• Room 0G.432 - David Keir Building

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Focus

Gillian Shorter's work improves the health and wellbeing of people who use alcohol and drugs who are not currently seeking treatment. Her research focuses on reducing stigma and empowering change through three strands:

  1. Determining and understanding effective interventions for people who use alcohol and other drugs who are experiencing or are at risk of harm (e.g. alcohol brief interventions, drug consumption rooms, overdose prevention centres, harm reduction initiatives for alcohol).
  2. Developing methods for intervention and other evaluation (e.g. recruitment to trials, trial retention, intervention mapping, behaviour change, open science).
  3. Developing core outcome sets to prioritise measures of change and improve the evidence base (e.g. core outcome sets or minimum data standards for alcohol and drugs and their psychometric properties).

Gillian's research has been supported by over five million in research funding. Current funders are National Institute for Health Research, Health Service Executive (Ireland), Health Research Board (Ireland), Higher Education Authority (Ireland), Forte (Sweden), Cancerfonden (Sweden), and Drug Science (UK).

Previous grants include projects funded by the Medical Research Council, HSC Public Health Agency, Alcohol Research UK, Extern, Economic and Social Research Council, British Tinnitus Association, Placental Analytics (USA), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), University of York, Home Office, Ulster University, Linköping University, and University of Nottingham.


Gillian Shorter has conducted research in alcohol and other drug use for over 19 years. She co-Directs the Drug and Alcohol Research Network, an Internationally recognised interdisciplinary research cluster in the addictions at Queen's University Belfast (with co-Director Dr Anne Campbell).

Gillian's employment history

  • Reader in Psychology, Ulster University (2018-2020)
  • Lecturer in Psychology, Ulster University (2018)
  • Research Fellow, Teesside University (part-time 2016-2018)
  • Research Fellow, Ulster University (part-time 2016-2018)
  • Promoted to Senior Research Fellow by Trinity College Dublin (2016)
  • Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin/Health Services Executive Mental Health Services South Dublin (2015-2016)
  • Medical Research Council funded Lecturer in Population and Clinical Trials Methodology at the MRC All Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research, part of the UK MRC Hubs for Trials Methodology Research (2012-2015)
  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Nottingham Trent University (2008-2012)

She joined the School of Psychology in July 2020.

Gillian has supervised 14 PhD/DClinPsy Researchers to successful completion Dr Abby Hunter (McCormack), Dr Daria Kuss, Dr Jane Rigbye, Dr Lucy Handscomb, Dr Lydia Devenney, Dr Vanessa Gstrein, Dr Kenneth Ross, Dr Jane Williams, Dr Clara Wilson, Dr Nicole Miller, Dr Niamh Ní Cheallaigh, Dr Elisabeth Cowdean, Dr Zoe Woods (Campbell), and Dr Luke McCann (5 as Principal Supervisor).

Her current Doctoral level students are

  1. John McQuaide - PhD Ulster University
  2. Ben Scher - DPhil University of Oxford (SSA studentship)
  3. Juliette Allen - PhD Liverpool John Moores University
  4. Caoimhe Shields - PhD Queen's University Belfast


Gillian teaches:

PSY7100 Health Behaviour Change

PSY7104 Research Design and Essential Methods in Psychology

PSY7066 Quantitative Data Analysis II

PSY3131 Forensic Psychology and Crime

PSY3132 Contemporary issues in addiction and mental health (Module Leader)

PSY7105 Placement MSc Clinical Health Psychology (Module Leader)

PSY3136: Using Psychology to Tackle Social Issues: The Role of Applied Research and Evaluation

She supervises Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Research Dissertations on substance use topics; so too, dissertations for the MSc Clinical Health Psychology degrees.

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 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • BF Psychology
  • behaviour change
  • alcohol
  • drug use
  • interventions
  • methodology
  • behavioural science
  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
  • behaviour change
  • alcohol
  • drug use
  • interventions
  • methodology
  • behavioural science


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