• Our Ambassadors

    Meet the experts who help to make Belfast one of Europe’s premier conference and meetings destination.

Meet Our Ambassadors

Dr John Devaney

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Dr. John Devaney joined the university in 2006 following a career as a social work practitioner and manger in personal social services in Northern Ireland. His research interests lie in the area of the safeguarding of children from abuse and neglect, familial violence, the development of child welfare policy and the impact of childhood adversity in adulthood.
He has conducted studies into the operation of the child protection and looked after children systems in Northern Ireland, and on the issue of domestic violence and he has provided support and advice to central Government on the development and implementation of strategies in relation to violence against the person and child welfare. Within the School he is a member of the ‘Family Policy and Child Welfare’ Research Cluster as well as the university wide 'Research Forum for the Child'. Dr. Devaney help bring the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect to Belfast in 2012.

James McIntosh

World Award Winning Cookery Writer and Food TV Presenter

James McIntosh MA, MICSc, FRSA, MIACP, Britain’s Food Ambassador, Best Cookbook Author and Food TV Presenter in the World.

Having grown up between Portadown and Tandragee, James now lives in London and regularly presents food TV in China. He won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2008 for Best Series of Cookbooks in the World, his subsequent TV series on China Food TV “Food Adventures on the Silk Road” won Best TV Documentary at the China TV and Radio Awards in 2011. Farmers Weekly Magazine honoured him in 2012 as “Britain’s Food Ambassador of the Year”. He is the Global Ambassador for AGA Rangemaster and has his own range of food products in Hong Kong. In 2014 James won the Gourmand World Food TV Award for Best Food TV Presenter in the World. He has written 9 cookery books and an iPhone App. Visit www.jamesmcintosh.co.uk

Dr Nigel Dobson

Sports Development

Dr Nigel Dobson a graduate of Loughborough and Sheffield Hallam Universities Nigel has a broad range of experience across the sport and leisure sector. Previous employment includes Cardiff City Football Club, Cardiff City Council, Sheffield Hallam University; Strategic Leisure Ltd, UK Sport, Manchester 2002 Ltd, ESP Ltd, Sports Institute Northern Ireland. His current role includes cross-campus responsibilities for sports development, facilities and services at the University of Ulster. He is currently working with BVCB in bidding for a number of sporting conferences.

Brendan Galbraith

Brendan Galbraith


Brendan Galbraith is an innovation academic in the Department of Management and Leadership at the University of Ulster and a member of the Business and Management Research Institute. He is also a member of the European Network of Living Labs, Northern Ireland Regional European Forum and Connected Health Ulster, as well as the Book Reviews Editor at Technology Analysis and Strategic Management Journal. He has secured a wide range of external research funding with a total value in excess of £4 million. Brendan was a principle investigator in prestigious European Framework 7 projects such as MAPEER SME and PARTERRE and was a grant holder on a Connected Health project funded by NPP Interreg called MyHealth@age. Brendan’s research has been published in top academic journals such as Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Technovation and R&D Management. He has collaborated with the Belfast Convention and Visitor Bureau to secure two major international innovation management conferences for Belfast: European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2014) and ICE/IEEE Technology Management (2015).

Cathy Gormley-Heenan

Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan

Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences

Dr. Cathy Gormley-Heenan is the Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) at the University of Ulster and an Executive Member of the UK's Political Studies Association (PSA). She was awarded a first class honours degree in politics at Queens University, Belfast (1994) and gained a MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies from Oxford University (1996) before becoming a Kennedy Scholar in the J.F.K. School of Government and Public Policy at Harvard University, USA (1996- 1997). Her PhD, which was awarded by the University of Ulster (2005), focused on the subject of political leadership during the Northern Ireland peace process. She is a member of the UK’s Kennedy Scholars Association and serves on the editorial boards of Politics (Wiley-Blackwell), Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society (Routledge) and the Online Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security. She is also a member of the ESRC’s Peer Review College.

