Skip to main content
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

University research leads

Our Environment and Engineering research area is led by Dr Laurie Wright, Associate Professor of Marine Sustainability. Laurie is an environmental scientist who leads Solent’s Environmental and Engineering research strategy. He joined Solent University in September 2013. Previously, he was a teaching fellow in carbon management at the University of Southampton. He is co-chair of the American Center for Life Assessment (ACLCA) Education Committee, and a member of the Forum for Sustainability through Life Cycle Innovation (FSLCI).

Laurie's expertise concerns the sustainability of industry environment interactions by understanding flows of materials and energy and their resulting impacts. He is particularly interested in investigating and reducing environmental impacts from the maritime industry and in the marine environment. His work is contributing to the development of sustainable solutions for maritime operations including in low carbon fuels, the role of remote and autonomous systems, and port management. He has a track record of appointments to service on external bodies, on the scientific and organisational committees of several international conferences, and as a scientific adviser to several national and international working groups. In 2016 he received the American Centre for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) Individual Award for Academic Leadership.

Our Human Function and Health research area is led by Dr Shelley Duncan. Shelley is the Human Function and Health (UoA 24) Research Lead. Shelley’s expertise lies within the fields of cognitive and behavioural neuroscience and exercise physiology. A core driver behind her work involves the development and facilitation of research that has potential to lead to real-world impact. To facilitate this activity, Shelley utilises multimodal research designs that incorporate mobile brain imaging, ambulatory ECG, and EMG to evaluate the relationships between cognitive and physical function. Shelley’s core areas of interest include the evaluation of the impact and dynamics associated with ageing and the influence of neurological diseases, namely Parkinson’s disease, and the evaluation and use of different tools and interventions, such as simulated immersive environments, to optimise decision making within the real-world context.

Shelley’s portfolio of research, partnership-working with academic partners and community organisations, as well as her contributions to the academic community through contributions to peer review duties, course leadership of the postgraduate certificate in research methods, leadership of the Mind-body connections research group, and PhD supervision, underpins Shelley’s proactive approach to the development and leadership of Solent University’s sport and exercise science researchers, whose work concerns the evaluation of human function, health and sporting performance.

Our Media, Culture and Arts research area is led by Dr Donna Peberdy, Associate Professor of Performance, Sex and Gender. Donna is a senior lecturer in the Southampton School of Film and Television. Donna’s research focuses on acting and performance, gender, sexuality, and the politics of identity. She is the author of Masculinity and Film Performance: Male Angst in Contemporary American Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), which was awarded CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 2012. She is co-editor of Tainted Love: Screening Sexual Perversion (I. B. Tauris 2017) and series co-editor of the Screening Sex book series for Edinburgh University Press. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals Transnational Cinemas, Celebrity Studies, The New Review of Film and Television, Men & Masculinities, and numerous edited collections. She is co-curator of and co-convenes the Screening Sex scholarly interest group for the British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies.

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.

Doctoral co-ordinators

Our five doctoral co-ordinators maintain oversight of the quality of the postgraduate research student experience in their area:

  • Environment and Engineering: Dr Laurie Wright, Associate Professor of Marine Sustainability
  • Human Function and Health: Dr Shelley Duncan
  • Media, Culture and the Arts: Dr Donna Peberdy, Associate Professor of Performance, Sex and Gender
  • Social Research and Policy: Dr Karen Burnell, Associate Professor of Applied Psychology

Research office team

The Research office team provide support to Solent’s research staff and students. The Team is led by Professor Emma Wadsworth, Vice Provost Research and Innovation, providing leadership to the development and implementation of the University’s research and knowledge exchange and engaging with our communities enabling strategies, building a supportive research culture in the University and enhancing the University’s research and knowledge exchange funding, income and league table position.

  • Professor Emma Wadsworth, Vice Provost Research and Innovation
  • Katarzyna Gleadell, Head of Knowledge Exchange
  • Mike Toy, Communities Development Manager
  • Dr Francesca Pieropan, Funding Manager
  • Nancy Beckett-Jones, Research Support Librarian
  • Joanne Cridland, Communities Engagement Officer
  • Georgia Croucher, RKE Ethics and Impact Officer
  • Tom Cumming, Graduate School Officer
  • Leah Oates, Communications Coordinator
  • Meleri Pascoe, RKE Compliance and Data Officer
  • Andy Smith, Communications and Culture Development Officer
Back to top