Ulster University is a university with a national and international reputation for excellence, innovation and regional engagement, making a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland.

Some of the leading academics from Ulster University we work with include:

Gavin Breslin
Gavin Breslin

Dr Gavin Breslin

Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Dr. Gavin Breslin is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Sport, Ulster University, and a member of the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute.

Gavin is a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, a Registered Practitioner of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has completed the Aspiring Academic Leadership Programme at Ulster and holds a certificate in Leadership and Management. He has also studied Business and Psychology in the USA.

Gavin has published extensively both nationally and  internationally in the area of mental health and well-being in sport, including two books entitled, Sport and Exercise Psychology: Practitioner Case Studies (2016, Wiley-Blackwell) and Mental Health Interventions in Sport: Research Theory and Practice (2019, Routledge). He has led on several systematic reviews on the use of sport and physical activity for promoting mental health, and has designed interventions using psychological behaviour change theory to enhance health and well-being for children and adults in schools, sports clubs and workplace settings.

Gavin is the lead advisor for research underpinning Sport Northern Ireland’s and the Public Health Agencies ‘Wellbeing in Sport Action Plan 2018-2023 for Northern Ireland’. His research underpinned the development of the plan that has impacted governing bodies of sport across Northern Ireland. His work has been cited in international publications as a result.  He has supervised numerous PhD students to completion and managed post-doctoral students during his time at Ulster. He has also lead the largest physical activity and well-being research intervention for over 7000 children from social disadvantage across Ireland (Sport For Life Programme, 2009-2018). His research on mental health and sport in prisons has been cited in reports by the Ministry of Justice, illustrating the impact that sport has in improving mental health in psychologically challenging environments.

Gavin has had several leadership positions, and has been a member of numerous committees internal and external to the university. He was former Head of The School of Sport, Learning and Teaching Coordinator for the School of Sport, MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology Course Director and has led revalidation and accreditation of programmes internally and with the British Psychological Society.

Along with teaching and research responsibilities he has consulted with national and international athletes and teams in sport psychology, he has advised various sport associations on how to develop actions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their organisations. His most recent international project is funded by UEFA that will look at how developing a dual career can enhance player wellbeing during transition out of football.

His passions are his family, music, running marathons and trying to understand the psychology of how humans develop, learn, and reach their optimal potential.

Karise Hutchinson
Karise Hutchinson

Professor Karise Hutchinson

Professor of Leadership

Professor Karise Hutchinson is a Professor of Leadership at Ulster University and Provost of the Coleraine campus. Karise joined Ulster University in 2004 and was awarded a PhD in SME international management in 2006.  Since 2006, she has been an integral member of the Business Management Research Institute at Ulster University, included in the 2008 RAE and REF 2014 submission as a result of her high quality research publications, external research grant income, PhD completions, and impact case study work. Her research has been presented at international conferences and published in wide range of high quality international journals.  The extensive impact of her research has been recognised by the British Academy of Management Education Practice award in 2016 and the Chartered Management Institute’s Top Industry Article award in 2013.

Karise is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and holds a number of positions outside the University including, Affiliate of the Authentic Leadership Institute in Harvard, USA, Vice-Chair of the Causeway Enterprise Agency, Council member of the British Academy of Management and Faculty Board member of the Chartered Management Institute UK.  Her experience includes business engagement across a range of industry sectors, where she has led several Knowledge Transfer Projects, organised a wide range of large scale events for business owners and policy stakeholders, as well as invited keynote speaker.  As a result of her strong engagement with industry, Karise has been involved in national media broadcasts on well-known radio and television programs, commenting on current economic issues in Northern Ireland from the perspective of the consumer and retailer, with publications in range of regional and national newspapers.

She is the author of “Leadership Development for Small Business: The Power of Storytelling” published by Palgrave Macmillan.  She received the British Academy of Management Practice award in 2016 and Outstanding Contribution to CMI award in 2018 in recognition of her work in leadership development and education.  Professor Hutchinson uses her passion and experience of developing business leaders to support the growth of the SME sector in Northern Ireland.

Cathy Gormley Heenan
Cathy Gormley Heenan

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan

Pro Vice Chancellor

Cathy is Pro Vice Chancellor responsible for developing and leading research and impact strategies as a research-led university, ensuring that Ulster University achieves its research targets, and that their research informs their teaching and benefits society locally and globally.

She is a Professor of Politics with research interests in the areas of political elites, peace processes, the politics of divided societies, public policy and governance. Until 2016 she was based in the School of Criminology, Politics & Social Policy at Ulster  where she was also Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) from 2010-16. She is a regular political commentator for the BBC on both television and radio and has recently completed making a new radio programme for BBC World Service on Walls and Peace.

Cathy holds a first class honours degree in politics from Queen’s University, Belfast and an MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies with Arabic from Oxford University before becoming a UK Kennedy Scholar in the J.F.K. School of Government and Public Policy at Harvard University, USA. She also holds a PhD in History and International Affairs from Ulster University. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the winner of the UK Political Studies Association’s Bernard Crick Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007.

She has been elected and/or appointed to a number of national boards including the National Executive Committee of the UK’s Political Studies Association (PSA) from 2012-16 and is also a member of the UK’s Kennedy Scholars Association. Currently, Cathy serves on the boards of Matrix, the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel; Catalyst Inc (formerly the Northern Ireland Science Park); and the UK government’s advisory body on EU Exit, Universities, Research and Innovation chaired by universities and science minister Jo Johnson, among other things.

Chrus Nugent
Chrus Nugent

Professor Chris Nugent

Director of the Computer Science Research Institut

Chris is the Director of the Computer Science Research Institute and holds the position of Professor of Biomedical Engineering. He is based within the School of Computing and Mathematics at Ulster University.

He received a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Systems and DPhil in Biomedical Engineering both from Ulster University. Chris joined the University as a Research Fellow in 1999 and was appointed as Lecture in Computer Science in 2000. Following this he held positions of Senior Lecture and Reader within the Faculty of Computing and Engineering before his appointment as Professor of Biomedical Engineering in 2008. In 2016 he was awarded the Senior Distinguished Research Fellowship from Ulster University,

His research within biomedical engineering addresses the themes of the development and evaluation of technologies to support ambient assisted living. Specifically, this has involved research in the topics of mobile based reminding solutions, activity recognition and behaviour modelling and more recently technology adoption modelling. He has published extensively in these areas with papers spanning theoretical, clinical and biomedical engineering domains. He has been a grant holder of Research Projects funded by National, European and International funding bodies.

Chris is the Group Leader of the Smart Environments Research Group and also the co-PI of the Connected Health Innovation Centre at Ulster University.

Ulster University Ambassadors

  • Professor Chris Nugent
    Professor Chris Nugent
    Ulster University Ambassadors

    Professor Chris Nugent

    Chris is the Director of the Computer Science Research Institute and holds the position of Professor of Biomedical…

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  • Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan
    Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan
    Ulster University Ambassadors

    Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan

    Cathy is Pro Vice Chancellor responsible for developing and leading our research and impact strategies

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  • Professor Karise Hutchinson
    Professor Karise Hutchinson
    Ulster University Ambassadors

    Professor Karise Hutchinson

    Professor Karise Hutchinson is a Professor of Leadership at Ulster University and Provost of the Coleraine campus

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  • Dr Gavin Breslin
    Dr Gavin Breslin
    Ulster University Ambassadors

    Dr Gavin Breslin

    Dr. Gavin Breslin is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Sport, Ulster…

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