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Department of Psychology


After an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Artificial Intelligence & Linguistics at the University of Sussex, I completed a PhD in Cambridge in the Department of Experimental Psychology before returning to Sussex for my first University post. My second was here in Cambridge. Apart from my teaching and research, I have devoted many years helping the University lead itself. I have served and am currently serving on all the major governance bodies, University Council, General Board and Audit. From 2000-08 I was Director of Education of the Cambridge MIT Institute, and from 2011-16 I was Director of Education for the School of Biological Sciences. From 2004-2012 I was an external academic adviser to and member of the Council of the Royal College of Art


Interdisciplinary Design

The focus of this work has been on supporting research collaborations between researchers in the Arts Humanities & Social Sciences and those in Technology & Science disciplines centred on the design of novel devices and products. I established the Crucible Network in late 2000 with Prof Alan Blackwell to develop such collaborations, and over the past decade we have successfully initiated, and often lead, over 170 projects see This work is based on my enduring interest in human communication, and how we communicate with and through novel technologies. Current projects include those with my graduate students Mao Mao and Tanja Schomann, and with colleagues at MIT on the design of novel urban environments and workplaces. It is also the basis for meetings with and advice to a wide range of Centre for Science and Policy Fellows.

Development and Assessment of Professional Skills and Abilities

This work began with studies of the factors which contribute to the development of entrepreneurial skills and abilities. The purpose was to guide educational interventions by the Cambridge MIT Institute. These studies were of entrepreneurial engineers. This lead to a broader focus on engineering and enterprise, and factors which attract and enable secondary school students to follow a career in Engineering. With Prof P. Kutnick, I have worked with the Royal Academy of Engineering on evaluation of their outreach programmes with this goal in mind. Latterly, this work has extended to the assessment of the skills of medical students and practitioners. With Prof. F. Patterson, I conducted the proof of concept work which underpins the situational judgement test which is used for recruitment into the UK Foundation Programme. I am also a member of the Cambridge University Health Partners Education Group working on the development of professional and practical education for all the partners.

Integrative Complexity Thinking

This work is based on a collaboration with Dr Sara Savage and Dr Eolene Boyd-MacMillan. It is focussed on a series of interventions targeted at those who hold extreme ideological positions. It enables them to develop a more nuanced and complex view of the world around them and their values, and to have greater control of their affective responses. The net result is that they are far less likely to engage in violent acts. The intervention is theoretically based and there is an associated and well-validated assessment technique to judge its efficacy. The data thereby generated contributes to further advancement of our understanding of the underlying theory. 


Key publications: 

2014 Identifying the Science and Technology Dimensions of Emerging Public Policy Issues through Horizon Scanning. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96480. (Parker M, Acland A, et al)

2012 Women who know their place: sex based differences in spatial abilities and their evolutionary significance. Human Nature, 23, 133-148 (With A. Burke and A. Kandler)

2012 Situational Judgement Tests: A guide for applicants to the UK Foundation Programme. London: Medical Schools Council. (with V. Archer & F. Patterson)

2011 Design & Evaluation of a Situational Judgment Test for Selection to the Foundation Programme. Medical Schools Council. (with V. Archer, F. Patterson and others) (pdf)

2011 Fair and equal assessment in postgraduate training? British Journal of General Practice, 61, 712-13.

2010 Pause for thought: why Bernstein was not a psycholinguist. Multilingua, 28, 175-193.

2009 Student Placement for Entrepreneurs in Education: Evaluation Report. (with S. Cooper & I. Daly)

2009 Evaluation of the BEST Programme. London: Royal Academy of Engineering. (With P. Kutnick & J. Osborne)

2008 Design as communication: exploring the validity and utility of relating intention to interpretation. Design Studies, 29(5), 425-457. (with N. Crilly, D. Maltravers & P.J. Clarkson)

2007 Success in Distributed Working: Near term effects and how to measure them. Electronic Journal for Virtual Organisations and Networks, 9, 101-118.

2007 Collaboration for Innovation: Lessons from the Cambridge-MIT Institute. Rotterdam, Sense Publishers. (with R. Cox, S. Greenwald and M. Goldman)

2007 The UK Higher Education Landscape and the Cambridge MIT Initiative. In D. Good et al (Eds.), University Collaboration for Innovation: Lessons from the Cambridge MIT Institute. Rotterdam: Sense.

2007 Languages of Innovation. In Crawford, H. & Fellman, L. (Eds) Artistic Bedfellows: Collaborative History and Discourse. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. (with A. Blackwell)

2007 Developing Female Entrepreneurial Capital for Technology Entrepreneurship: the Case of MEETS. High Technology Small Firms. Manchester Business School, MBS Publications. (with S. Cooper & I. Daly)

2006 Developing Self-efficacy And Entrepreneurial Intent For Technology Entrepreneurship: The Influence Of Role Models. In A. Zacharakis (Ed.), Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Entrepreneurship Research Conference. Babson Park, MA: Babson College. (with F. Cave, S. Cooper, & A. E. Ward)

University Lecturer

Contact Details

+44 (0)1223 (3)34534 (Department) / +44 (0)1223 (7)63430 (King's College)
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy