Dr Paul Best is the Director of the Centre for Technological Innovation in Mental Health and Education (TIME Centre) within the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen's University Belfast. This Centre is a trans-disciplinary partnership of academics, practitioners and technology companies focusing on therapeutic and pedagogical advances in mental health and social care through digital means.
Dr Best has published several journal articles in the field of digital mental health and serves on the editorial board of Frontiers in Digital Health. He also Principal investigator on multiple digital mental health projects in Northern Ireland. In recognition of this work, Dr Best was appointed by the Department of Health for Northern Ireland (NI) as assignment co-lead for the Digital Mental Health Action Plan as part of the wider Mental Health Strategy (2021-31).
Dr. Tom Van Daele is a visiting scholar at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast. His main position is at Thomas More University of Applied Sciences (Antwerp, Belgium), where he is the head of the Expertise Unit Psychology, Technology & Society.
His work is predominantly practice-oriented and multidisciplinary: he educates students and clinicians on the use of technology, facilitates organizations with the integration and implementation of technologies within their services, and advices policy makers on how to accommodate healthcare systems to accommodate these innovations. Alongside these positions, he is also a research fellow at KU Leuven and the convenor of the Project Group on eHealth of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vandaeletom/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TomVanDaele Personal website: www.epsychology.be
Devon's research to date has focused on improving the quality of life (QoL) of autistic learners through person-centred practices. She is particularly interested in how behavioural indicators of mood can be used as QoL measures for autistic children. In the future, she hopes to further validate these mood indices with physiological measures using wearable technology.
Devon has been involved in several technology-based research projects, including the use of virtual reality to reduce social anxiety in autistic individuals, the use of telehealth to provide parent training, technology-based instruction for autistic learners, and the use of high-tech communication devices.
Gavin Davidson is a Professor of Social Care and Praxis Chair of Social Care at Queen’s University Belfast. He qualified as a social worker in 1995 then worked for 12 years in mental health services before starting at Queen’s in 2008. His main research interests are in mental health, specifically: the effectiveness of services; the social determinants of mental health; human rights and mental health/mental capacity legislation; and the associations between adversity, trauma and mental health.
He has been involved in a number of projects which have focused on the use of technology to facilitate mental health interventions and education. His main education responsibility at Queen’s is for the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law Post-Graduate Diploma course which prepares social workers for their statutory duties under those legal frameworks. Gavin is also involved in the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, and the Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031 for Northern Ireland which includes a positive focus on the use of technology.
Dr. Sultan Turkan is senior lecturer in bilingual education at Queen’s Uni Belfast. Prior to joining Queens, Sultan worked almost a decade as research scientist at Educational Testing Service, investigating sources of bias on math and science assessments disadvantaging linguistically and culturally marginalized students.
Across those years, Sultan became increasingly more resolute in her work to innovate ways to provide opportunities for immigrant children to demonstrate their linguistic and cultural resources in mainstream classrooms. Since joining QUB, Sultan chaired the 2022 British Association of Applied Linguistics conference at QUB Belfast and recently has been appointed as the NI convenor of the teacher education SIG for BERA. Central to Sultan’s work is a strong commitment and dedication to social justice by accompanying immigrant children and their teachers in their sociocultural journeys in and out of schooling environments.
My research has concentrated on adult sector social work, in particular, in the areas of adult safeguarding, older people, and mental health. I am also interested in cross-cultural research and work with research partners in Uganda
Nichola has been at QUB since 2018 and is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. Prior to this she worked for over 16 years in clinical practice working directly with the autism community designing and implementing supports for teaching new skills using behaviour analysis. Her research interests lie in utilising technology that will support autistic individuals in all areas of their lives.
She was co-designer of the “VR Classroom”, made to teach fractions to autistic teenagers and is working with colleagues on a programme for trainee classroom assistants using VR and 360 video to identify low level behaviours in a classroom environment and how best to address these.
Research interests include Applied Behaviour analysis, autism, social anxiety and immersive technology
Alex is a computer science graduate focusing on creating education based Virtual Reality environments. His current PhD explores the potential benefits of VR in Educating Health and Social Care students.
Lucy is a film maker by background and her research is around 1st person embodied Cinematic VR narratives exploring psychological trauma. This is also the subject of her PhD, which is based in Film Studies and Production, in collaboration with Social Work and SARC with supervisors Paul Best, Pedro Rebelo and Cahal Mclaughlin. You can find out more about Lucy’s recent CVR project here: www.sensalience.com.
Dr Paul McCafferty has extensive social work practice expertise spanning thirty years of professionally qualified practice. He has worked as a practitioner and senior manager across the statutory, voluntary, and private sectors, both in child welfare and education and training.
