Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Global Sexual and Reproductive Health; Relationship and Sexuality Education; Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health; Maternal Sexual and Reproductive; Maternal Mental Health; Gender Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Statement

Dr Aventin is a Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). She is a social psychologist who specialises in complex behavioural intervention development, optimisation and evaluation. Her research focuses on addressing global challenges in sexual and reproductive health and perinatal mental health.

Previously an awardee of a prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship at Queen’s University Belfast, she is currently co-leading a UKRI/MRC funded project in Southern Africa involving optimisation and evaluation of gender transformative sexual and reproductive health interventions for adolescents. She was also co-Principal Investigator of the CEDIL/DFID funded INVOLVE_FP Project, which involved a systematic review of interventions involving men and boys in low- and middle-income countries family planning.

Áine is an experienced public health researcher, having worked as principal investigator and co-investigator on a number of multi-disciplinary international studies involving several partner institutions. As co-investigator and lead researcher on the JACK Trial, which was funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), she co-led the design and development of a film-based sexual health intervention targeting teenage men, If I Were Jack, and managed its evaluation in a UK-Wide Randomised Controlled Trial. She also led a PHANI funded project to develop an integrated parent-based component involving animated films. The Jack Trial research has led to global collaborations involving the co-design of similar interventions in Southern Africa funded by the UK MRC Global Challenges Research Fund (MRC GCRF) and the UK Medical Research Council.

Áine is currently leading a programme of research on pregnancy loss and mental health. She is Chair of the Northern Ireland Pregnancy Loss Research and Policy Network and Principal Investigator of the PRESENT study which is examining trauma, grief and compassion-focused interventions for parents who experienced pregnancy or infant loss following a prenatal anomaly diagnosis.  

Áine contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and currently supervises several PhD projects, which focus on pregnancy loss, intimate partner violence, and perinatal mental health.

Leadership Roles

  • Postdoctoral Advisor, School of Nursing & Midwifery, QUB
  • Network Lead (Northern Ireland Pregnancy Loss Research and Policy Network) A growing network of professionals in Northern Ireland with an interest in pregnancy loss practice, research and policy. 
  • Network Lead (INVOLVE_FP International Expert Advisory Group). A global network of experts in the involvement of men and boys in family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Fellows’ Ambassador, Faculty Postdoctoral Research Committee
  • External Reviewer:  Sex Education, BMC Public Health, PLOS Global Health, Campbell Collaboration, Women's Health, NIHR Public Health Research Programme,  Psych, Journal of Family Violence, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Trials, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Research Projects

  • Adaptation of cognitive-behavioural interventions for parents in Northern Ireland experiencing baby loss during or shortly after pregnancy, April 2023 – Oct -2024, Principal Investigator.
  • Optimisation and feasibility trial of a gender transformative Intervention for teenage men in South Africa and Lesotho,UKRI/MRC Global Adolescent Health Programme, £639,000,January 2021 – May 2023, Co-Principal Investigator with Dr Sarah Skeen (Stellenbosch University, South Africa).
  • Involving Men and Boys in Family Planning: A systematic review of complex interventions to identify effective programme components and characteristics in low- and middle-income countries, CEDIL (UKAID/DFID),£200,000, March 2020 – July 2021, Co-Principal Investigator with Prof Maria Lohan.
  • Reducing unintended teenage pregnancy and HIV rates in South Africa and Lesotho by involving adolescent boys: Co-design of a culturally sensitive, gender-transformative, community-based, educational intervention, Department for the Economy Northern Ireland Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) Award, £35,000, July 2019 – Dec 2019, Principal Investigator.
  • Examining the characteristics, outcomes, and impact of a Gender Transformative approach with men and boys to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights; World Health Organisation, £64,150, May 2019-February 2020, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, £40,000, Sept 2018 – Aug 2021, Principal Investigator.
  • The JACK Trial: Evaluation of an interactive film-based intervention to reduce teenage pregnancy and promote positive sexual health, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), £1.7million, Jan 2017 – Dec 2020, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.
  • JACK Trial: An intervention refinement to the parental component, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland Research and Development Office, Enabling Research Award, £35,742, May - Aug 2016, Principal Investigator.
  • What young men need in relationship and sexuality education: evaluation of a targeted intervention, Health Service Executive Ireland, Crisis Pregnancy Programme, £60,300, Oct 2014 – Sept 2017, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.
  • Increasing boys’ and girls’ intention to avoid teenage pregnancy: feasibility study and pilot RCT of an interactive video-drama based intervention in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), £300,749, May 2014 – Apr 2016, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.

Teaching roles

  • Module Co-ordinator: Public Health and Caring for People with Chronic Healthcare Needs, Graduate Entry Masters in Nursing  (GEM 7102)
  • Module Co-Ordinator: Quality Improvement in An Inter-Professional Context Part A, Graduate Entry Masters in Nursing (GEM7104) 
  • Module Co-Ordinator: Quality Improvement in An Inter-Professional Context Part B, Graduate Entry Masters in Nursing (GEM7105) 


Research Interests

Maternal and Child Health; Reproductive Health; Sexual Health; Adolescent Health; Global Sexual and Reproductive Health; Parental Health; Mental Health; Pregnancy Loss; Miscarriage; Fatal Fetal Anomaly; Stillbirth; Prenatal Diagnosis; Digital Technology and Health Behaviour; Schools-based Randomised Controlled Trials; Complex Interventions; Programme Development and Evaluation; Systematic Reviews; Social Research Methodology

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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