Dr Grainne Kelly


School of Applied Social and Policy Sc.

Belfast campus

Room BC-07-112,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Institute for Research in Social Sciences


Dr Grainne Kelly


Dr Gráinne Kelly is a Lecturer in politics and peace and conflict studies in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences and is based within INCORE (International Conflict Research Institute).

Prior to joining Ulster University in 2008, Gráinne worked as a researcher in a range of civil society organisations including Democratic Dialogue (Northern Ireland’s first policy think tank) and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. She has also completed commissioned research for organisations including Save the Children UK, Mediation Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Healing through Remembering.

She holds an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies and PhD from Ulster University and was awarded an Emerging Leaders Fellowship at the Center for Civil Society and Philanthropy, City University New York (CUNY) in 2005 to conduct research on the role of community foundations in societies emerging from conflict.

Dr Kelly specialises in qualitative research and has undertaken extensive field work both in Northern Ireland and internationally, including Cambodia and Sierra Leone.  Her qualitative research (with Hamber) on reconciliation theories and practices in Northern Ireland was adopted and operationalised by the European Union in a major funding stream worth 1.5 billion euros, fundamentally transforming the way the Programme was managed from 2005-2013.

She was Principal Investigator on two grant awards (total £86,008) from the Equality Unit of the Northern Ireland Assembly to research priority areas for good relations policy and has presented widely on the topic in both policy and academic settings. Dr. Kelly was the research lead and co-investigator on a European Union PEACE III Programme grant (£948,509) to build a digital archive of oral histories related to the Northern Ireland conflict. She is a founding member of the Stories Network, a network hosted and chaired by Healing Through Remembering, for those gathering and sharing personal narratives related to the conflict and and about Northern Ireland.

Dr. Kelly is currently (February 2021) in receipt of a research grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Irish Government to conduct qualitative research on the development of bottom-up indicators of reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Dr Kelly’s work has been published in journals including International Peacekeeping, Journal of Human Rights Practice and International Journal for Conflict Resolution and Engagement.  She is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College.