The NI Clinical Research Network (NICRN) undertakes Stroke research throughout Northern Ireland. The NICRN is part of a UK-wide initiative to provide opportunities for patients and clinicians to participate in high-quality clinical research.

The Stroke Group undertakes research across the breadth of stroke medicine across Northern Ireland. Our aim is to include all aspects of the stroke care pathway, from hyperacute revascularisation therapies, to rehabilitation and long-term consequences of life after stroke.

The NICRN Stroke Group aims to:

  • Promote stroke research within Northern Ireland
  • Attract large multi-centre clinical trials in stroke medicine to Northern Ireland.
  • Encourage and support local researchers to conduct independent research in stroke medicine within Northern Ireland.
  • Ensure stroke research in Northern Ireland is conducted to the highest standards of quality and safety.
  • Provide the necessary infrastructure to facilitate start-up of new studies in stroke medicine.
  • Engage with all disciplines of the stroke multi-disciplinary team to deliver research across all aspects of the stroke pathway.


Areas of interest include the following:

  • Hyperacute revascularisation therapies for acute ischaemic stroke
  • Intracerebral haemorrhage
  • Anticoagulation for patients with atrial fibrillation and acute ischaemic stroke or prior intracerebral haemorrhage
  • Secondary prevention of stroke
  • Stroke rehabilitation interventions

Dr Patricia Fearon – BHSCT

Stroke Clinical Lead

Dr Fearon is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, and completed her postgraduate medical training in Northern Ireland, Australia and Scotland. She undertook a period of research in Stroke Medicine in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow in addition to a sub-specialist stroke medicine clinical post.

Research focussed on interventions to improve service provision to stroke patients including Cochrane systematic review of stroke units and early supported discharge and a cluster randomised control trial of improvements in access to neurovascular clinics. She won the BASP Warlow prize for her research at the UKSF in 2013, travelling to Australia to present at the Australasian Stroke Conference.

Dr Fearon is a Consultant Stroke Physician in the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, the regional stroke thrombectomy centre for Northern Ireland. Within her full-time clinical role she has conducted several small independent research projects with publication and continues to act as PI for large multi-centre trials, including the SWIFT-DIRECT study, as one of only 2 endovascular centres within the NHS.

Dr Fearon has been co-PI for Stroke for the NICRN since 2018.

Contact email:

Carolee McLaughlin – Speech and language Therapist

Stroke Clinical Lead