Traumatic Life Events the Focus of New International PhD Programme

Posted on: 23 May 2016

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Global Health have secured €3.3 million for research into trauma-exposed populations in Europe. This four-year study is funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 scheme and is a collaboration between Trinity and a number of European academic (Ulster University and the University of Southern Denmark) and non-academic (the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, SPIRASI, the Probation Board of Northern Ireland (PBNI), the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, hosted by the Danish Red Cross, and the Bornehus South Children’s Centre) partners.

The project entitled ‘CONTEXT’ (COllaborative Network for Training and EXcellence in psychoTraumatology’) is led by Chair of Global Health Professor Mac MacLachlan, Assistant Professor Frédérique Vallières (Centre for Global Health, School of Psychology) and Associate Professor Philip Hyland (Centre for Global Health, and the National College of Ireland).

Twelve doctoral researchers will study the psychological effects of exposure to traumatic life events among unique traumatised groups in Europe: refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering Europe from conflict zones, humanitarian workers tasked with providing aid to traumatised individuals, and victims of gender-based and childhood traumas. The doctoral researchers on this project will spend half of their training with the non-academic partner organizations gaining front-line experience working with the victims of traumatic exposure.

Dr Vallières said of the project: “The coming together of the academic and non-academic partners in CONTEXT will yield important advancements in our current theories and therapies regarding psychological responses to traumatic life events. The collaboration between our partner groups will provide researchers with a unique opportunity to make discoveries that would not otherwise be possible where these sectors work in isolation.” 

Dr Hyland further added: “This award highlights the importance of interdisciplinary research when it comes to understanding how, and to what degree, contextual factors play a role in determining psychological responses to trauma.”

Speaking about the training programme Professor MacLachlan commented: “The Centre for Global Health and School of Psychology in Trinity are privileged to play an important role in CONTEXT. We look forward to this collaborative doctoral training programme making a real difference to our better understanding of and more effective interventions for psycho-traumatology across very different contexts.”


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