Profile image of Dr Heather Ritchie

Dr Heather Ritchie

Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Energy Policy

Profile image of Dr Heather Ritchie


Belfast School of Architecture & the Be


Built Environment Research


Room 04B06 Shore Road Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB



Dr Heather Ritchie was appointed as a lecturer in Spatial Planning and Energy Policy in the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Ulster University in 2009. Prior to joining Ulster University Heather graduated from the University of Dundee with a Law degree. In her 3rd year she completed an Erasmus exchange to Leiden University in the Netherlands studying international law.

Upon returning to Northern Ireland Heather spent her first year working as a Paralegal in Worthington's working in residential conveyancing.  She returned to university in 2005 to do an MSc in Environmental Planning in Queen’s University Belfast, where she developed a passion for Marine Spatial Planning. In 2006 she commenced her PhD on ‘Stakeholder Engagement and Marine Spatial Planning’, also at Queen’s University Belfast. Since completing her PhD Heather’s research interests have developed around MSP, land-sea interaction, regulation at the coast and beyond, transboundary MSP, planning education, planning law and planning regulation (developer contributions).

Heather teaches across all four years of the Integrated Masters (MSci) in Planning, Regeneration and Development. Her teaching specialisms are in Planning Law and Regulation, Environmental Impact and Marine Spatial Planning. Heather is a PhD supervisor and supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate research projects and dissertations.

Heather has recently been appointed as Athena Swan Coordinator on behalf of the School (maternity cover) for the Bronze Award. Heather is a committee member of the Irish Sea Maritime Forum, the MSP Research Network and was co-opted as a member of the Marine and Coastal Working Group for the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside in 2016. Heather recently has become a Chartered Member of the Irish Planning Institute.