About the Psychology Research Insititute
Our staff work in collaborative partnership with world-leading centres of research excellence to produce high-quality research outputs, which have real benefits for society.
The School of Psychology significantly contributes to research in two of the identified research themes in the Ulster University 5&50 Strategy: Social Renewal (e.g. peace and conflict, educational achievement) and Healthy Communities (e.g. mental health, health innovation and aging). More specifically, we work across three main themes of research:
- Mental health
- Children, young people and schools
- Health and aging
Much of our research is of an applied nature and has a direct impact on national and global health and social issues. We address many important societal issues such as mental health and community relations while carrying out internationally recognised research. We attract significant funding from Research Councils, government sources, charities, and health trusts.
The School of Psychology has a strong research programme encompassing advanced statistical analysis of big data, experimental and applied research. Through considerable investment, the School houses state-of-the-art Psychological Sciences Laboratories (PsychLAB), consisting of a number of specific research environments.
The Behavioural Insights Laboratory includes two eye-tracking suites (SMI and TOBII) with integrated biometric equipment. This technology can be used on or off campus with recent research being conducted in schools and hospital environments. The Exercise and Human Performance Laboratory includes treadmill equipment, on-line metabolic and cardiovascular analysis capabilities, and biological measurement facilities.
Our Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory houses transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation equipment, muscle recording equipment (Tringo Wireless) direct stimulation equipment and movement recording capabilities. The Child Development Laboratory is designed for young children and their parents to take part in experimental research. In addition, the School has a number of social skills suites with audio and video recording equipment that can be used for observational research.
As a group of psychologists, we aim to provide a genuinely supportive working environment in which colleagues feel valued and productive. We encourage a team-based approach with academic staff, postgraduate researchers and research staff working together to meet research challenges.
Our key aims when conducting research are:
- The development of research expertise that is internationally recognised.
- To actively encourage interdisciplinary research and contribute to cross-cutting University research centres.
- To ensure that our research has impact both regionally, nationally and internationally.
- To work internationally with centres of excellence on global research issues.
- To train and develop future research leaders.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The REF 2014 results highlight the importance of our extensive collaborative partnerships with world leading centres of excellence to produce findings which have real benefits for society. Reflecting our multidisciplinary approach, members of the Institute were entered into four units of assessment with improved performance in every area.
Key facts from REF 2014:
- The School of Psychology returned 5% of the overall University Research funding in the 2014 Research exercise.
- 60% of our research outputs in REF 2014 were rated as Internationally excellent or World leading.
- Research Council income award to the School of Psychology was judged to be in the top twenty in Psychology in REF 2014
- Postgraduate completion rates in REF 2014 were outstanding with two completions per staff member over the REF period.
- Research in under the Peace and Conflict theme was highlighted by the REF panel as being world-leading and having societal impact.
- Research into fuel poverty was judged to be outstanding in terms of impact with Professor Christine Liddell being recognised with an MBE for her contributions in this area.