HULAP team

Prof. Geraint Ellis (UK) - Principal Investigator

Geraint Ellis is Professor of Environmental Planning and Director of Research in the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB). He is also Co-Editor of the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning and one of the founding editorial board of the new Journal, Cities & Health. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cardiff, Birmingham and Reading and has worked in planning and urban regeneration in London and Southern Africa before coming an academic.  His key research interests are in planning and sustainability with a particular emphasis on healthy urban planning, environmental governance and renewable energy. He has published widely on these topics and is engaged in a range of current projects that examine the health impacts of urban living and the future of our energy systems. He is also active in the voluntary sector, having been a Director of Belfast Heathy Cities since 2006, regularly advises local environmental NGOs and is a founding member of Whitehead Transition Town.


Dr. Claire Cleland (UK) – Research Fellow

Dr Claire Cleland is a Research Fellow on the HULAP Project at Queen’s University, Belfast.  Over the past six years as PhD student at Queen’s University, Belfast and subsequently a Research Associate at both Newcastle University and the Medical Research Council, Glasgow she has gained a wealth of experience in the design and development of physical activity and nutrition interventions; the implementation of qualitative studies; data capture; and the delivery of staff training and student teaching. 

Dr. Ruth Hunter (UK) – WP3 Lead

Dr Ruth Hunter is a Lecturer in Physical Activity and Public Health at the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research, Queen’s University Belfast. She holds a Career Development Fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) involving collaborations with the University of Southern California, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are in physical activity and public health, particularly regarding the interaction of the built and social environment for behaviour change at the individual, community and population level. She leads Work Package 3 alongside Dr Akira Hino.

Dr. Brendan Murtagh (UK) – WP4 Lead

Brendan Murtagh is a Reader in the Institute of Spatial and Environmental planning at Queen’s University Belfast. He has researched and written widely on urban regeneration, age restructuring and social economics and his books include: The Politics of Territory; Authentic Dialogue; Segregation, Violence and the City; and Understanding the Third Sector and the Social Economy. His current research projects include: communities, culture and city branding; social enterprises and urban regeneration; and ageing and place.

Dr. Mark Tully (UK) – WP3 Collaborator

Dr Mark Tully is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health in the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, at Queen's University Belfast. His research is focused on developing physical activity interventions, and leads projects investigating the effects of changes in the built environment and studies promoting physical activity in socio-economically disadvantaged communities and older adults.


Dr. Sara Monica Moutinho Barbosa de Melo (UK) – WP5 Lead

Dr Sara Melo is a Lecturer in Management at Queen’s Management School. Her research interests include collaboration, innovation, and organisational learning particularly in the health sector. In addition to HULAP, Sara is currently involved in two other international research projects. One of these, focuses on the prevention of healthcare-associated infections and involves a team of researchers from the UK and Brazil. The second project, involving researchers from three Brazilian universities, studies the dynamics of online collaboration in open access software development. In 2014, Sara published a monograph (with Matthias Beck) entitled Quality Management and Managerialism in Healthcare: A Critical Historical Survey. She is a member of the editorial board of the Global Journal of Health Science.


Prof. Frank Kee (UK) – WP3 Collaborator

Currently Prof Kee directs the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research (NI) and is the Deputy Director for the Centre of Public Health in Queens University Belfast.  The Centre of Excellence, one of five in the UK, is multidisciplinary and spans three Faculties in the University and a range of external stakeholders. Its research scope embraces determinants of public health from molecules to populations, as well as public health interventions.  It was set up deliberately with an outward looking vision to connect academics to the practitioner and policy making communities.  Its partners, represented in the management Executive and Board include the DHSSPSNI, the Public Health Agency, the Public Health Institute for Ireland and the Community Development and Health Network.


Dr. Urmi Sengupta (QUB) – WP4 and 5 Collaborator

Urmi is a Lecturer in School of Natural and Built Environment at QUB.  She has an interdisciplinary background and scholarship in architecture, planning and housing studies combining  qualitative, quantitative and ethnographic methodologies. Her broad research interests are on urban development, poverty, inequality and contestations over access to land and housing in cities of global south. In recent years her research has focused on the transformational context of buildings and spaces in global south including design and politics of public space and related spatial and social consequences, user perceptions of built environments in post-disaster contexts, aesthetics, equity and social justice in cities and designing for walkable communities. She has widely published in leading journals and has received research grants from various funding agencies including British Acdemey/Leverhulme Trust, Royal Institute of British Architects and Economic and Social Research Council. Urmi has a PhD from Newcastle University, an MSc in Urban Planning from University of Hong Kong (as an ADB fellow) and BArch from School of Planning and Architecture, India.

Project Partner (UK) - Belfast Healthy Cities

Belfast is a leading member of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Healthy Cities Network, which currently has more than 90 member cities across Europe. Belfast Healthy Cities is a partnership organisation working to improve health and wellbeing through intersectoral collaboration. The key role of Belfast Healthy Cities is to share evidence, build capacity and introduce test new concepts and ways of working. We have pioneered work on healthy ageing, active travel and healthy urban environments in Belfast and Northern Ireland.  The Healthy Cities approach seeks to put health high on the political and social agenda of cities and to build a strong movement for public health at the local level. It strongly emphasises equity, participatory governance and solidarity, intersectoral collaboration and action to address the determinants of health. Core themes for Phase VI (2014-2018) include:

Health equity in all policies

Healthy Urban Environments

Child Friendly Places

Active travel

Age friendly environments

Climate change and health

Health literacy


See website for more information:



Prof. Rodrigo Reis (Washington University in St Louis, USA and Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, Brazil) - Principal Investigator

Dr. Alex Florindo (University of Sao Paulo) - Research Fellow WP4 Lead

Dr. Fabio Duarte (Pontifical Catholic University of Parana)

Dr. Adriano Akira Ferreira Hino (Pontifical Catholic University of Parana) – WP2

Msc. Adalberto Lopes (Federal University of Parana) – WP3

Dr. Rogério César Fermino (Federal University of Technology - Parana) – WP3

Dr. Ciro Romelio Rodriguez-Añez (Federal University of Technology - Parana) – WP4