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Our Research

Transforming | Health & Community Studies

Everything we do within the School centres on research excellence. We undertake groundbreaking studies which often influence decision-makers and policy writers working at the highest levels of government and health organisations. This research continually shapes our courses to ensure they are relevant and insightful.

When Professor Claire Surr’s great grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, it inspired her to pursue research to improve the quality of care available to people with this condition. Claire leads our Centre for Dementia Research focusing on dementia workforce education and training and improving the quality of formal dementia care.

Professor Jane South works in the field of volunteering, active citizenship and community health. Jane is an active member of our Centre for Health Promotion Research and a national advisor for Public Health England.

We are also engaged in child development and play through the research and practice of Fraser Brown, the only professor in the world of Playwork. He has undertaken restorative work with abused and traumatised children in Romania.

The Nursing and Healthcare team in the School have a range of research expertise centred around aspects of nursing education, including student recruitment, student engagement and experience with learning technologies and Competence Based development and Assessment. Nursing Practice is also key to research activity with expertise available in End of Life Care, Dementia Care, Diabetes care and risk management in medicines practice. This research is applied in focus contributing directly to policy and practice in the health and healthcare education system.

We also offer research courses (for example PhD’s and MRes’s) that inform future thinking and practice in health and social care both nationally and internationally. Research students are supervised by our professors and subject experts in health promotion, social work, youth work and community development, dementia, playwork, pain and safeguarding children.

Research degrees

The School hosts a wide-range of doctoral and research students - including full-time students and part-timer students, who are often studying alongside their professional role. We have six professors and a range of staff qualified to doctoral level who offer high quality supervision to our community of students.

In the field of health promotion and public health, we supervise PhDs in a wide range of areas. We have four overarching research themes: healthy communities; prisoners and offender health; women’s health; and evidence synthesis methodology. We have staff expertise in the area of dementia studies with internationally recognised dementia research that spans three main theme areas, including: Dementia Care and Services; Physical Activity and Sport; and The Arts, Culture, Media and Society. Social work is a vibrant professional area with many government initiatives and chances of European co-operation. Current social work PhD students are studying adoption, child protection, elder abuse, disability and professional resilience, amongst other topics. Our main research activities and expertise include child welfare policy and practice, residential child care, child protection, ethnography and global perspectives. We are unique in offering a range of opportunities in other areas including play work, nursing, counselling and psychological therapies.

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Transforming dementia care: "Our goal is to help people with dementia and their families experience a better quality of life" - Professor Claire Surr - School of Health and Community Studies

Contact Us

For further enquiries about the research we carry out at The School of Health & Community Studies or to find out how you can contribute and get involved, please contact Dr James Woodall (

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