Meet the Team

Darran Heaney

Project Manager

Darran is a Project Manager with the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, leading on FUSE. Darran has several years experience working as part of the DCU Access Programme and was overall coordinator of the Access TY programme working with 20 DEIS schools in North Dublin. Darran has over fifteen years’ experience in Event and Project Management, Marketing and Public Relations. He is a graduate of DCU, completing a Masters in Education and Training Management, eLearning Strand in 2012 and qualified as an Executive & Life Coach in 2016.

Aikaterini Sargioti

Research Assistant

Aikaterini Sargioti is a Research Assistant for FUSE, in the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, DCU. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education (BEd) and a Master of Science (MSc) in Educational Sciences with a specialism in natural sciences in education. Aikaterini’s field of expertise is research methodology and quantitative data analysis. She has participated in several research projects that required specialized data analysis techniques.

James O’Higgins Norman

Director, ABC

Prof. James O’Higgins Norman holds the prestigious UNESCO Chair on Tackling Bullying in Schools and Cyberspace and is the Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) and Professor of Sociology at DCU. Prof. O’Higgins Norman has led 23 projects as PI worth EUR 4,126,070 and guided 12 PhD students over the past 20 years. He co-led the first national studies on homophobic bullying in second level schools in Ireland (2003; 2006). He has worked on projects funded by the EU Commission, Fulbright, the Government of Ireland and the Irish Human Rights Commission.  He has also led studies on cyberbullying and gender (2011; 2014).  More recently he has worked on projects on workplace bullying (2015), and parental capacities in relation to cyberbullying (2016).  In 2015 he was awarded the US Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Education. In May 2012 he was invited to participate in the National Anti-Bullying Forum sponsored by the Government of Ireland at the Department of Education and Skills. He also extended his work on bullying to include research on cyberbullying and his research on bullying and education is published in journals including the British Journal of Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, and the British Journal of Educational Psychology. In 2010 he co-edited the International Handbook on Education for Spirituality, Care and Wellbeing (Netherlands: Springer). In addition to his publications he has also been consulted and deposed on issues related to equality and education. In 2012 he was awarded a research scholarship funded by the US State Department which allowed him to participate in research on alternatives to political violence in Boston College’s Irish Institute. As an academic at DCU he has contributed to education debates and has been consulted by the media as a spokesperson on educational and social issues. James is a member of the Government of Ireland’s National Advisory Council for Online Safety (NACOS).

David Swaine

David Swaine is the Education Project Coordinator for the FUSE Learning Programmes, based in the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC). David comes from a teaching background, and also previously worked as Education and Training Manager in Pieta House; where he developed successful training programmes for learners at second and third-level, delivering these around Ireland.

He has also guest-lectured on the suicide and self-harm module of the MSc Rehabilitation and Disability Studies in University College Dublin.
David is a graduate of St. Patrick’s, Drumcondra; with a first-class honours degree in Humanities (English and History). He also holds a H.Dip in Adult and Further Education from Maynooth University and an M.Phil. in Irish Writing from Trinity College Dublin.

Paloma Viejo Otero

Paloma joined FUSE in March 2020, but had a history of collaboration with ABC since 2015 whilst researching hate speech in social media at DCU. Her background is as both researcher and practitioner and this is why FUSE is a very exciting project. FUSE is both a research and an intervention educational programme and Paloma wants to ensure that all interventions that emanate from FUSE have a solid research foundation, but also, that this research is adaptable for students and operational for school front liners.

Paloma is a PhD for DCU, where she has researched Hate Speech in Social Media. She obtained her MPhil in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict from Trinity College Dublin, and holds a MA in Culture Studies and Arts Management from the Instituto de Investigación Ortega y Spain. Paloma also has extensive professional experience in the public and not-for-profit sector such as; the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan and Guatemala; UNESCO in Paris, Migrants Right Center Dublin; Council of Europe, and the Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin.

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