Individual Research Career Development Award: Iria Cunha

Iria Cunha In progress  


Iria Cunha commenced her professional role in adult social care in 2014 at Springfield Healthcare Care Villages, developing in roles that support older people to engage in meaningful activities that promote their quality of life. She started as an Activities Coordinator, progressing into a leadership role as Dementia & Wellbeing Lead.

Alongside her current role as Dementia and Wellbeing Lead, Iria works in a care and academic partnership: Nurturing Innovation in Care Home Excellence in Leeds (NICHE-Leeds) as Practice Linking Pin.

Her interest in research was sparked in 2019 whilst undertaking a Level 5 Diploma and learning about developing research questions, methods, ethical considerations, and collecting and analysing data. She conducted a project to evaluate the effects of using a Mobile Sensory Trolley as an activity for people living with dementia in a care home.

Over the past 8 years Iria has gained in-depth practice-based knowledge of care home practice, and more recently has started to build research skills and experience.


This career development award aims to support Iria to complete a Master’s degree in dementia studies. She will also:

  • Lead small scale research activities in the NICHE-Leeds partnership;
  • Enhance her professional and academic network through research and related activities; and
  • Develop to be ‘PhD ready’.