Senior Lecturer

Health Psychology,

Institute of Applied Health Sciences,

University of Aberdeen.

 I am a health psychologist based at the University of Aberdeen with a particular interest in cognitive function and the effortful control of health behaviour. I participated in the Crucible in 2011 while working as a research fellow and found it to be a professionally life changing experience. At that point in my career, I’d never had the chance to interact closely with people from so many different, diverse disciplines – history, artificial intelligence, medicine, business, music, soil science, etc – and found it completely enlightening. No two perspectives or skill sets were the same but we all found complimentary interests and experiences that let us work effectively together.

Crucible directly led to funding for two research projects with other participants – one which linked psychology, information science, health economics and machine learning to develop an app designed to change dietary behaviour and another which combined health psychology with medical imaging in order to relate dietary patterns to structural changes in the brain. Both projects resulted in publications and in collaborations that carried on well after the initial projects had finished. Indirectly, participation gave me the confidence and skills to pursue opportunities that previously felt out of reach. In the years following Crucible I took the lead as PI on a large 5 year project, travelled Europe participating in an EU Knowledge Hub, met with Government policy makers on behalf of my professional body and worked successfully with several large multidisciplinary teams to secure grant funding.

In an academic world that is often hectic and focused on metrics, the Crucible gave me the time and space to think creatively about problems, to develop key professional skills and to build networks. This proved invaluable to my career development. Since participating, I’ve moved from research fellow to lecturer to senior lecturer and have recently been elected as the Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology Scotland.

Most importantly, the Crucible is great fun to be part of and the skills labs, facilitators, visits, venues and tasks are all excellent. I’d strongly encourage anyone who is interested in a research career to apply to take part.