• Room 02.009 - Geography Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: -The geographies of ethnic diversity -Residential segregation -Internal migration -Ethnic and racial inequalities


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Personal profile

Research Interests

Dr Gemma Catney is a Population and Social Geographer with research interests in ethnic residential segregation and diversity, ethnic inequalities, and internal migration. She is fascinated by how neighbourhoods both shape, and are shaped by, the experiences of those who live in them.

In 2019, Gemma was the recipient of the prestigious Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers Gill Memorial Award, for outstanding early career research. From 2012 to 2014, she held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, to explore the ‘Geographies of ethnic and social segregation in England and Wales, 1991-2011'. 

Gemma's main research focuses include (i) the changing residential geographies of ethnic diversity, mixing and segregation; (ii) the relationship between ethnic concentrations and neighbourhood deprivation; (iii) labour market inequalities between ethnic groups, in particular the role of place in influencing employment outcomes; and (iv) the multiple scales of neighbourhood identity. In exploring these issues, she has developed expertise in the analysis of individual and area level Census data, making use of longitudinal and advanced spatial methods. She is mostly, although not exclusively, a quantitative Social Scientist, but thinking critically about numbers is central to her research approach.

Prior to joining Queen's University Belfast in 2019, Gemma was Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool. She has held research positions at the University of Manchester and Queen's University Belfast, where she gained her PhD in Geography. Gemma was on maternity leave in 2018.

Gemma has published widely in leading international journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Urban Studies, and Population, Space and Place. Her research has attracted funding from the Leverhulme Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council, British Academy, the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, and the Health and Social Care Board. Gemma's research has been used as evidence in government reviews, cited in numerous policy reports, and featured in the national (The Guardian, The Economist, BBC) and local press.

Gemma serves on the Editorial Boards of The Geographical Journal and Population, Space and Place, and previously Urban Geography. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (FRGS), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Gemma is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, and of the Office for National Statistics Ethnic Group Assurance Panel. 


Gemma is External Examiner for Social Statistics (undergraduate) at the University of Manchester.

Key teaching responsibilities at QUB Geography include:

GGY3088 Geographies of Ethnicity

GGY3081 Dissertation

GGY2055 Geographical Research Skills

GGY1012 Human Geography: Society, Economy and Population

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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