Our Social Policy research area is led by Dr Karen Burnell, Associate Professor of Applied Psychology. Karen, a Chartered Research Psychologist, completed her ESRC-funded PhD in 2007. Since 2008, Karen has worked in a number of different universities. Karen joined UCL as a post-doctoral research associate in 2008, working on the NIHR-funded SHIELD programme, which saw the development of three psychosocial interventions for people with dementia and their carers tested through randomised controlled trials. Karen then joined the University of Portsmouth as a lecturer in health sciences research. In this role, she gained invaluable experience of the bidding process, working alongside charities and academic partners to develop or evaluate psycho-social interventions, predominantly for the veteran community. While at the University of Portsmouth, Karen was promoted to senior lecturer, and joined Solent University in 2018 as a senior lecturer in psychology. Karen’s current research concerns how and why heritage programmes can support wellbeing and mental health.
Karen’s portfolio of funded research, partnership-working with academic partners and community organisations, as well as her contributions to the academic community through contributions to expert review panels, peer review duties, and PhD supervision, make her well placed to develop and lead Solent University’s social researchers aligned to the REF Unit of Assessment 20, whose work concerns improving individual and community wellbeing through practice, provision, and policy.