Dr Michael Byrne – REACT Principal Investigator

Dr Byrne is Head of the Student Health Service in University College Cork (UCC).

Michael is a medical graduate of University College Dublin (MB BCh BAO, 1986), specialising in General Practice and Primary Care (MICGP, 1992, FRCGP, 2016). Following a three-year stint as Head of an Air Base Clinic in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Michael spent the majority of his career in General Practice in the NHS in the UK, initially as a partner in a practice in Leith, Edinburgh, followed by a period as a Lead Consultant in Primary Care in the Lothian Region, based in the same Practice. He returned to Ireland to take up a post in UCC as Head of the Student Health Department (2006-15), then as Director of Student Health and Wellbeing (2015-16), and up until recently Head of Student Experience (2015-July 17).

His areas of clinical interest centred around systems re-design to improve healthcare outcomes, the use of information management and information technology to aid care, health promotion and behaviour change, and the development of a multi-disciplinary approach to support vulnerable students.

Dr Byrne has had a leadership role in a variety of university and national initiatives including:

  • UCC Health Matters, with UCC recognised as a Health Promoting University in 2015;
  • UCC Alcohol Action Plan and REACT (Responding to Excessive Alcohol Consumption in Third-Level);
  • The development of UCC’s Mental Health Policy, Fitness to Practise, and Fitness to Continue in Study Policies and Procedures;
  • The use of a curricular approach to effect attitudinal and behavioural change in the third-level setting, specifically in the area of sexual consent and sexual assault.

He has undertaken, supervised, and published research on risk-taking behaviour among third-level students.

Michael is a former President of the Irish Student Health Association (ISHA) and former board member of the Confederation of Student Services in Ireland (CSSI).

Dr Martin Davoren – REACT Co-Principal Investigator & Steering Committee Member

Martin is a Post-doctoral Researcher evaluating a number of interventions to reduce alcohol consumption and related harm. Martin collaborates with the Southern Region Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce, the Health Service Executive, the Union of Students in Ireland and the majority of third-level institutions in Ireland on these projects. He is also involved in implementing, directing and evaluating UCC Health Matters, Ireland’s Health Promoting University.

Susan Calnan – REACT PhD Candidate

Susan is a PhD research candidate at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC involved in the area of alcohol research, including evaluation of the REACT programme.

Susan originally graduated with a BA from UCC and worked for 10 years in research publishing for organisations including the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. She has also worked as a freelance health journalist and has a long-held interest in health and social issues.

In 2015, Susan completed a Masters of Social Science in Social Policy at UCC. Her interests include policy analysis, alcohol research, sociology of health, discourse analysis, and development and environmental issues.


Mary Cleary – REACT Research Assistant

Mary Cleary is currently working as a research assistant with the REACT project and is the coordinator of the Mallow Community Health Project. She completed a BA in Politics and International Relations in 2013 and a Master’s in Public Health in 2017. Throughout her career Mary has worked in both research and community development roles, with a view to highlighting disadvantage and empowering communities through improved health access and outcomes.

Niamh Murtagh – Vice President for Welfare, Union of Students in Ireland (USI)

Niamh is a graduate of TV, Radio and New Media Broadcasting from IT Tralee where she served two years as the Vice President for Welfare at IT Tralee Students’ Union. Since, Niamh has been elected to the Union of Students in Ireland Officerboard twice, as Vice President for the Southern Region in 2016/17 and now as the National Vice President for Welfare for the academic yer 2017/18. Niamh focuses on national campaigns and policy work around harm reduction and well-being for students at 3rd level