This experience provides him with an in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of social work practice and training issues, affording him a high level of professional credibility which both students and employers value immensely. Since 2017 Paul has worked in the university sector and currently works as a senior lecturer in Queen’s University Belfast and up until September 2023 was the Programme Director for Social Work. Paul now works as the Director for Undergraduate Education in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast. Paul’s primary research examines children’s rights with a particular focus on the participation, protection, and inclusion rights of children in child welfare. Paul is lead convenor of a large European wide Special Interest Group – Children’s Rights in Practice - within the European Social Work Research Association. Paul is also interested in examining areas related to risk, assessment, and decision-making in child welfare social work. Additionally, Paul has an interest in evidence-based/informed practice as well as knowledge acquisition and utilisation in social work. Paul also has a broad interest in general areas of social work education, training, and practice learning.
Greg graduated with a First Class (Hons) in Education, as well as an Advanced PG Dip. in Inclusive Education with the Institute of Child Education and Psychology in Europe. He lived and worked in East Africa for many years before returning to live back in the UK to train as CBT psychotherapist (PG Dip).
He has a wealth of experience supporting adults, young people and parents with a variety of mental health issues and educational support. Greg is currently completing his PhD in a Behavioural Activation intervention to support People with Parkinsons using an adapted evidence-based BA protocol which is enhanced with the use of a Virtual Reality exercise programme.
Janine is the Lead Midwife for Education and Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast. She has been a researcher and educator since 2007, having worked in Trinity College Dublin, University of Ulster and The Royal College of Midwives (London).
Her expertise is in motivational learning design, which is based on the premise, that adults who are motivated to learn will demonstrate greater commitment, creativity and optimal performance. Under the mentorship of the creator of the ARCS-V Design Model (Keller 2010), Janine’s first experience of using this approach was her Doctoral study which she completed in 2007 (funded by the Research and Development Office NI). Since then, she has continued to apply her expertise in motivational learning in multiple studies and contexts including designing digital solutions for women-centred choice following a previous C Section, creating a culture of undergraduate simulated learning within midwifery education and virtual reality for interdisciplinary learning related to perinatal mental health. Further information about Janine’s interests, awards and publications is available at: https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/janine-stockdale
Dr Gerry Marshall is a lecturer in Social Work at Queen's University in Belfast. He has over 25 years' experience as a practitioner, manager and inspector of children's residential care services in both in Northern Ireland, Dublin and Angola, Africa.
His PhD research explored issues around understanding quality care in children’s homes, and the identity formation of young people who grow up in group care. Gerry is interested in the use of virtual reality immersive experiences as a teaching tool for social work training with both University and front line settings.
Matt Birch is an Educational Technologist at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast. He is also a co-lead of the Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Sub-Group within Nursing and Midwifery, a steering member of the university’s Research & Innovation Professionals Network, and a steering group member of the Association for Learning Technology (Northern Ireland Branch).
Matt’s research interests are: third space professionalism, educational technology, post-digital education, immersive technology-based learning (POV, VR, AR, XR), instructional design, video-based e-learning, gamification, multimedia development, and blended learning design.
Professor Campbell has established an international reputation for work in the area of mental health with a specific focus on drugs and alcohol. Whilst her research is now developing more intensively in relation to substance use, she has created and published Apps for social work practice and education.
She was awarded an International prize (HUSITA www.husita.org ) for the development of three ‘Child Development’ Apps, which have been downloaded on over 350,000 occasions worldwide as confirmed by google analytics. This work was subsequently published in two peer reviewed journals. Currently, she is working across several digitally orientated projects including the feasibility of ‘Wearables’ technology to detect initial signs of overdose in opioid users.
Jessica Cushnan is a NISCC registered Social Worker whose background is in Adult Services, based in an acute hospital setting. Jessica is completing her Doctoral studies within the TIME Centre at QUB on the topic of Virtual Reality based Tools for the treatment of victims of historical trauma in Northern Ireland.
Jessica volunteers in a local mental health charity and is a keen advocate for using digital tools for the treatment of mental health conditions.
Audrey Roulston is a Professor of Social Work in Palliative Care. She has 25 years experience in palliative care as a social work practitioner, researcher and educator. She is co-chair of the European Association of Palliative Care Task Force for social workers and chair of the World Hospice Palliative Care Social Work Research Network.
Her interests include exploring the impact of living with a life-limiting condition, assessing the needs of bereaved individuals and identifying the most effective interventions for prolonged grief disorder. She has conducted research with social work students, palliative care patients and bereaved carers in relation to changes in anxiety, depression and quality of life over time.
Trisha has extensive practice experience in adult and older people’s mental health services in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Trisha’s PhD explored the presence of religion and spirituality in the narratives of people accessing mental health services and how this is engaged with by mental health social workers. Trisha is interested in further developing research around the cultural context of mental health and the ways in which these are recognized in society and in services. Trisha is also interested broadly in other areas of mental health research including: health inequalities; mental health literacy; and intra-professional working.