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 Megan Birney

Senior Lecturer

Megan is a Social Psychologist. Broadly, her research projects focus on the role identity processes play in society. As a student, you’ll mainly see her in your Social Psychology modules, or in lectures that touch upon social psychological issues.

Megan's profile

Dr Emily Buckley

Head Of Department - Psychology

I am Head of the Psychology Department, and am a registered Health Psychologist with a background in health promotion.

Emily's profile

Dr Amy Burton

Senior Lecturer

My research interests focus on improving health care communication in areas including: gerontology, pain management, visual impairment and sensory disability.

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

Daniel's profile

Dr Jo Heyes

Clinical Director

Jo's areas of interest for research are early attachment relationships, parenting programmes and early childhood behaviour difficulties. She also has an interest in perinatal mental health and in the supervisory relationship.

Jo'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 Holland

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

My interests are broadly in the area of attention and memory. I'm particularly interested in how human emotion influences attention and memory performance.

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

Principal Clinical Lecturer

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


I am a lecturer in Health Psychology, as well as being an active researcher, with work published in a wide variety of peer reviewed journals. My main research interests are health promotion and body image.

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

Sarah is a developmental psychologist with a particular interest in the influence of education on the development of children's creative abilities.

Sarah's profile

Dr Helen Scott

Research Director

I completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology with German, and in 2004 completed my doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at Birmingham University.

Helen's profile

Nichola Street

Senior Lecturer

Nikki is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, teaching across a range of psychology modules at all levels and acting as Level 6 tutor as well as research which is housed under the umbrella of psychological interventions.

Nichola'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
UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

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

Research Excellence Framework 2021