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The increasing burden of chronic conditions has been described as one of the greatest global challenges facing health systems and health services in the 21st century. The Health Services Research Group focuses on improving health services and care for people with chronic conditions by conducting investigations of issues and problems such as need and demand for services, service organisation and delivery, health care quality and efficiency and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health service interventions. We have several key interdisciplinary research strands which focus on the global challenges of addressing chronic health care. The HSRG comprises also an international strand of Global Health and Health Care Research (led by our Global Health Champion, Professor Nathan Congdon – see below). Key interdisciplinary strands of research include:

  • Chronic health care research and policy – with an emphasis on services for older people, people who are living with cancer and people with mental health problems
  • Methodological studies  regarding how to enhance the rigour of all our health services studies, randomised controlled trials and Cochrane reviews
  • Health economics and policy  - (similar to the Methodological Studies strand) is an integral part of most studies undertaken by the HSRG, particularly in terms of economic appraisal
  • Oral health care research focusing on gerodontology, head and neck cancer and nutrition
  • Ophthalmology and eye health care research includes ways of meeting the increasing demand for clinical services and investigating the reconfiguration of locus of treatment delivery
  • Global health and health care research includes the international Global Centre for Translational Research for Equitable Eye care (TREE) and studies of cancer care, diabetes and other NCDs in lower and middle income countries.


The main funders of our research grants include: NIHR, EU FP7, Marie Curie, NI PHA R&D, MRC, ESRC, RoI Health Research Board and the international Newton Fund.


Current academic staff members of the Health Services Research Group together with the link to their respective webpages and contact details are listed below:

Professor Michael Donnelly (Research Group Lead)

Professor Ciaran O’Neill

Professor Mike Clarke

Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco

Professor Nathan Congdon

Professor Tunde Peto

Dr Ruth Hogg

Dr Yuanbo Liang

Dr Gerry McKenna

Dr Helen McAneney

Dr Noleen McCorry

Dr Lyn Lohfeld

There are easily-travelled pathways between the HSRG and the other research groups in CPH and other research centres in the QUB School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. Many researchers in CPH work across research groups and research centres to conduct collaborative public health and health services research with the HSRG and care professional colleagues in health services, here and internationally. 

We have a thriving postdoctoral research community including clinical research fellows and up to 25 PhD students at any one time. Prospective PhD students should scan the web pages of HSRG staff and email their enquiry to the relevant HSRG academic or email the HSRG Lead ( Also, we welcome enquiries from care professionals and health managers working in local and international health systems and health services.

Doctor and Patient in Ward Area