Join us for a series of presentations on how COVID-19 has impacted us as individuals and as a society.

COVID and the aftermath: What did we learn and what must we learn?

COVID and the aftermath: What did we learn and what must we learn?

Join us for a series of presentations on how COVID-19 has impacted us as individuals and as a society.

Watch the Presentations

Q&A Sessions

Read transcripts from our Q&A sessions:

Event Programme
9:45am Welcome
Professor Paul Bartholomew - Vice-Chancellor 
10am The Contribution of Scientific Research
  • Professor Tony Bjourson – Director of the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute
  • Dr David Gibson – Senior Lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Colum Walsh - Professor of Genetics in the School of Biomedical Sciences
11:30am The Impact on Mental Health
Siobhan O’Neill - Professor of Mental Health Sciences and Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland
12:30pm Break

The Impact on our Economy

  • Dr Gareth Hetherington – Director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre
  • Reponse by Esmond Birnie, Senior Economist (Economic Research), Department of Accounting, Finance & Economics
3pm Young People and Youth Work: Risk and Resilience under COVID-19
  • Dr Gail Neill – Lecturer in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences
  • Elizabeth McArdle – Lecturer in Community Youth Work
  • Dr Breda Friel – Lecturer in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences
4pm Close
Jenny Pyper - Chair of Ulster University Council 

There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions after each talk


Professor Tony Bjourson

Professor Tony Bjourson

Professor Tony Bjourson, Director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine which he established at Altnagelvin (C-TRIC), led the Ulster University COVID-19 Task Force that incorporated the COVID-19 viral screening and serology testing as a member of the Northern Ireland COVID-19 Testing Scientific Advisory Consortium.

This consortium reported to the Department of Health through the Expert Advisory Group on Testing. The consortium was composed of Ulster University, the Queen's University of Belfast, Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the Almac Group.

He currently leads a COVID-19 research program (COVRES) funded by the Department for Economy in Northern Ireland and Science foundation Ireland in the Republic of Ireland in partnership with Trinity College Dublin that has recruited 1000 COVID-19 patients across Ireland.  COVRES sequences the genomes of patients and aims to find out what human genes are associated with mild versus severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Read Tony's presentation synopsis

David Gibson

Dr David Gibson

Dr David Gibson is a Senior Lecturer based in the NI Centre for Stratified Medicine at Ulster University.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr Gibson was appointed to an NI Serology Task Force to assess and implement new antibody assays in a series of ongoing NI population studies to estimate past infection. He is currently leading the setup of a quality assured laboratory, which will screen asymptomatic healthcare workers for the SARS-CoV-2 virus with a novel LAMP based saliva test.

Read David's presentation synopsis

 Siobhan O’Neill

Professor Siobhan O’Neill

Siobhan O’Neill is a Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University, and Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland. Her research programmes focus on trauma mental illness and suicidal behaviour in Northern Ireland, and the transgenerational transmission of trauma.

Read Siobhan's presentation synopsis

Colum Walsh

Colum Walsh

Colum is head of the Genomic Medicine Research Group and Lead for Strategic Academic Partnerships for the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute.

His work in epigenetics has been widely cited and he has secured substantial funding from the UK Research Councils for his work, most recently in interdisciplinary areas involving colleagues across several Faculties.  During the COVID-19 crisis he has been assisting in SARS-CoV-2 testing as part of the University/HSC consortium and has worked hand in hand with the Public Health Agency team in the development of new tools for Contact Tracing.

Read Colum's presentation synopsis

Gareth Hetherington

Gareth Hetherington

Gareth Hetherington is Director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre. The Centre carries out a broad range of economic policy focused research to inform Government on key policy and strategy decisions.

Gareth provides regular economic commentary in the media and is often invited to provide evidence to Stormont Committees on economic development policy in areas such as non-domestic rates relief, mitigation measures against COVID-19 and responding to the Executive’s Draft Budget.

Read Gareth's presentation synopsis

Dr. Breda Friel

Dr. Breda Friel

Dr. Breda Friel's doctoral research area is suicide prevention policy in Ireland.  Breda also researches Autism Spectrum and CYW and the importance of relationships in practice and current research is Museums, Crisis and COVID-19.

Specialising in trauma debriefing and critical incident responses, Breda is an accredited therapist and clinical supervisor with IACP and BACP.  She works with statutory and C&V agencies in managing resources and support following critical events and current research is focusing on the unfolding narrative and practice themes emerging from COVID-19.

Read Breda's presentation synopsis

Eliz McArdle

Eliz McArdle

Eliz McArdle is a lecturer in community youth work at Ulster University and Course Director for the Certificate in Youth Studies.  In addition, Eliz is Project Manager for YouthPact, a support and training project supporting the workforce for the Peace IV Children and Young People’s programme.

Previously she worked for 10 years as Team Leader for the Equality Work with Young Women team in YouthAction NI (previously the Gender Equality Unit). Her research and teaching areas include: gender equality and work with young women; youth work for peace-building, and professional and practice development.

Along with Simon Ward, Eliz developed the LIFEMAPS positive mental health model. She is actively involved in the management of Critical Voice, an online platform for creating youth work dialogue.

Read Eliz's presentation synopsis

Dr Gail Neill

Dr Gail Neill

Dr Gail Neill is a lecturer in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences at Ulster University.  She is the Programme Director for a Fast Track Community Youth Work degree programme alongside which she teaches and convenes undergraduate and post graduate modules.  Her teaching interests include critical thinking; support and supervision; reflective practice; mentoring and gender and diversity.

Gail has been a member of the Community Youth Work team at Ulster for 4 years. Prior to this move to academia she worked within the voluntary and community sector, as a youth work practitioner.  Her career in this field spans 20 years and reflects her research and practice interests in gender and sexual (in)equalities; lobbying, campaigning and grass roots youth activism; and participatory research.

Read Gail's presentation synopsis


Event info

This event has ended

09:45AM to 04:00PM

Online Via Microsoft Teams

Corporate Events Office

+44 (28) 70123266