Queen's University Belfast is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland with a distinguished heritage and history.

It is in the Top 200 Universities in the World (QS World Rankings 2019), and a member of the Russell Group of UK research intensive universities, combining excellence in research and education with a student-centred ethos.

Some of the leading academics from Queen’s University Belfast we work with include:

Robert Bowman
Robert Bowman

Professor Robert Bowman

Director of Research, Centre for Nano-structured Media

Professor Robert Bowman’s research is focused on the development and evaluation of advanced materials for data storage technology.

His research topics include rare earth magnetism, rare-earth-ferromagnetic coupling phenomena, synthetic magnetic multilayers and plasmonic materials to facilitate heat assisted magnetic recording sponsored by industry. This is recognised through the award of a Seagate Technology – Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair.

Robert also leads an advanced materials hub, established in 2010, in partnership with Seagate Technology that led to the establishment of an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage along with over a dozen companies and University of Glasgow that he directs. He is also a founder and Director of a successful spin-out company Causeway Sensors Ltd.

Usha Chakavarthy
Usha Chakavarthy

Professor Usha Chakravarthy

Professor, Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

Usha leads worldwide collaborations to help combat eye disease. Her discovery of the drug ‘Avastin’ is treating a common cause of blindness, saving the NHS a potential £84m per year.

This anti-cancer drug is also highly effective in treating wet, age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) as a more expensive specialist drug.

Paul Connolly
Paul Connolly

Professor Paul Connolly

Professor of Education

Professor Paul Connolly is a Professor of Education and Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University.

Professor Connolly is also founder and former Director of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (PRP), an applied social science research centre that draws together just under 100 academic and research staff. He is Director of the Campbell UK and Ireland Centre at Queen’s University Belfast. Most recently he has been awarded a £2 million grant from NIHR on Early Child Development for Peacebuilding. He is internationally recognised for his research on diversity and inclusion in early childhood; evaluating the effectiveness of educational programmes and interventions; and quantitative methods in education.

Hastings Donnan
Hastings Donnan

Professor Hastings Donnan

Director of the Mitchell Institute

Hastings is Director of the Mitchell Institute and co-Director of the Centre for International Borders Research.

He has conducted extensive field research at Pakistan’s borders with Kashmir and Afghanistan and has published over twenty books and lectured worldwide. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a foundational Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He is chair of the Esperanza Trust and the British Council's Newton Fund Programme for Social Science. 

Ryan Donnelly
Ryan Donnelly

Professor Ryan Donnelly

Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology

Ryan is Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology. His innovative research on advanced micro-needle drug delivery systems is helping improve therapeutic outcomes for patients.

He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. Professor Donnelly is the Editor-in-Chief of Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation and a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of Micromachines, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Expert Review of Medical Devices and Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences and is a Visiting Scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Cancer Research, where he is an Associate Member of the Radiation Biology Group. His work has attracted numerous awards, including the Controlled Release Society Young Investigator Award in 2016, BBSRC Innovator of the Year in 2013, the GSK Emerging Scientist Award in 2012 and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Science Award in 2011.

Chris Elliot
Chris Elliot

Professor Chris Elliott

Director of the Institute for Global Food Security

Professor Chris Elliott is a leading expert on international food supply chains and the implications for food quality, authenticity and safety.

Founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s, his main research interests are in the development of innovative techniques to provide early warning of toxin threats across complex food supply systems.

He has published more than 350 papers in the field of detection and control of chemical contaminants in agri-food commodities, as well as leading a range of international projects in developing safer food-supply systems. Professor Elliott led the independent review of Britain’s food system following the 2013 horsemeat scandal. He was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to the agri-food supply chain.

Richard English
Richard English

Professor Richard English

Professor of Politics

Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

Professor English's research focuses on the politics and history of nationalism, political violence, and terrorism, with a particular focus on Ireland and Britain. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.  Professor English has given invited Lectures on his research in more than twenty countries.  In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern day terrorism and political history.

Research supervision areas (PhD, Masters, and Undergraduate) include: Irish politics and history; the politics and history of nationalism; political violence and terrorism.

