Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research



We pride ourselves on the applied nature of our research work. We are a vibrant community of psychologists with a clear focus on ensuring that our work has meaning for the academic community as well as for those whom we research, practitioners, patients, policy makers and the wider public.

Our aim

The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research (SCPR), established in 2016, conducts socially relevant research which has a positive impact on psychological health. The SCPR collaborates with industry, the NHS, service users, policy-makers and global academic partnerships.

Our work corresponds with the following UN Sustainable development Goals:

  • 3 - Health and Well-being: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 4 - Good quality education: ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • 10 - Reduced inequalities – reduce inequality within and among countries

We have two key strengths:

  • The applied nature of our work: for example, we work on generating insights and understanding to support and encourage health behaviour change, coping with long term conditions, creativity in children and healthy ageing.
  • The methodological approaches we employ, which unusually for a psychology department recognise the value of innovative qualitative approaches. In addition to the more traditional approaches to psychological research (e.g. surveys, eye-tracking, photo-elicitation, interviews), the SCPR has strength in the application of novel research methodologies. For example, SCPR members use drawing, art, photography, and facial ageing software in their work. In using more novel approaches, participation in our research is made more accessible to those with different needs.

Group leader

Professor Richard Cooke

Professor Of Health Psychology

Richard’s main research interest is applying psychological models to predict health behaviours. He also works to develop and evaluate interventions to promote positive changes in health behaviours.

Richard's profile

Researchers within Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research

Dr Claire Barlow

Course Director

Claire's research is primarily focused on children's drawings with further projects focussing on the development of expressive drawing, and more specifically how this compares to the development of representational drawing skill, longitudinal de…

Claire's profile

Dr Emily Buckley

Senior Lecturer

Emily is the Admissions Tutor for Health Psychology, alongside being a registered Health Psychologist with a background in health promotion.

Emily's profile

Dr Amy Burton

Senior Lecturer

Dr Amy Burton is a Health Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

Amy's profile

Lisa Cowap


My expertise is within Health Psychology and conducting research employing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

Lisa's profile

Dr Sarah Dean

Senior Lecturer

Sarah's research has focussed on children and adolescents. Her PhD explored the effects that writing about stressful experiences has for early adolescents and why written emotional disclosure may not be a suitable intervention for them.

Sarah's profile

Dr Justine Drakeford

Senior Lecturer

I joined Staffordshire University as a senior lecturer in January 2012. My research interests are in the areas of cognitive neuropsychiatry and cognitive neuropsychology.

Justine's profile

Dr Daniel Herron

Senior Lecturer

I am an applied psychologist with interests in dementia and the therapeutic role of nature. I am passionate about facilitating the development of students so they can apply psychological knowledge and skills in their everyday lives and future careers

Daniel's profile

Sarah Higgins


Sarah is a Lecturer in Psychology, teaching across a range of psychology modules at all levels. Her research interests include eating behaviours and psychological interventions.

Sarah's profile

Dr Erica Lucas

Senior Lecturer

Erica's research interests lie in the area of human reasoning. Her PhD work was on relevance and rationalisation processes on the Wason selection task. She is particularly interested in the use of different methodologies that can be utilised t…

Erica's profile

Dr Louise Humphreys

Senior Lecturer

I am a Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Psychological Research Methods. I am the course leader for the MSc Psychology (conversion) course.

Louise's profile

Dr Gemma Hurst

Course Director

I am the Course Leader for the MSc Health Psychology. My research focuses on measuring the impact of environment exposures on health and wellbeing and exploring the wider determinants of health in relation to health inequality. I am also experie…

Gemma's profile

Dr Richard Jolley

Associate Professor

My research interests mainly lie in children's use and understanding of representation, particularly in their making and understanding of pictures.

Richard's profile

Dr Yvonne Melia

Interim Course Lead

Yvonne is a Clinical Psychologist and the Academic Director of the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Her expertise lies in the mental health of looked after and adopted children specifically, which informs her teaching and research.

Yvonne's profile

Dr Alison Owen


Dr Alison Owen is a Lecturer in Health Psychology, with an interest in research related to body image and appearance, and using appearance concern as a tool for health promotion.

Alison's profile

Dr Rachel Povey

Associate Professor

I'm the course leader for the Health Psychology Professional Doctorate. My areas of expertise are healthy eating, dietary change and psychological aspects of diabetes.

Rachel's profile

Dr Sarah Rose

Senior Lecturer

I love inspiring students at all levels about child development and how we can share our psychological expertise to make a difference to children and their families. My research focuses on education, children’s wellbeing and children’s use of tech.

Sarah's profile

Dr Jennifer Taylor

Senior Lecturer

Jennifer is a senior lecturer in qualitative psychological research methods. Jennifer is a qualitative researcher with research interests in several areas but mainly body image, maternal health, breastfeeding, and mindfulness.

Jennifer's profile

Dr Romina Vivaldi

Senior Lecturer

Romina's research interests are focussed on symbolic development as it relates to pictures and occupational gender stereotypes.

Romina's profile

Dr David Gordon

Senior Lecturer

David is a senior lecturer in psychology. His main areas of research are the evolution of human cooperation, life-history theory and human decision-making, and the psychology of conspiracy theory beliefs.

David's profile

Dr Simon Stewart


Simon is a Lecturer in Psychology with specialist interests in social, health, and developmental psychology. He specialises in discourse, critical discourse, and conversation analysis.

Simon's profile
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021