Royal Irish Academy award

Ella Rhodes reports.

Professor Malcolm ‘Mac’ MacLachlan has become the first psychologist to be awarded a Gold Medal by the Royal Irish Academy. A Professor of Psychology and Social Inclusion at Ireland’s Maynooth University, he is also Research and Innovation Lead for the World Health Organization’s Global Collaboration on Assistive Technology programme.

The Royal Irish Academy is an all-Ireland institution and awards two of its gold medals each year to internationally leading scholars in varied fields. MacLachlan has worked as an academic, clinician, organisational consultant and policy adviser in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, with national governments, civil society, United Nation agencies, and the private sector. His previous appointments include being Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Malawi and holding a Personal Chair in Global Health at Trinity College Dublin, where he was also Director of the Centre for Global Health.

Last year Professor MacLachlan became the founding Director of the Assisting Living & Learning Institute at Maynooth University. His work on the WHO’s Global Collaboration on Assistive Technology has involved working to promote equitable access to assistive technology particularly in poorly resourced regions. He also works as Knowledge Management Lead for the United Nations’ Partnership for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – the largest disability project in the world working across 38 countries to promote structural change that will facilitate the realisation of rights for people with disabilities.

‘Receiving the Gold Medal from the Royal Irish Academy is an honour, and it means a lot to have our research recognised in this way. We will continue to build on this research, in collaboration with partners from government, civil society, corporates and United Nations agencies, in Ireland and internationally, with the intention of making clear and tangible differences to people’s lives.’

MacLachlan is a Fellow of the Psychological Society of Ireland and the British Psychological Society. He was awarded the American Psychological Association’s International Humanitarian Award in 2014. 

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