The University of Limerick are merging the existing departments of physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy into a new department of Clinical Therapies which will continue to form part of the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences. This created a vacancy for a new post of Professor and Head of Department and in November 2010 IJA were engaged to search for suitable candidates.

The search process began with a briefing from the Dean, Professor Mary O’Sullivan and the three Heads of the existing departments. None of the latter intended to apply for the new position and were able to make very useful contributions to the brief. This led to a very clear picture of the requirements for the role, namely experience within clinical therapy, strong academic credibility and managerial experience.

The search covered the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Ireland and the United Kingdom. We identified and contacted 154 potential applicants who seemed to have the right level of academic qualifications (PhD) and experience, and the leadership and managerial experience to bring about this change successfully and continue the successful development of teaching and research in clinical therapies. The search also identified a significant number of other academics who looked interesting for the role at first sight, but who were not contacted because they did not appear to completely match the university’s requirements in one or more of the stated key criteria for the position.

16 of the 18 applications came from the search. The University has not yet short-listed for this position.