GW4 Crucible 2019 – Digital Innovation

Participant profiles

Ben Ainsworth Constantino Dumangane Jr Elisabeth Roberts
Lana Beck Sabrina Grant Sarah Sauchelli Toran
Kate Binnie Joanne Hinds Ben Sherlock
Wil Chivers Edmund Hunt Barbora Silarova
Heungjae Choi Gemma Lasseter Avelie Stuart
Iulia Cioroianu Fiona Lugg-Widger Ian Thomas
Laura Colebrooke Kate Muir Sophie Turnbull
Steffi Colyer Pablo Ouro Alexandra Voinescu
Crispin Cooper Oliver Peacock Jingjing Zhang
Charlotte Dack Tim Pickles Alexia Zoumpoulaki












Ben Ainsworth

Ben studied for his BSc in Psychology at the University of Southampton, and completed a PhD in Cognitive and Experimental Psychology. He then worked as a post-doctoral researcher developing digital behaviour-change interventions for patients in primary care, who are usually managed by their GP. He is now a Lecturer in Health Psychology at the University of Bath, where his research focuses on understanding and improving engagement with digital behaviour-change interventions. He is particularly keen to work with people who are experts in the implementation of interventions ‘in the real world’.



Lana Beck

Lana moved from Northern Ireland in 2008 to undertake an MSci in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Bristol. She followed on her research project in particle physics by doing a PhD (jointly awarded between the University of Bristol and Vrije Universiteit Brussels) in Top Quark physics at the LHC at CERN. Having acquired skills in data analysis and machine learning, Lana sought to apply her knowledge of particle physics and detectors to medical applications. Her current research is based on using particle detectors, such as silicon pixel detectors, to monitor radiotherapy treatment beams in real-time. This will enhance patient safety as treatments become shorter but more intense. This system would eliminate the need for pre-treatment calibration runs and hence would reduce waiting times. It is hoped that this technology will be used to enhance radiotherapy safety in LMI countries also.



Kate Binnie

Kate is a PT senior research associate based in the department of academic primary care at University of Bristol, working on the Life of Breath project (an interdisciplinary project on breathlessness funded by the Wellcome Trust and based at the Universities of Bristol and Durham).  Clinically, she is an HCP registered music psychotherapist with an MSc in palliative care from King’s College London.  She teaches on the King’s palliative care training (advanced psycho-spiritual care) and runs courses for healthcare professionals across the UK offering training in non-pharmacological skills for symptom management and to enhance compassionate care.  She also teaches yoga and mindfulness to patients living with chronic and advanced disease, and is keen to develop online and digital tools to promote self-management of anxiety, breathlessness, pain and other common symptoms, tailored to specific patient and carer needs.



Wil Chivers


Wil received his BScEcon Criminology and Sociology from Cardiff University in 2008. After a year working in Cardiff at the local climbing wall and the university, he applied for ESRC funding to study for his MSc and PhD. His doctoral thesis was a study of resistance to digital surveillance and he maintains an interest in privacy and digital rights. He now works in the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods, where he has primarily been researching social media, collective action and the labour movement as part of WISERD Civil Society. His current research centres on experiences of the gig economy and alternatives to platform capitalism and he is enthusiastic about promoting public engagement with academic research. Wil is learning to speak Welsh and in the time that is left he enjoys cycling, climbing and Doctor Who.



Heungjae Choi


Heungjae obtained his BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees at Chonbuk National University while serving an alternative military service in parallel to his PhD degree in Microwave Engineering in Jeonju, Republic of Korea. In 2011, he joined the Centre for High Frequency Engineering, School of Engineering, Cardiff University, as a postdoctoral researcher, and he is now working as a Ser Cymru Research Fellow at the same institute. His most current research is non-invasive blood glucose monitor by using microwave material characterisation technique and its commercialisation with an ultimate goal of improving quality of life of people with diabetes. Heungjae is very keen on working with people from other disciplines, such as Physics, Chemistry, Pharmacy and Medicine to find more applications of microwave technology.



