Cathy Gormley-Heenan


  • Shore Road, Jordanstown Campus

    BT37 0QB Newtownabbey

    United Kingdom


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Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact at Ulster University where she is responsible for developing and leading the institution's research and impact strategies as a research led university, ensuring that Ulster University achieves its research targets, and that our research informs our teaching and benefits society locally and globally.

She is a Professor of Politics with broad 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 the Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) from 2010-16. She has been 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 received her PhD in History and International Affairs from the University of Ulster in 2005 and was awarded an MSc. in Higher Education Practice in 2009. Other awards include a Fellowship in Leadership Studies at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland, USA in 2000; the 2004-2005 Tip O’Neill Fellowship in Peace Studies at INCORE (International Conflict Research), University of Ulster/United Nations University; and the Political Studies Association’s Bernard Crick Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007. She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

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 currently Chair of the Universities UK's International Research Development Network as well as a member of the UK’s Kennedy Scholars Association. Currently, Cathy serves as a Trustee, Director, Board Member or Advisor on a range of external bodies and organsiations including Innovation Ulster Ltd; Northern Ireland Science Park Property Ltd; Catalyst Inc; Matrix - the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel; the Scottish Parliament's External Experts Panel; the ESRC's UK in a Changing Europe Advisory Panel; and the UK government’s advisory body on EU Exit, Universities, Research and Innovation chaired by universities and science minister, Sam Gyimah MP, among other things.



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