Brian Falzon
Brian Falzon

Professor Brian Falzon

Head of School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Professor Brian G. Falzon is the Head of School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast and was the Royal Academy of Engineering – Bombardier Chair in Aerospace Composites (2013-2017).  He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Between 2008 and 2012 he was the Foundation Chair in Aerospace Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where he was also Director of Research and Head of the Aerospace Engineering programmes. Between 1996 and 2008, Prof Falzon was at Imperial College London where he joined as a postdoctoral research fellow before becoming an academic staff member. He has held visiting professorships at both Imperial College London and Monash University. Prof Falzon graduated with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Sydney in 1996 and was awarded the Golden Jubilee graduate prize for his research into postbuckling composite aerostructures. He also gained a Bachelor of Engineering in Aeronautical Engineering with first class honours and a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Physics and Pure Mathematics from the same university.

Prof Falzon is the Director of the Advanced Composites Research Group at Queen’s and is internationally renowned for his work on the computational analysis, design, manufacture and testing of advanced composite aerostructures and has published over 130 peer reviewed journal/conference papers and book chapters, one book, and edited three others. He has fostered extensive industry and academic collaborations with partners from Europe, Australia, India and China and is currently coordinating a H2020 research programme with fourteen academic and industry partners across six EU member states.

In 2008 Prof Falzon was awarded the George Taylor Prize by the Royal Aeronautical Society for the best paper published in 2007 in the design, construction, production and fabrication of aircraft structures. In 2009 he was honoured with an Australian Leadership Award, in recognition of his contribution to issues of national importance and demonstrated leadership in his field. He is a Chartered Engineer, a member of a number of professional organisations and scientific committees, and sits on the editorial board of three journals. In 2010 and 2012 he was selected to serve on the Research Evaluation Committee panel for the ‘Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia’ exercise which is equivalent to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF). Prof Falzon is also co-founder of Veryan Medical Limited, a company spin-off from Imperial College London, developing a new vascular biomimetic stent.

Denise Fitzgerald
Denise Fitzgerald

Professor Denise Fitzgerald

Denise leads a £2 million research programme investigating how to reverse the damage caused by Multiple Sclerosis.

Her team is working to understand how Myelin, the insulating layer that surrounds nerves in the central nervous system, can be repaired, potentially restoring function and improving the quality of life of people with MS.

The Fitzgerald lab is a Regenerative NeuroImmunology research group at QUB with a particular focus on Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an immune-mediated, demyelinating disorder of the Central Nervous System (CNS).  The central goal of their research is to identify new strategies to treat MS and other inflammatory and demyelinating disorders.

Joanne Hughes
Joanne Hughes

Professor Joanne Hughes

Director of the Centre for Shared Education

Joanne is a world-leading educationalist. She has developed a shared education model in Northern Ireland now used in Israel and Macedonia as a tool to promote reconciliation.

Joanne Hughes is Director of the Centre for Shared Education in the School of Education at Queen’s. Her main research interests are in the role of education in divided societies, and inequalities in education. She has led numerous research projects on these themes and has been awarded research grants from the EU, ESRC, British Council, Nuffield, UNICEF, Atlantic Philanthropies, and a range of other sources.

Current research projects explore longitudinally the effect of inter-group contact between Protestant and Catholic pupils in Northern Ireland, and the development and effectiveness of shared education interventions locally and in international settings. In recognition of her international work, in 2016 she was appointed to a prestigious UNESCO Chair on Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Intergroup Relations in Divided Societies. She has also advised Government Officials and Ministers nationally and internationally on the development of policies and interventions to promote good relations in schools.

Her research in NI informed the Shared Education Act (2016), and in the Republic of Macedonia, the establishment of a state-wide Interethnic Integration in Education Programme. In Israel, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, she is working with local NGOs and officials to develop shared education interventions. Relating to research impact, her work is one of 19 Signature Projects supported in Queen’s Social Charter (2017).

Recent (2016-present) expert advisor roles include, British Academy, ‘Education in Conflict and Protracted Crises’; Academy of Social Sciences, ‘Making the Case for Education in the UK’- subsequently launched in the House of Lords (2017); Salzburg Global Session 605, ‘Climate Change, Conflict, Health and Education’; Research Review of mid-Sweden University  - Chair of the Education Panel. From 2010-2014 she was editor of the prestigious British Educational Research Journal. She is also an appointed member of the Executive Council of the British Educational Research Association.

Mark Lawler
Mark Lawler

Professor Mark Lawler

Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics

Mark is Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics and Dean of Education of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Queen's. He is a cancer researcher who publishes in the very best scientific and medical journals (New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Nature Medicine etc). He is recognised globally for his work, has won numerous prizes  and is frequently invited to showcase the strengths of Northern Ireland cancer research across the world. He is also passionate about education and has led the education strategy in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Queen's. 

