Ryan is the Head of Public Engagement at Queen’s University Belfast where he is responsible for leading the University’s public affairs, business engagement and community engagement work programmes. He was appointed to the Northern Ireland Policing Board as an independent member by the Minister of Justice in May 2011 and reappointed for a second four-year term in June 2015.
He is a graduate of Education with Business Studies and History from St. Mary’s University College Belfast and holds an MA in Irish History and Politics from Ulster University and an LL.M in Law, Governance and Public Policy from Queen's University Belfast.
Ryan is a former Politics and Economics teacher having taught in St. Mary's High School Limavady and later in Holy Cross College Strabane as Head of Government and Politics. He also spent time in the private sector working as a Project Manager for ECP before joining the staff of Ulster GAA in 2006 as Head of Community and Public Affairs where for ten years he was a senior official responsible for Community Development, Public Affairs, Marketing, Communications, Funding and Strategic Development. Ryan was also the overall GAA Community Outreach coordinator tasked with outreaching to individuals and groups who traditionally had no involvement in the Association. After leaving the staff of the Ulster Council, he was elected as a Council member representing County Derry GAA and also served as a Management Board member of Derry GAA. He is currently a panel member of the Disputes Resolutions Authority of the Gaelic Athletic Association.
From 2014 to 2016 he was a Visiting Professor of Governance in Policy at Ulster University.