2022 Annual Conference


The SPHeRE Network 8th Annual Conference

“Wicked Policy Problems – Pulling Back the Curtain”

will take place on Tuesday 29th March 2022, online.


The aim of the SPHeRE 8th Annual Conference 2022 is to highlight, explore and make accessible the dynamics of policy process and implementation. Although our audience is often focussed on service delivery and population health challenges, we believe the policy context sets the parameters of these realities in many ways. The conference is an opportunity to candidly discuss how policy works through the politics of a given time, though the complexity of large health and social care systems, and the practical implementation of change in different clinical and service delivery settings. Some policy shifts come through windows of opportunity, some are slow evidence-building, stakeholder engagement exercises in the long-term – all can be wicked! Our goal is to pull back the curtain on any notions of wizardry in the policy space and open a useful discussion on how policy works best.


Registration is now closed for the conference, but if you have any questions please email sphereconference@gmail.com


Keynote Speakers


Prof Lucy Gilson holds the appointment of professor both at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.  Her research broadly focuses on how to strengthen health systems to offer better public value, with particular concern for health equity. She has a track record of research around: health policy implementation; decentralisation, district health systems and primary health care; user fees and financing issues; governance, leadership and management. As she has a particular interest in understanding health system actors’ decision-making, her work also considers how trust and power relations shape health system dynamics and complexity – recognising these relations as critical elements of health system software, and important in health system resilience. Lucy’s postgraduate teaching focuses on health policy, health leadership, health systems and health policy and systems research. In South Africa, she engages closely with the Western Cape Department of Health, supporting health system development and working closely with the South African Collaboration for Health Systems Analysis and Innovation (CHESAI). She is a Board Member of Health Systems Global and a section editor for Health Policy Processes of the journal Health Policy and Planning.


Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health

Dr. Glynn has been the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health since 2018. He has been a core part of the national response to COVID-19, including as Acting Chief Medical Officer and Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) for six months of the pandemic. Having originally trained as a physiotherapist and medical doctor at UCD and the University of Aberdeen, respectively, Ronan was subsequently awarded a PhD in surgical oncology and has post-graduate qualifications in surgery, public health medicine, healthcare quality and safety and health systems leadership.

Professor Philip Nolan MB, BCh, BAO, BSc, PhD, MRIA
Director-General of SFIProfessor Philip Nolan earned his degrees in Physiology (1988) and Medicine (1991) at University College Dublin (UCD) and was subsequently awarded a PhD in Physiology for his research on the control of breathing and the cardiovascular system during sleep. He is an accomplished researcher, with interests in physiological signal processing and control systems, and publications in the leading journals in the field. He joined the academic staff of theDepartment of Human Anatomy and Physiology at UCD in 1996, winning President’s Awards for both Research and Teaching He was appointed Director of the UCD Conway Institute for Biomolecular and Biomedical Research in 2003, before becoming Registrar and Deputy President at UCD in 2004, where he led an institution-wide reform of the undergraduate curriculum, the UCD Horizons programme, and was responsible for access and widening participation, postgraduate studies, international partnerships, and library and information technology services.In August 2011, Professor Nolan was appointed President of Maynooth University. Early in his tenure he established a new strategy for the University in its research, teaching and engagement activities, which saw unprecedented growth and diversification of teaching and research, and a doubling of the research capacity of the University. He has contributed to important developments in higher education in Ireland, specifically in reforming the transition from second to third level, in widening participation in higher education, and in promoting equality and diversity.He has more recently been centrally involved in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team, chairing its disease modelling subgroup.

He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

Professor Nolan took up the role of Director-General of SFI on 17 January 2022.

Prof Joachim P Sturmberg MBBS, DRACOG, MFM, FRACGP, PhD

A/Prof of General Practice, College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing, University of Newcastle – Australia

Between 1989 and 2019 Joachim was a principal partner at Wamberal Surgery, Wamberal – Australia. He continues to care for residents in a large nursing home. Joachim is the Foundation President of the International Society for Systems and Complexity Sciences for Health (ISSCSH), and he remains actively involved in the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as well as co-leading the special interest groups in complexity in WONCA, ESPCH and NAPCRG. He has been instrumental in initiating the International Conferences for Systems and Complexity Sciences for Health.

His research work began in 1995 and has focused on the application of systems and complexity principles to health care delivery, health policy and health systems organisation. He has been invited to speak on these topics in Europe and North America, he has published extensively on these topics in peer-reviewed journals, has written two textbooks and multiple book chapters on these topics.

Current research collaborations focus on the nature of multimorbidity, and the systemic failings of the nursing home sector.

If you have any questions please email sphereconference@gmail.com