He has always worked tirelessly to put Northern Ireland in the spotlight and was responsible for bringing the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Congress to Belfast, which highlighted Northern Ireland as an international leader in personalised medicine research (and a cool place to visit!). His research on cancer inequalities led to the development of the European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights which he launched with colleagues in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on World Cancer Day 2014 and which has been adopted in many countries throughout Europe. He was recently recognised through The 2018 European Health Award which he received during the Opening Ceremony of the European Health Forum Gastein for a pan European Collaborative project that will lead to improved outcomes for cancer patients. When he’s not doing cancer research or travelling the world to highlight how good we are here in Northern Ireland, he does a one man James Joyce show for charity.

Lorainne MArtin
Lorainne MArtin

Professor Lorraine Martin

Lecturer in Pharmaceutics

Lorraine played a pivotal role in a joint programme between Queen’s and the biotechnology company behind Dolly the cloned sheep – PPL Therapeutics plc.

She has published widely in internationally recognised peer-reviewed journals and presented her work both globally. For her work on Alpha1 Antrypsin in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) she received a Sir Henry Wellcome Innovative Award to develop tools for the real-time monitoring and subsequent inhibition of intracellular proteolysis.

Aaron Maule
Aaron Maule

Professor Aaron Maule

Dean of Research

Professor Maule is the Dean of research at the School of Biological Sciences.

He is currently helping lead global efforts to understand and control parasites that cause disease and threaten food security in some of the poorest regions of the developing world.

Andy Meharg
Andy Meharg

Professor Andy Meharg

Andy’s research focuses on how harmful toxins such as arsenic, make their way from the soil, into crops, and on into the human and animal food chain

His focus has been mainly on arsenic and phosphorus, but includes other trace elements including; cadmium, copper, mercury, selenium, lead and persistent organic pollutants.

Joe O'Sullivan
Joe O'Sullivan

Professor Joe O’Sullivan

Academic Clinical Oncologists

Joe is an academic clinical oncologist seeking new treatments for patients with prostate cancer developing new treatments in the fields of radiation therapy and bone-seeking radionuclide therapy.

He leads the first-ever global trial of a new combination of therapies for patients with advanced prostate cancer. He is one of two Clinical Co-Directors of the first regional Movember Centre of Excellence, a partnership between Queen’s University and the University of Manchester.

Joe is driven by a desire to improve outcomes from all aspects of this disease and to develop new treatments in particular in the fields of External Beam Radiation Therapy, and Bone-seeking radionuclide therapy (also known as Molecular Radiotherapy). He is committed to helping translate scientific discovery into clinical practice and has been instrumental in facilitating a number of translational ideas into clinical trials.


Professor Eileen Murphy

Head of Archaeology and Palaeoecology

Eileen’s research focuses particularly on human skeletal populations recovered from prehistoric Russia and all periods in Ireland. She is particularly interested in the use of approaches from bioarchaeology and funerary archaeology to help further understanding of the lives and experiences of people in the past. Another of her research interests involves the study of past children and she is the founding editor of the international journal, Childhood in the Past.

Eileen was a founding leader of the Belfast Young Archaeologists’ Club that has been running in Queen’s since 2006. She is Co-Director, with Dr Colm Donnelly, of the Centre for Community Archaeology. She was awarded the Visit Belfast Ambassador of the Year award in 2019 for her role in securing the annual conference of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) for Belfast in 2023.

Anna Gavin
Anna Gavin

Dr. Anna Gavin

Clinical Professor

Anna directs the work of the N. Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) which assimilates and collates data on cancers and pre-malignant conditions in N. Ireland for research, education and planning of services. The NICR has several active research programmes:

1. The impact of PSA testing on prostate cancer epidemiology and men’s healt.

2. The reasons for a hospital vs home death for cancer patients.

3. The effect of cancer plans on the delivery of cancer services.

4. Improving early diagnosis of cancer.

The NICR cooperates with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland to produce All Ireland Cancer Epidemiology reports and peer reviewed publications.

Anna is the N. Ireland lead for the Internal Cancer Benchmarking Partnership and was responsible for ensuring N. Ireland was included in this project examining differences in cancer survival across European, Australian and Canadian jurisdictions.

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