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NICPR Research Projects

Research Projects

For more information on any of the projects listed below or if you are interested in conducting research please contact us. If you would like to read any of the publications associated with the research projects please visit our publications page



Title Social Inclusion for Disabled Children and Young People with Complex Needs in Northern Ireland
Principal investigators Ms Michelle Stowell, supervised by Dr Claire Kerr, Dr Bronagh Byrne, Dr Fiona Lynn and Dr Karen McConnell (Queen’s University Belfast)
Funding Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland), CAST PhD studentship 2023-2026 in partnership with the Mae Murray Foundation (
Outline The aim of this study is to explore social inclusion in disabled children and young people, including those with more complex support needs, from the perspectives of the disabled young person, their parent/carers, and other stakeholders.



Title Social participation in adults with cerebral palsy
Principal investigators Ms Claire Cooper supervised by Dr Mark Linden and Dr Claire Kerr (Queen’s University Belfast)
Funding Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland), CAST PhD studentship 2021-2024 in partnership with Up - The Adult Cerebral Palsy Movement (

This study seeks to understand the experiences of adults with CP (aged 24+) in Northern Ireland. Through a survey, we will gather information on factors that impact an individual’s quality of life and the barriers that affect their opportunities for social participation. We hope to find out what will improve the lives of disabled people and make suggestions to healthcare providers for improvements to the provision of support in adulthood.

You can find out more on how to take part in this research here



Title Investigation of the link between maternal body mass index in early pregnancy and incidence of cerebral palsy in Northern Ireland
Principal investigators Dr Kelly-Ann Eastwood, Dr Claire Kerr, Dr Oliver Perra, Dr Christopher Cardwell and Dr Lisa Kent
Funding School of Medicine and Dentistry Scholarship Committee

This study aims to assess the feasibility of linking NICPR with routinely collected maternity data in Northern Ireland.  It will establish the success rate of matching offspring in the Northern Ireland Cerebral Palsy Register (NICPR) to mother-infant pairs within the Northern Ireland Maternity System (NIMATS) and explore changes over time in quality of maternal data (NIMATS).  It will also help to generate hypotheses concerning the relationship between maternal characteristics and infants receiving a diagnosis of CP.




Sleep disturbances in children with cerebral palsy

Principal investigators

Ms Mary-Elaine McCavert supervised by Drs Claire Kerr and Oliver Perra (Queen's University Belfast).


Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland), PhD studentship 2017-2022, and John Glover Award (Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast 2022-2023).


This PhD will establish the nature and extent of sleep disturbances experienced by children with cerebral palsy; explore the impact of disturbed sleep on the family unit; and investigate the use of prescribed medications and non-pharmacological interventions to reduce sleep disturbances in children with cerebral palsy. 




Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe (SCPE) network

Principal investigators

Drs Oliver Perra and Claire Kerr (Queen's University Belfast, P.I.), Dr Karen McConnell (Queen's University Belfast, Lecturer) & SCPE collaborators.


Public Health Agency & European Union, 1998-present.


The SCPE network is a collaboration of registers of children with cerebral palsy involving 24 active centres in 20 countries, including the NICPR. One of the aims of the SCPE network is to monitor trends in the prevalence of cerebral palsy over time and by severity. Visit the SCPE website or download a copy of SCPE privacy statement.



You can view projects here.