Iulia Cioroianu


Iulia holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University and an M.A. from Central European University, and has recently joined the University of Bath as a Prize Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research. She is a social data scientist who studies the effects of social media and online information exposure on political competition and polarization using natural language processing and quantitative text analysis, machine learning and survey experiments. Her most recent project – “UnBias” – developed algorithms for measuring topic-specific ideological positions in news articles, and a web browser extension which informs users about the ideological position of the news articles they are reading, and offers them the opportunity to read other articles on the same topic, but which may offer a different ideological perspective.



Laura Colebrooke, University of Exeter


Laura is a cultural geographer who researches the everyday experiences of wellbeing in contexts of inequality. She has extensive experience of impact focussed research, working with VCSE and community organisations that help disadvantaged groups. Her research specialisms centre on three main areas: issues of care and wellbeing, food studies and social innovation. She is part of the Social Innovation Group at the University of Exeter, Penryn where she is currently working on two ESF projects which bring together a range of community organisations across the county to help unemployed and economically inactive people move into work. Her PhD from Cardiff University looked at food insecurity in Bristol using ideas of taste to understand the lived experiences of those affected and she continues to study issues of access to food, working in collaboration with arts practitioners.



Steffi Colyer, University of Bath


Steffi obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Bath in 2015 working with British bob-skeleton athletes to improve their start performance in the lead up to the Sochi Olympic Games. She has worked for just over three years as a Research Associate within the Human Performance Enhancement Theme of the Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment and Research Applications (CAMERA) at the University of Bath. In this role, Steffi (alongside colleagues from the Department for Health) has been collaborating with researchers in the Department of Computer Science to utilise advanced computer vision methodologies in the development of new markerless motion capture technologies for sprint running applications. Steffi is excited to be starting a new position as Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Bath in February 2019. She is particularly eager to explore further interdisciplinary projects to develop innovative tools for biomechanics research.



Crispin Cooper, Cardiff University


Crispin obtained his MA in Computer Science at the University of Cambridge. He went on to complete a PhD in City & Regional Planning at Cardiff University after 3 years as a research assistant in evolvable hardware at the University of York, and a brief spell in industry developing embedded systems toolchains. He is now a postdoctoral research associate at Cardiff’s Sustainable Places Research Institute. His network analysis software sDNA is used by numerous planners and researchers worldwide; in his own research Crispin has used sDNA to simulate the behaviour of cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles to determine what can best encourage a shift towards healthy and sustainable transport, as well as examine network effects on social cohesion and economic performance. Crispin is keen to develop this research towards more general models of well-being, and also begin analysing networks of ideas in public discourse.



Charlotte Dack, University of Bath


Charlotte completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Swansea University in 2010. From 2010 to 2014 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry and University College London on two interdisciplinary programme grants funded by the NIHR. Both projects were to develop, evaluate and implement complex health interventions in NHS settings. The first intervention ‘Safewards’ is designed to reduce conflict and containment within acute psychiatric wards. ‘HeLP-Diabetes’ is a digital intervention designed to improve self-management skills in people with type 2 diabetes in primary care. She is now working as a lecturer of Health Psychology at the University of Bath.  In her research, she is particularly interested in examining the impact digital innovation can have on people’s behaviour, relationships, and physical and mental health and how people engage with digital technologies and platforms.



Constantino Dumangane Jr, Cardiff University


Constantino has a BA in Politics and Public Policy from Binghamton University, NY and a Doctorate of Law from Washington College of Law, Washington, DC. Upon relocation to Wales in 2006 he worked as a Third Sector development officer until 2009 when he was awarded an ESRC MSc and PhD scholarship at Cardiff University. His PhD explored British African Caribbean males’ experiences attending elite UK universities. Since 2016 he has worked as a Research Associate at Cardiff University’s WISERD research centre designing surveys that he administers to pupils about their school experiences. He also conducts interviews with head-teachers about educational issues including Wales’ new Successful Futures curriculum. Constantino’s current research examines ways Black faith-practising youth consider their beliefs to be beneficial or risky to their social and educational lives. He is keen to understand how faith may influence the types of digital multi-media young people engage with in various settings.



