Dr Martina Roche


Rhetoric House
(01) 708 4566


Dr. Martina Roche is a graduate of NUI Maynooth with a Masters in Geographical Analysis and a PhD in Medical Geography. She worked as a Researcher at the National Cancer Registry from 2002-2005 where she was involved with the production of annual reports, including an all Ireland cancer atlas and a pilot project on cancer among farmers. Following this, as Research Officer for Kildare County Council from 2005-2009, she researched and authored several reports, including a socioeconomic profile of Co. Kildare and a poverty profile of the county. In this role also she established a self-funding County Research & Statistics Office in Co. Kildare and set up an annual 1-year internship in collaboration with the Geography Department, NUI Maynooth for graduates of their HDip in Remote Sensing & GIS.

Martina has taught in a number of positions  at the Department of Geography, Maynooth University since 2009, including acting as subject leader for Geography at Kilkenny Outreach Campus from 2013-2018. She currently lectures in Medical Geography (GY326), Geography of Health & Healthcare (GY606) Rural Geography (GY223).

Martina has broad interests across Medical/Health Geography, inequality, poverty & health and risk perception and how it influences behaviour in various health contexts. She is also interested in the changing rural economy, particularly in the context of the role of women in rural Ireland, rural poverty and the health of rural populations. Until recently her role she has focussed heavily on teaching development.

Her most recent research projects focus on the challenges facing women in rural areas including projects on the consequences and opportunities of COVID-19 for women in rural Ireland (funded by MUSSI) and the HER-SELF (Highlighting pathways to Empower Rural women to have Sustainable and Equitable Livelihoods in Farming) project on women in agriculture (funded by DAFM). 

Research Interests

My research interests fall into two main strands.
1. T
he changing rural economy, particularly in the context of the role of women in rural Ireland and rural poverty. 
2. A focus on Medical/Health Geography, inequality, poverty & health and risk perception and how it influences behaviour in various health contexts. Both research strands interlink through work on the health of rural populations.

My PhD research considered patterns of cancer incidence and mortality in the South Eastern Health Board area and public perceptions of the same using both quantitative and qualitative methods. It found that respondents in three of six communities examined were considerably concerned about rates of cancer incidence and mortality in their local communities but that these perceptions paid little resemblance to actual incidence and mortality patterns in these areas. Neither age, gender nor marital status had any significant impact on these perceptions, instead threats to the ways of life and values of these communities posed by focal points of concern (namely a proposed dump in one community and mobile phone masts in two other communities) played a significant role in generating and perpetuating concern about cancer in these communities. This research emphasised the need for readily accessible small area health data in Ireland and the importance of community perceptions and their implications. This research has lead to a further interest in how risk perception influences behaviour in various health contexts.

Whilst working for the National Cancer Registry, as well as working on geographic analysis of cancer data for annual reports, I also initiated a project on cancer among farmers in Ireland, given that some cancers are more common among farmers.

With my role as Research Officer for Kildare County Council I moved into more socioeconomic research, publishing an atlas style socio-economic profile of the county as well as a poverty profile. In addition, I was funded to carry out research for Kildare County Childcare Committee, Kildare VEC and Kildare County Development Board.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
Women in Farming & the Agriculture Sector in Ireland PI 01/02/2023 31/01/2024 72261.25
Consequences and opportunities of the covid 19 pandemic for women in rural Ireland PI 01/09/2021 31/08/2022 4400
The lived reality of economic inequalities in rural areas as expressed through the lens of migrant women Research Partner 01/11/2022 31/05/2023 17800

