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Our portfolio of social research is rich and diverse, with some of the most pressing societal concerns at the forefront of exploration. Our team of social researchers comprise psychologists, sociologists, health professionals, and business and marketing professionals. Solent University's social research concerns improving individual and community wellbeing through practice, provision, and policy.

Current strands of research seek to inform social policy and concern:

  • Corporate social responsibility in financial services marketing and implications for guidelines.
  • Best practice guidelines for the provision of psychosocial interventions with implications for social prescribing.
  • Experiences of gender and sexualities in sport and physical education and implications for guidelines, particularly in educational settings.
  • Evaluation of services promoting health and wellbeing of children, younger adults, older adults, and families and implications for service provision.
  • Exploring the impact of social inequalities and community on mental health and wellbeing with implications for service development and provision.
  • Application of cognitive psychology to inform the criminal justice policy.
  • Health, safety, and equality in seafaring professions and implications for policy.

Meet the team

Social Research and Policy lead: Dr Karen Burnell
Our Social Policy research area is led by Dr Karen Burnell. 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.

Dr Lisa Arai

Dr Teresa Corbett

Dr Bruno de Oliveira

Dr Helen Devereux

Professor Jillian Farquhar

Dr Brian McDonough

Dr Rory Magrath

Dr Greg Neil

Dr Catherine Phipps

Dr Ben Powis

Dr Philippa Velija

Professor Emma Wadsworth

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