Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr McConnell is open to PhD applications in the field of:
- Paediatric and adult neurodisability
- Paediatric rehabilitation
- Evidence synthesis
- Patient and public involvement in education


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests

Research statement

Dr. Karen McConnell is a Lecturer in Children's Nursing and a paediatric physiotherapist. She was awarded a PhD by the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast in 2012. Her doctoral research evaluated management of the upper limb in children with cerebral palsy. Karen’s research interests include trends in the prevalence and characteristics of cerebral palsy over time, the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for the cerebral palsy population, physical activity for patients with neurological conditions, and patient and public involvement in research. 


Leadership Roles

Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP), Northern Ireland Secretary & Regional Representative (2017-)

Mae Murray Foundation, Non-executive Director (2022-)


Teaching Roles

Undergraduate teaching: Evidence Based Nursing for Quality Improvement

Postgraduate teaching: Musculoskeletal Care: Orthopaedic Nursing


Completed Research

McConnell and Kerr. (2019) Acceptability and feasibility of Vestibular Nerve Stimulation in children with cerebral palsy. Industry-academic collaboration, funded by Medical Research Council Proximity to Discovery Fund.

McConnell, Johnston and Kerr. (2009-2012) Management of the upper limb in children with cerebral palsy (2009-2012). PhD studentship awarded to McConnell, funded by Department of Education and Learning, Northern Ireland

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 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


  • RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neurodisability
  • Systematic reviews
  • Public involvement


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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