Sabrina Grant, University of Bristol

Sabrina obtained her PhD in Health Psychology in Primary Care at the University of Birmingham and went on to work at the University of Bristol as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Musculoskeletal Research Unit.  Currently Sabrina is working cross discipline across the School of Translational Health Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering with academic researchers, engineers and clinicians and machine learners on an EPSRC funded project called SPHERE.  SPHERE stands for a Sensor Platform of Healthcare in a Residential Environment and Sabrina is evaluating the clinical use of this home sensing platform in the assessment of patients undergoing a hip or knee replacement in the NHS.  Sabrina is keen to establish new and existing connections with clinicians, academic researchers and policy makers involved in interdisciplinary research within the digital health field.



Joanne Hinds, University of Bath


Joanne holds a doctorate in Psychology and a degree in Computer Science, both from the University of Manchester.  She is currently a Research Associate in Behavioural Science and Cybersecurity on the CREST project ( in the School of Management at the University of Bath.  Joanne’s research aims to understand people’s behaviour both on- and offline, and her most current research is examining how people’s digital traces can be used to predict aspects of people’s identities.



Edmund Hunt, University of Bristol


Edmund has a BSc in physics from Imperial College London and an MPhil in economics from the University of Oxford. After working in banking regulation for three years, he returned to academia with a PhD in complexity sciences at the University of Bristol.  There his focus was on collective animal behaviour (social insects) and he continued this interest with a postdoc at University of California, Los Angeles. Since 2017 he has been a postdoc fellow at Bristol, focused on translating insights from animal behaviour into ‘swarm’ robotics: engineering large numbers of relatively simple robots to work together as a team. Potential applications range from agriculture, to environmental monitoring, to nanomedicine. Robotics is a key field to take digital innovations from the laboratory into the real-world, and Edmund is keen to build interdisciplinary collaborations to make swarm robotics a strength of the ‘Great West’ region.



Gemma Lasseter, University of Bristol


Gemma is a senior research associate and project manager for the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol.  She obtained her NIHR SPCR funded PhD in primary care from Bristol University, where she continues to contribute to a variety of primary care studies on the topics of digital health and infectious disease.  Her current research examines digital health interventions in general practice, with focus on supporting patients to manage their own health conditions and mitigating potential harms.  As a mixed-methods researcher, Gemma is particularly keen to evaluate digital health interventions in order to find out what works well, for whom, and in what circumstances.



Fiona Lugg-Widger, Cardiff University


Fiona is a research fellow at the Centre for Trials Research (CTR), Cardiff University. Her background is Microbiology (BSc. MRes) and she completed her PhD at Cardiff University in 2014 which focussed on paediatric infections using mixed methods. She is now the lead for routinely collected data at the CTR and works on multiple studies all of which use routinely collected data from across the UK. Routinely collected data are data collected for purposes other than research. As part of her role, she is also responsible for the governance required to hold and process routinely collected data. She is interested in improving the use of routinely collected data for research (in particular trials) including the acceptability of these methods to the public/participants. She works in infections and population health themes in the CTR primarily.



Kate Muir, University of Bath


Kate obtained her BSc and PhD in Psychology from the University of Leeds and went on to postdoctoral research at the University of the West of England, Bristol, followed by the University of Bath.  Her research interests are broadly in the social psychology of language, and she has conducted research in face to face and computer mediated forms of human communication within the theoretical framework of communication accommodation theory and examined social and personality influences upon communication behaviours.  Her most recent research as part of the cSALSA project at the University of Bath centres around how families understand the concept of cyber-security, and how cyber-security risk is communicated, negotiated and managed within the family home.  She has an interest from a psychological perspective of the impact of innovations in digital technologies on the way in which people communicate, and the personal and social impacts of these changes.



Pablo Ouro, Cardiff University


Pablo graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of A Coruña (Spain) and moved to Cardiff School of Engineering to pursue his PhD degree. At present, he works as Research Software Engineer in the Supercomputing Wales project at Cardiff University. His research interests are broad ranging from offshore marine and wind renewable energy, turbulent flows found in nature, large-eddy simulation of fluid-structure interaction problems, and high-performance computing. Pablo aims to make impact contributing to the social welfare towards a clean, sustainable and resilient world, and contributing to the development and improvement of cutting-edge technology together with industry and key stakeholders. He is very keen on expanding his research activities to interdisciplinary research working with researchers in the fields of biology, climate forecast and computer science.



