (2010 with Michael Gazzaniga and Todd Heatherton).

Diane was president of the Western Psychological Association, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, and the Division of General Psychology of the American Psychological Association. She has won many awards for her teaching and research, including the 2002 Outstanding Professor Award from the Western Psychological Association, the 1999 American Psychological Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Outstanding Alumna Award from the University of Cincinnati. Most recently, Diane is a Principal Investigator on a Department of Education Grant (with Keith Millis at Northern Illinois University and Art Graesser at University of Memphis). She is working on a project that uses principles from the science of learning and serious games that will teach critical thinking/scientific reasoning skills in a game environment.


Rory O’Donnell is Director of the National Economic and Social Council of Ireland (NESC) and Chief Officer of the newly-established National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO). In his work as Economist and later Director at NESC he has prepared the analysis that underpins Ireland’s social partnership approach to economic and social policy and has written extensively on partnership. He was Jean Monet Professor of Business at the Smurfit Business School, University College Dublin; where he edited a review of Ireland’s first 25 years in the EU, Europe – The Irish Experience (Institute of European Affairs, 2000) and co-authored Europe’s Experimental Union: Rethinking Integration (Routledge, 2000).


Paul Gary Wyckoff directs the public policy program at Hamilton College, New York.  He teaches courses in applied statistics, ethics, and cost-benefit analysis, as well as issue-oriented courses on topics such as health care reform, education policy, and Social Security reform.  Professor Wyckoff studied economics and political science at Macalester College, and later received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.  Prior to coming to Hamilton, he held positions at the Federal Reserve and Indiana University.  Professor Wyckoff has published in numerous journals, including The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Urban Economics, and The Journal of Education Finance.   His current research focuses on the empirical evidence underlying government policies.  Professor Wyckoff’s latest work is Policy and Evidence in a Partisan Age: The Great Disconnect, published by The Urban Institute Press.



Simin Davoudi is Professor of Environmental Policy & Planning at Newcastle University. She is Deputy Director of the Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability (IRES) and Director of the Sustainability and Environment Network in Social Sciences (SENS). Her research interests include UK spatial planning, European territorial development, governance and institutional relationships, social dimensions of sustainability, strategic waste management. She has previously conducted research and taught in University College London and Newcastle University. Her research has focused on the UK and European spatial planning, urban policy and regeneration, institutional relationships and governance, and sustainability and strategic waste planning. She has undertaken research and consultancy for a wide range of national and international organisations including the EU, ESRC, DCLG, and local and regional agencies. This research has been disseminated in numerous books, book chapters, articles, research reports, conference papers and invited speeches at international and national events.


Patrick Dolan is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. He is joint founder and Director of the Child and Family Research Centre and the Higher Diploma/Masters Degree in Family Support Studies. For over 20 years he has had an active interest at worker, service manager, academic and research levels in Family Support and community based interventions in helping adolescents.  He has completed longitudinal research on adolescents their perceived mental health and social support networks. His additional research interests include Family Support; Reflective Practice and Service Development; and Youth Mentoring Models. In October 2008, Professor Pat Dolan was appointed Chairholder for the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI, Galway.  The UNESCO Chair, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland, will deliver a programme of work in relation to best practice for civic engagement for children and youth with the core objective of providing relevant expertise in theory, practice and policy and establishing international links and networking in this field of education.


Brian Nolan is Professor of Public Policy in the School of Applied Social Science. He previously worked in the Economic and Social Research Institute, where he was Head of the Social Policy Research Division, and in the Central Bank of Ireland. He is a UCD graduate and has a doctorate in economics from the London School of Economics.


Micheál Ó’Cinnéide grew up in west Kerry and graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 1976 with a BA degree in German and Sociology. Bhí sé ina Reachtaire ar an gCumann Eigse agus Seanchais ag an am. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School in Boston, USA in 1985.  He was founder and Secretary for many years of the Blasket Island Foundation. Before joining the EPA, he was Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety with the Marine Institute in Galway from 1999 to 2008 and worked for the Department of the Marine as Policy Adviser to the Minister of State in 1995/97. Micheál has also worked with an aquaculture firm, the Irish Seafood Producers Group In Cill Chiaráin, Conamara for 8 eight years, as a research Fellow at Harvard Business School, as First Secretary in the Embassy of Ireland and as Vice Consul in the Consulate General of Ireland in New York. In his current EPA role as Director of the Office of Communications & Corporate Services, he manages a range of support services to the EPA, such as Communications, Human Resources, Training, IT and Finance.  In addition, he is a Board Member of the EPA, which includes decision-making on the strategic direction and policies of the EPA on licensing, research and environmental protection.


Liam O’Dowd is Professor of Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests have been framed by political sociology, political economy, urban sociology and by inter-disciplinary approaches in the social sciences approached from a sociological vantage point.  He has maintained a continuing interest in the sociology of contemporary Ireland and the political economy of the Northern Ireland conflict in particular.  A founder member of the Sociological Association of Ireland in 1973 he has also served as chairman of the National Committee for Economics and Social Sciences of the Royal Irish Academy (1992-1996). Over the last decade, his research has concentrated on three broad areas: (1) the political sociology of intellectuals and political ideology (including imperialism, British and Irish nationalism and republicanism); (2) state borders and border regions in the European Union and (3) the role of civil society organizations in the Northern Ireland peace process. He began researching the impact of the EU on the Irish border in the early 1990s, and since then he has broadened his focus to include the changing significance of state borders in Europe, cross-border co-operation, the role of civil society organizations in co-operation across the external borders of the EU, and more recently, divided cities in contested states. He has been Director of the Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR) at Queen’s since 2000, a member of the board of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh since 1999 and Director of Research for the Social Divisions and Social Conflict research cluster in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work since 2006.