Orla is a Reader in Psychology at Ulster University. Orla has held international research posts in the US and Australia, which has resulted in the establishment of a wide international collaboration. Over the last decade, she was worked with a wide range of social science data sources including cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys (e.g., the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys and the UK Household Longitudinal Survey), health administrative data (e.g., the NHS Digital Mental Health Minimum Dataset), and linked administrative data (e.g., the Northern Ireland Morbidity Survey).
Since 2012, Orla has contributed to securing research funding (~£1M) from the NIHR and the ESRC. Orla has authored over 70 research papers, which have been published in high quality, reputable journals (h-index=24, January 2021). She is an Associate Editor for Addiction. Orla is an expert reviewer for the NIHR, ESRC, MRC and for many leading mental health journals.
Students have nominated Orla for her Excellence in Learning and Teaching and Research Supervision at the UUSU Learning and Teaching Awards. Orla obtained Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) in 2017 in recognition of her leadership in the fields of digital literacy, and in creative and innovative curriculum design and delivery. She coordinates the School’s Annual Research Methods and Statistics Summer School. Orla is a member of the Self-Assessment Team for the School’s Athena Swan Bronze Award.