Profile image of Professor Sonja McIlfatrick

Professor Sonja McIlfatrick

Head of School and Professor of Nursing and Palliative Care

Profile image of Professor Sonja McIlfatrick


School of Nursing


Institute of Nursing and Health Research


Room 12J08 Shore Road Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB



Professor Sonja McIlfatrick is a Professor in Nursing and Palliative Care and the Head of School of Nursing at Ulster University. She is a distinguished academic whose career has spanned clinical practice, academia, research, and scholarship. Within her previous role as the Head of Research for the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (2011-2014) she led the establishment of the All Ireland Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN), which included the establishment of priorities for palliative care research across the island of Ireland.

Sonja has published widely in academic and professional journals with over 150 research outputs and publications and has a successful history of grant acquisition. Professor McIlfatrick is an internationally recognized leader in palliative care research and has been invited to deliver presentations at key national and international events. She is appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Maribor, Slovenia, University of Chiba, Japan and University of Technology, Sydney working with the Centre for Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT).

She has served on numerous international research-funding boards, such as German Government research funding panel, and is a current member of the Marie Curie UK Funding Research Committee. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, is a UK Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar and is a member of the research advisory committee for the Council of Deans for Health, UK.

Sonja also has a keen interest in doctoral education, serving as the first non-US based President of the International Network of Doctoral Education in Nursing (INDEN). In 2020 she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing, UK.  Her current research interests include, palliative care in chronic illness, management of clinical symptoms; decision making at end of life; and public health approach to palliative care.