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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Design, implementation and evaluation of educational programmes and social innovation
- Community based participatory research
- Critical thinking
- Educational attainment
- Social and emotional learning
- Wellbeing


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests

My overarching research interest is the investigation of social and educational innovation. Generally, my work uses design, implementation and evaluation research to study innovative programmes and supports which aim to improve population level social outcomes such as attainment and wellbeing.  I have a particular focus on improving attainment and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people in disadvantaged schools or communities. To achieve this, I work extensively with a wide range of stakeholders and utilise my considerable expertise in education, psychology and public health research methods including: programme logic modelling; participatory co-design of social innovation; implementation science; psychometrics; and using randomised controlled trials to evaluate programme effectiveness.

Research Statement

Dr Liam O’Hare  PhD, CPsychol, FHEA

Principal Research Fellow | School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work 

Director | QUB Innovation Zones

Director | STRIDE Consultants

Extraordinary Associate Professor | University of Stellenbosch, South Africa 

Fellow | The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

I am an experienced Principal Investigator and research programme leader. I have been awarded research funding of over £5,000,000 to investigate social and educational innovation. Over the last 20 years I have delivered and evaluated evidence-informed programmes in disadvantaged communities with many 1000’s of young people and their families. I have successfully managed over 20 research and practice innovation projects, which have involved the supervision and of more than 20 research fellows, administration staff and PhD students. Please see 'Project' tab above for more information.

I am the Director of the Innovation Zones (in the Colin and Shankill areas of West Belfast - https://www.qub.ac.uk/social-charter/equality/zones/).  This Queen's University Social Charter Signature project is a long term (over the last 10 years) and sustained partnership between Queen's and two local disadvantaged communities and the many professionals, organisations, policymakers etc. working within those communities. The work has the aim of increasing the co-production of research evidence, which has the reciprocal benefits of academia investigating more relevant and impactful social issues and communities using more evidence informed approaches for moving towards their social development goals. All of which has the shared outcome of helping people realise their full potential and breaking longstanding cycles of disadvantage. A further intention is that Queen's University and these two communities become beacons of social innovation research nationally and internationally.

As well as leading the work in the Innovation Zones, I am an Extraordinary Associate Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa where I work closely with Institute for Life Course Health Research and their Masiphuhlisane Research Centre in the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town. I also act as Trustee of Parenting NI. I am a former Executive Chair of the Children’s Research Network of Ireland and Northern Ireland; and former Operations Manager of Improving Children’s Lives interdisciplinary research initiative at Queen’s. In all these roles, I have initiated and led the organisation of over 30 public engagement events for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. I have written numerous  research papers and reports as well as articles that have been featured in national and international media outlets. Please see 'Research Output' tab above for more details.

I also work extensively with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and have conducted many projects that have contributed to their globally recognised Teaching and Learning Toolkit. I am also the Director of a social impact consultancy at Queen's called STRIDE.


I am a research supervisor for a number of Doctoral level students (please contact me for current opportunties).

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 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


Dive into the research topics where Liam O'Hare is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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