David Grieve

Dr David Grieve

Senior Lecturer

Dr David Grieve was awarded an honours degree in Anatomy & Physiology by the University of Dundee (1995), before completing a PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology at The Royal Veterinary College, University of London (1998), and subsequent appointment as a post-doctoral research scientist within the Cardiovascular Division at King’s College London. At the end of 2005, Dr Grieve moved to Northern Ireland to establish his own research group at Queen’s University Belfast, where he is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer. The major research focus of his group is cardiovascular disease, with a particular interest in developing novel treatments for heart failure.

Conor Houston


Conor specialises in criminal, human rights & judicial review law. Conor was the first lawyer from Northern Ireland to serve on the Executive Committee of the European Young Bar Association and is currently the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Young Solicitors’ Association. He serves on the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, he is a founding member of ‘Young Leaders NI’ and a ‘Belfast Ambassador’ with the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Linda Johnston

Head of School, Nursing & Midwifery

Professor Linda Johnston is Head of School, Nursing & Midwifery at Queen’s University and has successfully secured the 8th International Neonatal Nursing conference for 2013. The conference is auspiced by the Council of International Neonatal Nurses and will bring together internationally recognised researchers in perinatal and neonatal research, clinicians in a number of health care disciplines, child health policy makers and nurse educators. Previous forums have addressed the Millenium Development Goals and released Position Statements in relation to reducing neonatal mortality in developing countries. The 2013 conference will highlight the research that underpins practice in neonatal care, the role of the advanced practitioner in delivery of care and innovations in practice.

Dr David Sweet

Consultant Neonatologist

David Sweet graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1990 and trained in Paediatrics and Neonatal Medicine in Northern Ireland and Western Australia.

Appointed as a consultant Neonatologist in the Regional Neonatal Unit in the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast in 2003 and Honorary Clinical Lecturer for the Dept of Child Health, Queen’s University in 2007. Specialist lecturer for the Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery on the Enhanced Practice Course for Neonatal Nurses and Examination of the Newborn Course for Midwives.

David Traynor

Architectural Technologist

David has been working as an Architectural Technologist in the built environment for over 30 years. He was admitted as a full member of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) in 1995 and immediately joined the local Northern Ireland Region where he has served on the committee until the present day. David held the post of CPD officer for 6 years prior to being elected as Regional Councillor for Northern Ireland in 2005, a post that he still holds today. He sits on the Finance Committee, has been an Assessor for new Chartered Members, is a Director of Architectural Technology Services on behalf of CIAT and has recently been elected to serve on the Executive Board of CIAT commencing November 2012.

James Uhomoibhi

Faculty e-Learning Coordinator

James Uhomoibhi is the Faculty e-Learning Coordinator at the University of Ulster where he also heads the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Education Research Group. He graduated with the first degree in Physics from Nigeria, and received a BPhil degree in Italy before moving to the UK where he completed his MSc in Optoelectronics and Optical Information Processing and a PhD in Laser Physics at Queen’s University Belfast. He is a Chartered Physicist and a member of the Institute of Physics in the UK, a Chartered IT Professional, a Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. He is a member of the iNEER Board. His research interests are in technology integration in education, remote and virtual laboratories development and laser engineering applications and photonics. In 2011 he was appointed a LEADS Scholar by the Nigerian National Universities Commission (NUC). He is a member of the International Review Panels of the NRF and the CSIR of the Republic of South Arica. In 2011, he received the iNEER Achievement Award.

Prof. Max Watson

Medical Director, NI Hospice

Max Watson trained in theology, medicine, and general practice. He is currently visiting Professor in Palliative Care at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Medical Director at the Northern Ireland Hospice, Belfast and Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Princess Alice Hospice, in Surrey. Max is the chair of the RCGP (NI) end of life group. He is author of the Oxford Handbook of Palliative Care, Oxford Core text Oncology, The Oxford GP Library Pain and Palliation, and Cancer Care. He is editor of the Palliative Adult Network Guidelines and is series editor of the Oxford Specialist End of Life Handbooks. Max is the originator of the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care course which has trained over 8,000 Doctors and Nurses since it began in 2001 in the UK, Nepal, India, and Kyrgyzstan.

Max’s research interests include weight loss and fatigue in cancer, the use of ultrasound in palliative care, generalist palliative care education and dementia at the end of life.