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2023 Weir, L. & Roche, M. (2023) XXIXth European Society for Rural Sociology Congress Rural Women are not Passive Recipients to Rural Change: A focus on resilience to enhance women’s quality of life in rural areas Rennes, France, 03/07/2023-07/07/2023.
2022 Roche, M. & Weir, L. (2022) Claiming Our Space: Women in rural Ireland leading change, National Women's Council Conference on Rural Women Women in Rural Ireland During COVID-19 and Beyond Monaghan, .
2022 Weir, L. & Roche, M. (2022) OECD Rural Development Conference: Building sustainable, resilient & thriving rural places Feminising ‘Our Rural Future’: Positioning rural areas as viable liveable options for women Cavan, . [Link]
2005 Roche, M. (2005) Conference of Irish Geographers Understanding Community Concerns about Cancer in the South East Galway, .
2004 Roche, M. (2004) All Ireland Social Medicine Meeting Cancer in the South Eastern Health Board area: Actual Occurrence Versus Public Perceptions of Risk - Winner of poster competition Mayo, .
2003 Walsh, P.M., Roche, M., Deady, S., Comber, H (2003) All-Ireland Cancer Conference Cancer among farmers in Ireland: proportionate risk ratios based on incident cases Cork, .
2000 Roche, M. (2000) Conference of Irish Geographers The Identification of Potential Localised Clusters of Cancer Cases in the South Eastern Health board area Belfast, .
2000 Roche, M (2000) ENRGHI 2000 (Emerging New Research in the Geographies of Health and Impairment) The Identification of Potential Localised Clusters of Cancer Cases in the South Eastern Health board area Portsmouth, .

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2019 Noone S.; Brody A.; Brown S.; Cantwell N.; Coleman M.; Collins L.S.; Darcy C.; Dee D.; Donegan S.; Fealy R.; Flattery P.; McGovern R.; Menkman C.; Murphy M.; Phillips C.; Roche M.; Thorne P. (2019) 'Geo-locate project: A novel approach to resolving meteorological station location issues with the assistance of undergraduate students'. Geoscience Communication, 2 (2):157-171. [DOI] [Full-Text]

Published Report

Year Publication
2008 Roche, M. & Prendergast, D. (2008) A Poverty Profile of Co. Kildare. Kildare County Council, .
2007 Roche, M & Prendergast, D (2007) Lone Parents in Kildare: People, Services & Challenges. Kildare County Council, .
2006 Roche, M. & Prendergast, D. (2006) Mapping Childcare Provision in Co. Kildare. Kildare County Council, .
2006 Roche, M., Walsh, J., Smith, A. & Prendergast, D (2006) Rural-Urban Dynamics in Kildare: Socio-economic patterns and trends. Kildare County Council, .
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Geographical Society of Ireland Member -
European Society for Rural Sociology Member 24/04/2023 -


Committee Function From / To
Social Research Ethics Sub Committee Reviewer 15/09/2022 -


Employer Position From / To
Kildare County Council Research Officer 01/07/2005 - 01/07/2009
National Cancer Registry Researcher 12/05/2002 - 12/05/2005


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
NUI Maynooth Masters in Geographical Analysis Geography
NUI Maynooth Phd Geography

Other Activities

I instigated an annual 1-year Student Internship between NUI Maynooth and Kildare County Council in 2006, which provided work placement for students of the HDip in Remote Sensing & GIS course, Geography Dept, NUI Maynooth and valuable expertise for Kildare County Council.
I established the County Research & Statistics Office at Kildare County Council in October 2005

Teaching Interests

I currently lecture on the following modules:
GY223 Geography of Rural Development 
GY326 Medical Geography 
GY606 Geography of Health & Healthcare 

In the past I have co-ordinated and lectured on GY201 Methods of Geographical analysis 1 & GY202 Methods of Geographical analysis from 2016-2022. I have also co-taught GY152 Living Landscapes 2, taught GY310B Geography Research Workshops and both First Year Human Geography modules (GY161 Global Environments 1 & GY152 Living Landscapes 2) at Kilkenny Outreach Campus where I was Subject Leader for Geography.

I have  planned and co-lead fieldtrip modules both within Ireland (GY205) and abroad (GY206). In 2018, I was part of a team, along with colleagues Dr Rowan Fealy and Dr Simon Noone, who developed synergies between research and teaching by integrating citizen science into the classroom through an innovative project called GEOLOCATE (GEO Locate land Observing ClimAte sTation attributEs) - a project undertaken by GY201 Methods of Geographical Analysis students as part of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), operated by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Union. I have supervised a range of UG thesis projects in both rural geography and medical/health geography.