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Dr. Niamh Murphy


Lecturer and Researcher

School/ Department:

Health Sciences - Sport And Exercise Science - Research Staff Forum


+353 0 51302400

Mobile Number:

051 302400

Room Name/ Num:

110 O'Connell Bianconi - Health Sciences Building


Main Campus

OrcID Number:



My Biography

Dr Niamh Murphy is Course Leader for the BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion, and leads the Centre for Health Behaviour Research in WIT. Niamh has a background in physical education, and Masters and PhD specialisms in exercise physiology, and health promotion. She has supervised over 30 Masters and PhD students. Dr Murphy has over 20 years experience in teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in WIT, and previously in UCC and QUB. She has published consistently and current and recent projects include the Irish Physical Activity Research Collaboration (I-PARC), the promotion of cycling and walking nationally and regionally, student sport and physical activity, evaluations of the GAA Healthy Club project and the Irish Men’s Sheds Association Sheds for Life project. She is joint lead of the WHO Europe Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA) Working Group on Physical Activity and Social Disadvantage and a steering group member of the Network. She has a particular interst in community health promotion and physical activity promotion at the population level.


Current and recent research projects and awards

HRB Applied Partnership Award, I-PARC, Co-investigator 2018.

HEA Mobility award 2017, 2018 and 2019 


The Student Activity and Sport Study Ireland (SASSI). A partnership between WIT, UUJ, DCU , UL and Student Sport Ireland http://www.studentsport.ie/?cat=44

Evaluation of the GAA Healthy Club initiative. Co-investigator, Dr Aoife Lane, Athlone IT. http://www.gaa.ie/clubzone/gaa-healthy-club-project/

Developing a ccycling culture in Irish towns. Co-invesigator Dr Barry Lambe.

Evaluation of the impact of Smarter Travel policy on active travel and physical activity across three Irish towns. Co-investigator Dr Barry Lambe.

CARDI Data mining award. Stay Active-the physical activity, ageing and health study. Collaboration with Mary Immaculate College, DCU, and UUJ

World Health Organisation and European Commission (DG Sanco, grant agreement 2009 52 02) project to promote networking and action for healthy and equitable environments for physical activity (PHAN).

Join In- sport for migrant youth project funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture, within the framework of the program for the preparatory action in the field of sport.

Irish Sports Council. An evaluation of the public health impact of the women’s mini marathon. http://www.irishsportscouncil.ie/Research/Mass_Participation_Sporting_Events_2010_/


Most recent publications

Lane A,  Murphy N, Regan C, Donohoe, A (2020).A Healthy Sports Club Initiative in Action in Ireland.  Health Education Journal, 1-13, Published online 10 February 2020  https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896920903755.

Sheehan P, Denieffe S,  Murphy NM, Harrison M (2020).  Exercise is more effective than health education in reducing fatigue in fatigued cancer survivors Supportive Care in Cancer https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05328-w. Published online 4 February 2020

Murphy JJ, Woods CB, Murphy MH, Murphy N, Byrne N, MacDonncha C (2019). Student Activity and Sport Study Ireland: Protocol for a Web-Based Survey and Environmental Audit Tool for Assessing the Impact of Multiple Factors on University Students’ Physical Activity. JMIR Res Protoc 2019 (Feb 21); 8(2):e10823 https://www.researchprotocols.org/2019/2/e10823

Murphy, J. J., MacDonncha, C., Murphy, M. H., Murphy, N., Nevill, A. M., & Woods, C. B. (2019) What Psychosocial Factors Determine the Physical Activity Patterns of University Students?, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, April 2019, 16(5), 325-332.

Murphy JJ, MacDonncha C, Murphy MH, Murphy NM, Timperio A5, Leech RM, Woods C (2019). Identification of health-related behavioural clusters and their association with demographic characteristics in Irish university students. BMC Public Health (2019) 19:121 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6453-6

Murphy MH, Carlin A, Woods C, Nevill A, MacDonncha C, Ferguson K, Murphy NM (2018).  Active students are healthier and happier than their inactive peers: the results of a large representative cross sectional study of university students in Ireland. JPAH, 2018, 15, 737-746

Lambe B, Murphy NM, Bauman A (2017). Smarter Travel, car restriction and reticence; understanding the process in Ireland's active travel towns.  Case Studies on Transport Policy, 5,2, 208-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cstp.2017.02.003

Lambe B, Murphy NM, Bauman A (2017). Active travel to primary schools in Ireland: an opportunistic evaluation of a natural experiment. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 14, 6, 448 -454

Murphy JJ, Murphy MH, MacDonncha C, Murphy NM, Nevill AM, Woods C (2017) Validity and Reliability of Three Self-Report Instruments for Assessing Attainment of Physical Activity Guidelines in University Students. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, first published online 23 March 2017  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1091367X.2017.1297711?needAccess=true

Lane A, Murphy N, Donohue A, Regan C (2016). Health promotion orientation of GAA sports clubs in Ireland. Sport in Society. First published online http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2016.1173920

Lane, A., Murphy, N., and Callaghan, D. (2018).The Health Impact of the GAA Healthy Club Project.Centre for Health Behaviour Research, WIT, Waterford, Ireland.

Murphy, MH., Murphy, N., MacDonncha, C., Woods, C., Byrne, N., Ferguson, K., and Nevill, AM (2016) Student Activity and Sports Study Ireland (SASSI). Commissioned and published by Student Sport Ireland.

