Heather Ritchie


  • Shore Road, Jordanstown Campus

    BT37 0QB Newtownabbey

    United Kingdom

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Dr Heather Ritchie was appointed as a lecturer in Spatial Planning and Energy Policy in the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Ulster University in 2009.  She has considerable experience in marine social science research, action research, and policy appraisal in the emergent fields of coastal and marine spatial planning.  Her background in law gives her the capacity to look at regulation and legislation from a variety of different perspectives. Her experience in lecturing in spatial planning provides her with an understanding of current policy issues and debates and an appreciation of the interrelationships between planning and regeneration. She brings academic experience to projects and has an ability to manage and mediate competing interests and stakeholders.

Heather is a Champion for Athena Swan within BSABE and is the School Policy Lead after her contribution with the Self Assessment Team's achievement in securing the Bronze Award in November 2020. Heather herself is a recipent of the Athena Swan Returning Carers Scheme Award in 2018. This award allowed Heather to be accompanied by her husband and young children to present at an international AESOP conference in 2018 in Gothenburg.  

Heather is a chartered Town Planner with the Irish Planning Institute and sits on the Marine Planning Committee and has been selected to sit on a sub-committee on Marine Planning Education. 

Research Interests

Heather's research specialism is in Marine Spatial Planning and Stakeholder Engagement. She also has research interests in land-sea interactions, planning regulation at the coast and beyond, transboundary marine planning, energy and the environment,  planning education, environmental impact assessment, planning law, planning regulation (developer contributions). Heather has a track record of publishing in the journals of Marine Policy, Ocean and Coastal Management, Land Use Policy, European Planning Studies and Energy Policy.  

Heather is a Research Associate of the International Centre for Regional and Local Development and regularly contributes to funding applications and conference organisation. 

Heather is currently leading (as PI) a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund project, on Knowledge Exchange for Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning across the Irish Sea for DAERA. She is also acting as the leading the Ulster partner for an ERASMUS + Knowledge Flows in Marine Spatial Planning along with partners from Germany, The Netherlands, France, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Heather was also involved (as PI for Ulster) in an ESPON project with colleagues from UCC, University of Gent, and ICLRD in Marine Spatial Planning supporting the Resilience of European Land Sea Interactions. Heather has recently joined a project team with funding from the British Council to conduct research on Marine Planning with the Technicon Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. 

Teaching Interests

Heather teaches across all four years of the Integrated Masters (MSci) in Planning, Regeneration and Development. Her teaching specialisms are in Planning Law and Regulation, Environmental Impact and Marine Spatial Planning. 

Heather is Course Director for MSc Planning and City Resilience (maternity cover). This MSc is run in person and DL F/T + P/T.  

Heather has completed her PGCHEP and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Heather is External Examiner for University of Gloucester BSc Urban Planning. Heather has published research in educational journals such as Innovation in Teaching and Education International and Town Planning Review. Heather is co-author of a legal planning textbook 'The Essential Guide to Planning Law: Decision Making and Practice in the UK' and is currently working on a 2nd edition. She has contributed chapters to other legal textbooks. 

Module Coordinator: 1st year - Planning and Regeneration, 2nd year -  Spatial Planning and Planning Practice, 3rd year - Environmental Impact Assessment, Marine Spatial Planning, Research Methods and Investigative Report, 5th Year Research Design and Professional Report Supervisor. 

Heather is the Placement Coordinator and Year three Academic Mentor for MSci PRD. 


Current and Recent Grants

ESPON - Transnational Outreach Programme 2020 International Conference: Resilience in Marine Spatial Planning

Ritchie, H., PI, Architecture Built Environment and Planning (UoA 13)

ESPON: £3,437.00

1/03/20 → 30/06/20

Knowledge Flows in Marine Spatial Planning - Sharing Innovation in Higher Education

Ritchie, H.

C.E.C. Erasmus+: £47,036.00

1/09/19 → 31/12/22

Award date: 21/11/19

Marine Spatial Planning in Northern Ireland: Towards Productive Seas and Resilient Communities?

Ritchie, H. & Mc Elduff, L.

Council of Heads of the Built Environmen: £500.00

27/05/16 → 31/07/16

Award date: 7/06/16

Northern Ireland knowledge exchange for transboundary Marine Spatial Planning across the Irish Sea

Mc Elduff, L. & Ritchie, H.

DAERA European Maritime and Fisheries Fu: £28,304.00

13/10/20 → 31/12/22

Award date: 15/10/20

RING - Researcher International Networking Grant

Ritchie, H.

The British Council: £1,500.00

1/04/11 → 31/03/12

Award date: 14/07/11

Teaching Exchange Scheme

PEEL, D. & Ritchie, H.

Higher Education Academy: £2,000.00

1/04/11 → 31/07/11

Award date: 11/07/11

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 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Marine Spatial Planning and Stakeholder Engagement , Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland

10 Jan 200631 Aug 2030

Award Date: 6 Jul 2011

Master, Environmental Planning , Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland

1 Oct 20058 Dec 2006

Award Date: 10 Dec 2006

Bachelor, LLB Hons English Law , University of Dundee

31 Oct 200131 May 2030

Award Date: 10 Jun 2004

ERASMUS Exchange European Law , Leiden University

1 Sept 20021 May 2003

External positions

LIFE RAFT Technical Advisory Group , RSPB

1 Dec 2021 → …

External Examiner BSc Urban Planning , University of Gloucester

1 Dec 202130 Jun 2025

Co-Secretariat Irish Sea Maritime Forum , Irish Sea Maritime Forum

3 Jan 2021 → …

Irish Planning Institute Marine Spatial Planning Subgroup , Irish Planning Institute

1 Dec 2019 → …

Committee Member MARSOCSCI, Marine Social Sciences Research Group

3 Jan 2019 → …

Research Associate and Committee Member of International Centre for Local and Regional Development , International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD)

1 Nov 2016 → …

Marine and Coastal Working Group CNCC

1 Jan 2014 → …

Expert Advisory Group Member (Stakeholder Engagement) to the EC LIFE + Celtic Seas Partnership , WWF

3 Jan 201331 Dec 2014

Committee Member Marine Spatial Planning Research Network , Marine Spatial Planning Research Network

3 Jan 2011 → …

Committee Member Environmental Planners Lawyers Association Northern Ireland , Environmental Planners Lawyers Association Northern Ireland

1 Sept 2010 → …

Committee Member Irish Sea Maritime Forum , Irish Sea Maritime Forum

1 Jun 2010 → …


Dive into the research topics where Heather Ritchie is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or