Oliver Peacock, University of Bath

Oliver obtained a BSc in Sports Science and Management at Hull University and an MSc in Exercise Physiology at Loughborough University. He then completed a PhD at the University of Bath before securing two 3-year post-docs at the same institution funded by UK Sport Innovation and the Medical Research Council. Thereafter, Oliver was appointed as a lecturer in the Department for Health at the University of Bath in September 2015. His most current research aims to develop and apply innovative technologies for the assessment of non-laboratory ‘real-world’ behaviour and function and to help people and patients make positive and meaningful changes to their behaviour. Oliver has collaborated with a range of academic institutions (Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Oxford), local authorities (BANES and Wiltshire Councils) and other partners (British Olympic Committee, Wales Heart Research Institute, British Cycling, GlaxoSmithKline and the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology).



Tim Pickles, Cardiff University


Tim holds a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences (University of Bath) and a MSc (Distinction) in Operational Research and Applied Statistics (Cardiff University). He is a Research Associate in Statistics in the Centre for Trials Research (CTR) and Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment and Evaluation (CREATE) Centre. In CTR, he is a trial statistician on multiple and differing clinical trials, across many varied disciplines. In the CREATE centre, he is researching into the use of early phase clinical trial methodology in the field of rheumatology.

His research interest is the psychometric properties of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS). He undertook his MSc dissertation learning about, and undertaking, Rasch analyses.



Liz Roberts, Cardiff University

Liz completed an MSc in Sustainable Development and a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Exeter. She has over six years’ experience working as a postdoctoral researcher. She spent two years at the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub at the University of Aberdeen exploring the role of new digital technologies in responding to societal challenges in rural life and livelihoods. She then worked for four years at the University of the West of England on the Drought Risk and You (DRY) project, developing a web-based resource that brings together everyday narratives and scientific evidence on UK drought for better decision-making. Liz is now working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University. Liz is keen to explore the role that digital innovation can play in environmental sustainability, social learning, and in creating equitable relations.



Sarah Sauchelli Toran, University of Bristol


Sarah is a Research Associate at the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (Nutrition Theme). After graduating in Experimental Psychology from the University of Bristol, she went to Spain to complete her training in psychotherapy (University Ramon Llull) and behaviour and cognition research methods (University of Barcelona). Her PhD examined sleep and physical activity in extreme weight conditions (University of Barcelona). Her latest research work entails the use of virtual reality to understand the relationship between physical activity and post-exercise eating behaviour. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the School of Psychological Sciences and the Bristol Virtual Reality Lab. Sarah aims to maximise the potential of novel technologies, especially virtual reality, as innovative adjunct interventions for the prevention and treatment of chronic medical conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.



Ben Sherlock, University of Exeter

Following a MSc in Physics from the University of Durham, Ben completed his DPhil in Atomic and Laser Physics at the University of Oxford in 2012. Following the completion of a two year postdoctoral research fellow role at Imperial College London, Ben moved to the University of California, Davis where he worked as a project scientist in the Biomedical Engineering department. He joined the University of Exeter as a Wellcome Trust funded research fellow in 2018.

Ben’s research interests lie in the field of biophotonics, at the confluence of the physical, medical and biological sciences. His work focusses on the development and translation of advanced optical imaging technology, designed to tackle challenging questions in the field of human health and disease. Ben’s research requires an interdisciplinary approach, and he enjoys working alongside biologists, mathematicians and clinicians, as well as regular interaction with patient groups.



Barbora Silarova, University of Exeter


Barbora obtained her MSc in Psychology (Clinical, Counselling and Educational) from the University of Trnava, Slovakia, MSc (Res.) in Clinical and Health Psychology from Leiden University, the Netherlands and PhD in Medical Sciences (Public Health Research) from University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Since September 2017, she has been working as a Research Fellow at the Department of Psychology, at University of Exeter where she has been leading a project that focuses on development of intervention that aims to support people to adapt healthy behaviours in order to prevent dementia that can be feasibly implemented into NHS Health Checks. The definitive aim of her research is to prevent chronic illnesses such dementia, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes through behaviour change interventions.