Murphy N.M., Lane A., Bauman A. Leveraging mass participation events for sustainable health legacy. Leisure Studies. 2015. 05/2015; DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1037787

Murtagh E.M, Murphy M.H., Murphy N.M., Woods C. Nevill A.M.,  Lane A. Prevalence and correlates of physical inactivity in community-dwelling older adults in Ireland. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 11;10(2)

Harrington D.M. , Belton, S., Coppinger T., Cullen M., Donnelly A., Dowd K.,Keating T., Layte R., Murphy M., Murphy N., Murtagh E., Woods C. Results From Ireland’s 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2014, 11(Supp 1), S63-S68

Chambers FC, Murphy N, Murphy O, Nolan YM (2014). William. In K. Armour (Ed). Pedagogical Cases in Physical Education and Youth Sport. London: Routledge.

Lane A, Murphy NM, Bauman A. (2013) An effort to ‘leverage’ the effect of participation in a mass event on physical activity. Health Promotion International. First published online: November 13, 2013.

Lane A, Harrison M, Murphy N. Screen Time Increases Risk of Overweight and Obesity in Active and Inactive 9 Year Old Irish Children: A Cross Sectional Analysis. J Phys Act Health. 2013 Jun 24. [Epub ahead of print] 11, Issue 5, June 2014.

Bauman AE, Murphy NM, Matsudo V. (2013). Is a Population-Level Physical Activity Legacy of the London 2012 Olympics Likely? Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2013, 10, 1-4

Lane A, Murphy NM, Bauman A. (2012). Active for a day: predictors of relapse among previously active mass event participants.  Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 9, 48-52.

Cummins NM, Jakeman PM, Sestak I, Murphy N, Carroll P.  (2013) Determining the effects of behavioural risk factors and prevalence of osteoporosis in Irish pre and post-menopausal women.  Irish Journal of Medical Science 182(10): 97-105.

Vuillemin A, Kahlmeier S, van Mechelen W, Racioppi F, Vasankari T and the HEPA Europe Steering Committee. HEPA Europe – The European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity. Russian Journal on Preventive Medicine. November 2013, In press.

Lane A, Murphy NM, Bauman A, Chey T (2010). Randomised controlled trial to increase physical activity among insufficiently active women following their participation in a mass event. Health Education Journal, 3, 287-296.

Bauman A, Murphy N, Lane A (2009). The role of community programmes and mass events in promoting physical activity to patients. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43, 44-46

Cummins NM, Day JCC, Wren A, Carroll P, Murphy N, Jakeman PM, Towler MR (2010).  Raman spectroscopy of fingernails: A novel tool for evaluation of bone quality? Spectroscopy 24, 517–524

Murphy NM, Bauman A (2007). Mass sporting and physical activity events: are they bread and circuses or public health interventions to increase population levels of physical activity? Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 4, 193-202.

Salmon J, Booth ML, Phongsavan P, Murphy N, Timperio A (2007). Promoting physical activity participation among children and adolescents: a narrative review. Epidemiologic Reviews, June 1-15.

Murphy NM, Ni Dhuinn M, Brown P, O’Rathaile, M (2006). Physical activity for bone health in inactive teenage girls-is a supervised, teacher-led program or self-led program best? Journal of Adolescent Health,39, 4, 508-514.

Harrison M, Murphy N, Burns C,  Heslin J, McGuinness M (2006). Influence of a health education intervention on physical activity and screen inactivity in Irish primary school children: Switch Off-Get Active. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 9, 5, 388-394.


Selected conference presentations

HEPA Europe conferences 2018 (Zagreb), 2017 (Belfast), 2015 (Istanbul), 2014 (Zurich), 2013 (Helsinki), 2012 (Cardiff); 2011 (Amsterdam);  2010 (Olomouc Czech Republic);  International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity conferences 2015 (Edinburgh), 2012 (Ghent); 2009 (Lisbon); 2007 (Oslo)

International  Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health  2018 (London), 2014 (Rio de Janeiro); 2012 (Sydney); 2010 (Toronto);   PEPAYS annual meetings, UL 2015; WIT June 2014; DCU June 2013; University of Limerick, June 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008; Keynote addresses at ISCA MOVE Congress 2015 (Copenhagen) and 2014 (Rome); European Cancer conference, Dublin 2013; Commonwealth seminar series, Glasgow June 2014; Nutrition and Health Foundation conference, Dublin 2012; Irish Association for the Study of Obesity conference , Dublin 2012, Irish sport science postgraduate conference 2014, University of Limerick.



Public health

Principles of health promotion and other practical health promotion modules on evaluation and implementation

Physical activity and health modules

Determinnats of health module on Masters in Advanced Facilitation Skills for Health and Wellbeing


Niamh is involved in physical activity and health related research and policy nationally and internationally. At EU level she was a member of the WHO physical activity networking project on promoting physical activity in socially disadvantaged groups. Niamh is an executive member of the steering committee of the Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA) Europe network  and group leader of the Working Group on social disadvantage and physical activity. She leads the TEACH CoLab project (Transnational Education and Community Health Collaboratory), a partnership with the University of Washington Bothell in Seattle.

She was also a partner in the EU funded "JoinIn" project on social inclusion in sport. In Ireland, as part of the national physical activity steering group, she was involved in writing and helping to implement the physical activity guidelines and physical activity plan for Ireland. Peer reviewed publications include research work on the impact of community based health promotion projects, the impact of mass events on population physical activity, social disadvantage and physical activity, the impact of the GAA healthy clubs project, active travel and student health and physical activity.

Membership of professional bodies: International Society for Physical Activity and Health, International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Association for Health Promotion Ireland; PEPAYS Ireland, Exercise and Sport Science Association of Ireland, International Union for Health Promotion and Education

Refereeing: Health Promotion International; Journal of Sport and Exercise Sciences; Journal of Adolescent Health; Journal of Physical Activity and Health; Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; British Journal of Nutrition; Event Management; Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness


Ex-international athlete (cross country, road and track),  triathlete, cyclist and youth coach.