Core team members

Dr. Ruth Mc Menamin is a co-lead for the PPI Ignite Network @ University of Galway.  
She has been a member of the PPI Ignite steering committee and a PPI catalyst @ University of Galway since 2018. Ruth’s experience and expertise of connecting and empowering people to develop PPI practice in research and scholarship make her particularly suited to co-lead work package 1 (Building national PPI capacity across communities) with colleagues in DCU and HRCI. In collaboration with PPI contributors and other colleagues, Ruth has co-designed, co-delivered, and co-evaluated PPI training locally, nationally and internationally. This training and the structured PPI PhD module at University of Galway is supporting researchers to embed PPI in their research and become PPI influencers in their own networks.
Ruth is a member of the Executive Committee of the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) which includes 253 members from 40 countries, representing 43 languages. As the Early Stage and Junior Stage Research officer Ruth is responsible for offering networking and training opportunities for 140 members. This work and her current role as a guest editor on a special issue in the journal Aphasiology is providing collated resources and good examples related to PPI in aphasia research and scholarship to an international audience.   

Dr Natalie Walsh is a co-lead for the PPI Ignite Network @ University of Galway.

Dr Walsh is the Director of Entrepreneurial Development at the University of Galway, she has worked in higher education for over sixteen years with senior roles in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  

Natalie’s experience and expertise spans areas including leadership, strategic planning, project and grant management, finance and human centred design.  Natalie holds an MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management from the University of Galway and has completed her PhD in Trinity College Dublin using role identity theory to explore the paradox of academic researchers commercialising their research.

From a human centred design perspective, Natalie together with her team are leading on two significant projects focussed on transformation change with the University.  Designing Futures is a HEA funded project focussed on transforming the student experience.  A key deliverable of this project is the establishment of an Empathy Lab, the first of its kind within the Irish Higher Education Sector, which will focus on combining the science of human behaviour with the art of human-centred design and utilise a ‘me’ and ‘we’ empathy into action approach. The lab will use a mix of human simulation and virtual reality to cultivate an empathic culture across the campus.  The second project is a European Institute of Technology award, which focuses on International innovation capacity with a strong focus on patient and public engagement.

Additional projects within the units portfolio including EIT Health funded projects Women Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, SCI FI, Innovation Days and ENERGHY- A summer School focussed on citizen centric solutions that seek to democratise health globally

Martha Killilea is the Programme Manager of the PPI Ignite Network @ University of GalwayMartha has been involved with PPI Ignite since 2018, and became the programme manager in April 2021. Martha contributes to each of the work packages within the PPI Ignite Network. She also works with researchers and the public and patients to ensure that the voice of the patient shapes and influences our health and social care research, enhancing the quality, relevance and impact of the research being conducted in University of Galway Martha completed an undergraduate degree in Public and Social Policy at University of Galway in 2016, she continued her studies in University of Galway and.