Research Board 2015

The Research Board is responsible for the promotion, advancement and diffusion of a knowledge of psychology pure and applied, and to encourage new developments in psychological science and its applications.

The Board continues to be proactive in the production of evidence-based guidance documents and leading on consultation responses. Of principle concern this year has been the Research Excellence Framework and the outcomes for the discipline.  The Board received a presentation from Professor Glyn Humphreys, Chair of the Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at its February meeting.  This resulted in a sub-group of the Board being convened to consider the evidence and implications of the continued fragmentation of Psychology across the REF sub-panels.  It also consulted with sub-panel chairs regarding the assessment of Psychology submissions to their sub-panels.  This work is progressing and feeding into relevant consultations.  The Board was particularly saddened to note the untimely loss of Professor Humphreys early in 2016.

Two advisory groups (behaviour change and dementia), convened jointly with the Professional Practice Board, have been continued to work on the preparation of external briefings on the contributions of psychology.  The Behaviour Change Advisory Group portfolio is being extended with new briefings on areas such as voter apathy, pensions, winter fuel allowance, adherence to medication and cybersecurity.  The Dementia Advisory Group drafted a position statement which was circulated for Society wide consultation during the year.  It is now undergoing final revisions and will be published in the Summer 2016.

The Board is also concerned to further advance and promote psychological science.  Of particular note, the Board has planned an event on replicability and reproducibility for May 2016.  This will involve a panel of speakers who will discuss potential solutions (e.g., need for pre-registration, implications for training of psychologists/scientists, the Open Science Framework) as well as give attention to what might be considered a good percentage of replication (and what we can learn from lower levels of reproducibility etc.). The overall aim of the event is to have a positive, upbeat and collegiate afternoon’s debate.

The Board is again delighted to celebrate the scientific excellence of UK psychology via its award schemes, congratulations go to:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge: Professor Glyn Humphreys
  • Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychological Knowledge:  Professor Matthew Lambon Ralph
  • Spearman Medal: Dr Iroise Dumontheil
  • Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research Contributions: Dr Rachel Arnold and Dr Lauren Marsh

To recognise the breadth of published work in psychology the 2014 Book Award has been made in two categories, congratulations to all the authors.

  • Popular Science category: the winner was Michael Bond for The Power of Others
  • Textbook category: the winner wasProfessor Lynne Murray for The Psychology of Babies

 The Board also made the inaugural joint Society and Association of Technical Staff in Psychology (ATSiP) award to Martyn Atkins recognition of his exceptional contributions as a technician in supporting research. 

The Research Board continues to support the scientific activities and development of UK psychology through its grant schemes

The popular Undergraduate Research Assistantship scheme provides grants for second year undergraduates to gain experience as Research Assistants in UK HEIs. 68 applications were received this year and 12 awards were made.

The Postgraduate Study Visits Scheme supported seven postgraduates to undertake visits to the following institutions: University of Sussex; University of York; Ghent University, Belgium; Maximillians University, Munich; Institute Pasteur, Paris; University of California, San Diego; Macquarie University, Australia.

The two rounds (April and October) of the Postdoctoral Conference Bursary Scheme attracted a high number of applications and 12 bursaries were awarded for attendance at conferences in the UK, Europe and the Rest of the World.  The Postdoctoral Study Visit Scheme supported a visit University of Edinburgh, Ulster University, Coleraine; University of Southampton and Osaka Kyoiku University.

Via funding from the Research Seminars Competition 3, inter-departmental seminar series will take place on:

  • Adolescent depression: building a holistic theoretical model to improve clinical intervention
  • Vestibular system: a system of mental life
  • What can dreaming teach us about sleep-dependent memory consolidation?
  • New frontiers of family: the psychological implications of emerging family forms

In support of Member Network initiatives: The International Conference Symposium Fund, aimed at encouraging Member Networks’ participation in and hosting of international conferences to disseminate British psychological science, funded the following:

  • Faculty for People with Intellectual Disabilities to attend the 10th Congress of Mental Healthin in Intellectual Disability: Advancing Psychological Practice for people who have Intellectual Disabilities
  • Division of Forensic Psychology to attend the 10th European Association of Psychology and Law Annual Conference: The use of new tracking technologies to assess sexual interests
  • Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Psychology Section to attend the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology conference: Student engagement in challenging contexts: the role of emotional and motivational process
  • Psychology of Education Section to attend the International Conference on Motivation: Dealing with psychological trauma in the workplace

 and the Sections Initiatives Fund supported:

  • A Community Psychology Festival organised by the Community Psychology Section
  • A Feminist Writing Retreat organised by the Psychology of Women Section

Finally, it is worth noting that the Board, with excellent contributions from many of our Member Networks, made a comprehensive submission to Lord Stern’s Review of the Research Excellence Framework early in 2016.

I would like to thank all members of the Board for their valuable contributions and support.  Particular thanks are due to Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard and Liz Beech for their superb advisory and administrative support throughout the year.

Professor Daryl O’Connor, Chair