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Research Board: Annual Review 2011

The Research Board is responsible for the promotion, advancement and diffusion of a knowledge of psychology pure and applied, and to encourage new developments in psychological science and its applications. 

The Board continues to be proactive in the production of evidence-based guidance documents and leading on consultation responses. Of particular significance, the consultation on the draft criteria and working methods for the Research Excellence Framework 2014. Working Parties on revising the Society’s Guidance on Conducting Research on the Internet and Memory and the Law were reconvened and are due to produce updated guidance during 2012.

The Code of Human Research Ethics was formally launched at the Annual Conference in April. The launch was also accompanied by a symposium covering a wide range of ethics issues (media, neuroethics and controversial psychological experiments). Specific thanks must be noted to John Oates, Carl Senior, Steve Reicher, Alex Haslam, Cynthia McVey and Michelle Dodosn (ESRC) for their contributions to this work. 

The Board is also concerned to further advance and promote psychological science. Of particular note, the Board, in partnership with the Academy for Social Sciences, published two further booklets in the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series, showcasing the impact of social science. The fourth and fifth booklets on Crime and Sport and Leisure were launched during the year. 

The Board (in partnership with the Experimental Psychology Society, Association of Heads of Psychology Departments and the ESRC) also launched the independently commissioned International Benchmarking Report: Psychology. The Board was also instrumental in addressing concerns regarding the evaluation of some subfields of the discipline within the report and a revised commentary from the project Steering Group was published early in 2012. 

An action plan to address the recommendations of the Review has also been agreed.

Highlights of the History of Psychology Centre’s year include: continuation its archiving functions, oral history project, and seminar series, ‘BPS History of the Psychological Disciplines’. In January, the on-line archive catalogue was launched. The first public engagement event at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre was held in May. A well-attended symposium ‘Stories of Psychology: Archives, Histories and What They Tell Us’ took place at the Wellcome Library in October, followed by a reception to mark the transfer of the Society’s main archives to the Library. HoPC was also instrumental in securing the arrangement with the EBSCO to give all Society members free online access to the Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection.

The Board continues to support scientific activities through its numerous grant schemes. Research Seminars on paediatric traumatic brain injury; the social psychology of citizenship; and neurodevelopmental disorders: exploring sensitive methods of assessment across development were supported.

Postgraduate Study Visits Scheme also supported visits to: Leiden University, Robinson Institute at the University of Adelaide and the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sidney, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University and the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

Scientific excellence is also recognised at different career stages.

  • Presidents Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychological Knowledge: Professor Usha Goswami
  • Spearman Medal: Dr Essi Viding
  • Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research Contributions: double recipients Dr Catherine Sebastian and Dr Thomas Scott-Phillips
  • Book Award: Dr Vasu Reddy for How Infants Know Minds

Under the Undergraduate Research Assistantship scheme, 44 applications were received, and 10 were funded. 

The Board also launched two new grant schemes aimed specifically at Postdoctoral researchers and lecturers. Under the Postdoctoral Study Visit Scheme scheme, visits were funded to: Centre for Clinical Neuropsychology Research, University of Exeter; Umeå University, Sweden; Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam; Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (CPAN), Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia; and Indiana University, USA.

Under the Postdoctoral Conference Bursary Scheme, bursaries were awarded for attendance at: the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Conference, in San Diego; the 30th Annual Research and Treatment Conference of The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers in Toronto; Sustainable Consumption – Towards Action and Impact in Hamburg; the Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology in Nassau; The Annual Scientific Congress of The Australian and New Zealand Society for Vascular Surgery in Brisbane; and the International Conference on Infant Studies in Minneapolis. 

I would like to thank all members of the Board for their valuable contributions during the year. Particular thanks are also due to Liz Beech and Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard for their invaluable advisory and administrative support. 

Professor Judi Ellis, Chair

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