• Room 05.308 - Medical Biology Centre

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Projects relating to children, adolescents and young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, particularly in relation to education and criminal justice.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Statement

My research involves the exploration of social inclusion in childhood survivors of brain injury. This includes a range of contextual factors that either help or hinder inclusion. These include the cognitive, social and environmental challenges that these children, and their families, deal with on a daily basis. As part of this work my research explores the use of technology as a tool for rehabilitation.


Member of the Centre for Children's Rights


Leadership roles

  • Director of Research (2022 to present)
  • Member of School Management Board (2018 to present)
  • Chair of the School Research Committee (2022 to present)
  • Deputy Chair of MHLS faculty Research Ethics Committee (2019 to present)
  • Co-Chair of the Research group of the Forensic Mental Health Managed Care Network (2018-2023)
  • Module coordinator for Evidence Based Nursing for Quality Improvement 3rd year (2020-2021)
  • Mentor for Queen's Gender Initiative mentoring programme (2020 to present)
  • Co-Champion Athena Swan Gender Initiative (2018-2022)
  • Chair of School Culture Working Group (2018 to 2022)


Teaching roles

I currently teach onto the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula:

  • Module coordinator Evidence Based Nursing for Quality Improvement 3rd year, BSc Nursing (2020-2021)
  • 'Qualitative research methods' MSc in Nursing.
  • 'Applied research methods and statistics' MSc in Nursing. 
  • MSc dissertation
  • GEMS dissertation


Currently funded projects

UKRI ESRC. RADICAL (Respect And Disrespect In Children’s and Adolescents’ Lives), With McAllister (QUB), Byrne (QUB), Schubotz (QUB), Corr (QUB), MacKenzie (QUB), Neill (UU), Cassidy (University of Strathclyde), Lundy (University College Cork). Co-I (2023-2025) £516,117.

UKRI MRC and PHA. The RESIDE (Relationships and Sexuality in Intellectual Disability Education) project. With Brown (QUB), Marsh (QUB), Truesdale (University of Glasgow), Sheerin (Trinity College Dublin). PI (2023-2025) £198,848.

Baily Thomas Charitable Fund and PHA. Randomised controlled feasibility study and exploratory trial of the Carers-ID intervention: Supporting family carers’ mental health following the COVID-19 pandemic. With Brown (QUB), Marsh (QUB), Forbes (QUB), Truesdale (University of Glasgow), Hughes (University of Sheffield), Todd (University of South Wales). PI (2023-2025) £147,000.  Visit the project's website here: www.carers-id.com

NIHR. Heads Together - Understanding Acquired Brain Injury: Addressing the knowledge and skills gap in Social Work education in order to improve practice and outcomes. With Bateman (PI) (University of Essex), Bald (University of Essex), Clark (London School of Economics & Political Science), Holloway (Head First Assessment Rehabilitation and Case Management LLP), Mantell (BISWG Limited), Norman (University of Plymouth). Co-I (2022-2023) £253,000.

First supervisor on a KSA Ministry of Education funded PhD project with Close, C (QUB) titled 'Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in Saudi Arabia.' (2023-2026) PhD student Eman Alsaiari.

First supervisor on a CAST funded PhD project with Kerr, C (QUB) titled 'Social participation and quality of life in disabled young adults.' (2021-2024) PhD student Claire Cooper.

First supervisor on a KSA Ministry of Education funded PhD project with Kerr, H (QUB) titled 'Developing a children’s rights-based questionnaire for healthcare professionals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.' (2021-2024) PhD student Sahar Alshammari.




Completed research projects

Burdett Trust for Nursing. Developing Best Practice Guidelines for learning disability nurses and professionals regarding the relationships and sexual education (RSE) needs of children and young adults with learning disabilities. With Brown (Co-PI) (QUB), Marsh (QUB), McCann (TCD) & Truesdale (GU). Co-PI (2021-2022) £100,000.

UKRI ESRC. Impact of COVID-19 on family carers for profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD): Development of a support programme. With Brown (QUB), Marsh (QUB), McCann (Trinity College Dublin), Truesdale (University of Glasgow), Hughes (University of Sheffield), Todd (University of South Wales). PI (2021-2022) £273,188.  Visit the project's website here: www.carers-id.com

Burdett Trust for Nursing. Co-Production of a digital game to improve School children's perception of Nursing. With Mitchell (QUB), Rainey (QUB), Monaghan (QUB), Carlisle (QUB). Co-I (2021-2022) £9,625.

Department of Health NI. Development of the training programme for The Framework for Integrated Therapeutic Care (FITC). With Mooney (QUB), Teggart (DoH). PI (2020-2021) £55,000.

Department of Health NI. Development and implementation of a Framework for Integrated Therapeutic Care (FITC) for Northern Ireland. With Mooney (PI) (QUB), Teggart (DoH). (2020-2021) £63,000.

Burdett Trust for Nursing. Co-producing an educational intervention about the nursing profession, for post primary school children, to increase recruitment of males. With Monaghan (Co-PI) (QUB), Mitchell (QUB), Rainey (QUB). Co-PI (2020-2021) £10,000.

Support Needs After Critical Care with O'Neill (UU) and Blackwood (QUB).

Department of Justice NI. Developing a Shared, System-Wide Definition of Mental Health Issues in the Context of the Justice System in Northern Ireland. With Davidson (QUB), Galway (QUB), Butler (QUB), O'Neill (UU) and McSherry (UU). PI (2020) £5,000.

First supervisor on a DEL funded PhD project with Grant (QUB) titled 'An Exploration of Health Visitors’ practice with families affected by parental mental illness and substance misuse.' (2016-2019) PhD student Rachel Leonard.

First supervisor on a Ministry of National Education of Turkey funded PhD project with Lynn (QUB) and McGaughey (QUB) titled 'Exploring parents' motivations for self-referral of children with minor illnesses to emergency departments in Turkey.' (2016-2019) PhD student Ahmet Butun.

First supervisor on a DEL funded PhD project with Lohan (QUB) and Bates-Gaston (Northern Ireland Prison Service) titled ‘Offending behaviour in young adult survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI).’ (2014-2017) PhD student Conall O’Rourke.

External supervisor on a DEL funded PhD project with Moore (UU) and Galway (UU) titled 'Assistive mobile technology for young people recovering from brain injury.' (2015-2018) PhD student Edward Price.

PI on a Department for the Economy (DfE) - Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) award titled 'Improving long-term social, emotional, physical and educational outcomes for children and young adults with neurodisability'. (2017).

PI with Lohan on a Northern Ireland Prison Service funded study titled 'Preparing young men to be fathers. The roll out and study of If I were Jack in Hydebank Wood College'. (2016). 

Co-PI with Lohan on a NIHR funded study titled ‘How can health services contribute most effectively to facilitating successful transition of young people with complex health needs from childhood to adulthood?: a longitudinal study’ (2014-2016).

CI on a NIHR funded study titled 'Increasing boys' and girls' intention to avoid teenage pregnancy: feasibility trial of an interactive video drama based intervention in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland' (2014-2016).

A Cochrane fellowship investigating the effectiveness of technology in the cognitive rehabilitation of children with brain injuries (funded by the R&D office and HRB; with Prof Vicky Anderson, Prof Jon Evans, Dr Carol Hawley and Dr Bronagh Blackwood) (2012-2013).


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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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