Avelie Stuart, University of Exeter


Avelie obtained her Bachelors and PhD in social psychology at Murdoch University, Western Australia, in 2014. She has since been working as a research fellow at the University of Exeter on interdisciplinary (computer science and social psychology) research projects relating to the psychology of privacy and the impact of digital technologies on group behaviour and development. Specifically, her current project aims to help coordinate older people’s “circles of support” (from relatives and neighbours, to the voluntary sector, social workers, paid carers, and medical professionals) with wearable and smart home technologies to enhance the resilience of these circles of support. Avelie has also just recently joined a project on developing socio-technical systems for citizen forensics. She is keen to do further research on the ways technologies can be harnessed to improve social relations and healthcare, whilst also protecting against the harms caused by inadequate security and privacy practices.



Ian Thomas, Cardiff University

Ian completed his PhD at Cardiff University in 2016, the focus of which was the digital sexual practices of men who have sex with men. Since 2015 he has worked as a researcher at the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales, gaining specialist knowledge in administrative (‘big’) data research and data linkage. Ian is currently working on various projects aimed at redesigning homelessness data collections, including advising on new rough sleeper systems in both Scotland and Wales, and undertaking an options appraisal for a new statutory homelessness data collection for Welsh Government. Ian is keen to explore ways through which digital innovation can help organisations in their work with people who are homeless, particularly in improving organisational use of routinely collected administrative data.



Sophie Turnbull, University of Bristol

Sophie’s main research interests are in behavioural change, digital healthcare, wearable technology and health inequalities. Her training is grounded in psychology and neuropsychology and she has worked in the development and application of behavioural interventions in primary and secondary healthcare settings. Her PhD explored the influences digital health interventions on health inequalities in chronic conditions.

Sophie’s current role is at the University of Bristol in the School of Psychological Sciences working on a project developing a digital tool to improve the care of people with depression in primary care, using daily low-burden assessments. She strongly believes that technological innovations will revolutionise healthcare in the coming decades.



Alexandra Voinescu, University of Bath

Alexandra received her PhD from Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (2016) in clinical psychology where she focused on establishing the validity of virtual reality in neuropsychological assessment. Starting in September 2016 Alexandra was appointed Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology and Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UWE Bristol studying HMI design for driverless cars. She is now a Prize Fellow at University of Bath, Department of Psychology. Her expertise is in cognitive psychology and human factors. Key topics are human–computer interaction and the use of virtual reality in clinical and nonclinical practice, particularly, in clinical neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation. ​ Throughout her career Alexandra worked with different VR platforms (e.g. HMDs, CAVE environments and immersive VR driving simulators) and with healthy or vulnerable participants (e.g. older adults with age-related physical and cognitive impairments, children with a diagnosis of ADHD).



Jingjing Zhang, Cardiff University

Jingjing obtained the B.Eng., M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees from Beijing Institute of Technology, Tsinghua University and Queen’s University Belfast, respectively. After graduating from Queen’s, she held several research posts in University of Dundee, Swansea University and Cardiff University. She is now working as a research fellow in medical statistics with the School of Medicine at Cardiff University. This research is focused on the development of statistical methods for exploring the complex causal pathways from genetic variants to cardiovascular disease via high-dimensional blood biomarkers such as proteins and metabolites. Her primary research interests cover statistics, data analytics, machine learning, causal inference and high-dimensional mediation data analysis with applications especially in the area of medical and public medicine.



Alexia Zoumpoulaki, Cardiff University

Alexia obtained a BEng in Information and Telecommunications System Engineering and an MSc in Product and System Design Engineering at University of the Aegean in Greece. After a couple of years in industry she obtained an MSc in Computational Intelligence and a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from University of Kent. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre and later became a lecturer of Computer Science at Cardiff University. Her research focuses in Human Factors exploring both the underlying cognitive mechanisms but also building applications to augment human computer interaction.