Time of assuming the current leadership role

In July 2019, Professor Norelee Kennedy was appointed Vice President for Research at the University of Limerick, Ireland and took up the post in January 2020, following a four-month period of research leave.

Previous experience and education

Norelee Kennedy is an Associate Professor of Physiotherapy in the School of Allied Health and is an active member of the Health Research Institute and its Health Implementation Science and Technology cluster. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BSc in Physiotherapy (1999) and a PhD (2004) in the field of physiotherapy, health economics and rheumatology. She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics (TCD 2000) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (NUI Galway 2004).

Norelee was appointed Lecturer in Physiotherapy at UL in 2004, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015 and Associate Professor in 2018. She was the Head of School of Allied Health, UL from 2014-2019. During that time, she oversaw the first external quality review of the school, six regulatory body programme approvals and monitoring of professional programmes as well as the establishment of two new professional graduate entry Masters programmes in Physiotherapy and Human Nutrition & Dietetics. She managed over 50 staff in the school, delivering programmes to c400 students across the four disciplines of Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy and Dietetics. She also co-led the successful first School of Allied Health Athena SWAN application for a Bronze award in 2018.

Research/Professional interests

Alongside her academic leadership, Norelee leads a successful research programme in the field of rheumatology/physiotherapy. To date, she has been awarded almost €3 million in research funding from national and EU funders. Currently, she leads a Health Research Board funded project (DIFA scheme 2018), examining the feasibility of a physiotherapist led behaviour change intervention, to promote physical activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis (PIPPRA study). She is a collaborator on a recently funded EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), 46 partner consortium, IDEA-FAST, led by Professor Fai Ng in the University of Newcastle. The project aim is to identify digital endpoints to assess fatigue, sleep and activities of daily living in neurodegenerative disorders and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Norelee is also part of a EULAR funded pan Europe research group, developing an educational programme for health professionals to promote physical activity in people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). In 2018, Norelee was invited to sit on a EULAR European working group to develop recommendations for physical activity for people with RMDs. She also served on the EULAR Health Professionals committee (2014-2019).

For a full list of publications see:


Areas of responsibility

  • Research affairs of the University, including research support services, related enterprise and commercialisation of UL’s research.
  • Leadership in the formulation, development and delivery of the University’s research policy, strategy and support services.
  • Key role in the overall leadership and strategic management of the University.
  • Member of the University’s Executive Committee and Development Group.
  • Work with the research community in UL, nationally and internationally, to grow research capacity, quality, output and revenue.
  • Identify, develop and exploit funding opportunities through the research office and ensure excellent information, advice and assistance for the research community in securing such funding.
  • Promote and encourage excellence in the research environment and ensure the provision of effective, responsive structures, services and information systems to support the research function.
  • Provide policy advice, relevant reports and evaluations of research capacity, quality and output through the research office.
  • Research governance, conduct, integrity and ethics.
  • Ensure excellent management of research contracts, finances and research expenditure including research overheads.