Spotlight on: The Trinity College Dublin CONUNDRUM research team

Building on our last SPOTLIGHT piece which described our UCD research team, this SPOTLIGHT introduces the research team at  University College Dublin (UCD). 

Professor Brian Caulfield is the co-principal investigator and co-led the application for the Science Foundation Ireland Sustainable Communities Challenge funding for CONUNDRUM. Currently serving as a Professor in Transportation in the Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering, as well as a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, Brian has commenced an intensive research programme addressing global challenges that also are of concern to Ireland such as the environmental impacts of transport and methods to decarbonise the transport sector. In 2017, he addressed the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on this topic. He has also provided expertise to the Climate Change Advisory Council on pathways to reduce transport emissions by 2030. Additionally, Brian was a member of the Steering Group for the review and update of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Transport Strategy with the National Transport Authority.

Brian is committed to facilitating knowledge exchange to enhance understanding, foster collaboration, and implement practical changes that benefit society. This includes translating research insights into policy and addressing policy needs through targeted research. He actively engages in community-focused research and firmly believes in the critical importance of the nexus between policy, practice, and research.

He has authored over 200 collaborative research papers in the areas of sustainable transport and climate change policy, published in high-impact international journals and presented at global conferences. To date, he has been awarded approximately €7.8 million in research funding from sources.

Brian’s past work has focused on the intersection of transport and climate change. In particular, his research encompasses three core elements which are crucial to the beginnings of CONUNDRUM: the decarbonisation of the transport sector, moving towards equitable and sustainable urban transport with a focus on disadvantaged parts of society, and policy analysis and formulation, aiding policymakers to make informed decisions regarding decarbonisation and equity in the transportation sector. His approach is exemplified in his leadership of previous and ongoing projects such as eHUBS (Interreg NWE), ROBUST (SEAI), Terrain-AI (SFI and Microsoft), TRACT (SEAI), ICCA (EPA), and the DLR Active Travel Testbed Project. In these initiatives, he focused on quantifying transport emissions, enhancing mobility through improved accessibility and affordability of transport, and promoting health and well-being through active mobility. Additionally, his work aimed at creating economic opportunities and ensuring just transitions. He also prioritises knowledge exchange and social equity, integral elements across all his projects.

Dr Keyvan Hosseini joined the TCD CONUNDRUM team in September 2023, bringing with him an interdisciplinary background in engineering, management science, and public policy. Previously, he was involved in the eHUBS project funded by Interreg NWE at Trinity College Dublin. The eHUBS project focused on developing shared electric mobility hubs as sustainable alternatives to private automobility.

Keyvan’s research interests span geographic information systems (GIS), just transition, systems analysis, and operational research, including Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM), Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), and Soft Systems Methodology. More specifically, his research is centred on transport economics and shared mobility, focusing on addressing car dependence and developing public policies to enhance accessibility and affordability in the sector, with an emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030).

Together, the team at TCD has been collaborating closely with colleagues at UCD to compile a literature review focused on community-engaged research and projects, as well as co-creation methodologies. With weekly check-in meetings, we are excited to advance to the next phase of the CONUNDRUM project. This phase will actively involve working with communities and employing soft operational research methods and QGIS mapping, as well as engaging in stakeholder interviews and focus groups to explore and address the complexities of the transport issue in Enniscorthy and to develop community-led mobility solutions.