Posts By / snyman

BU staff member new Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

Dr Samuel Nyman, Department of Medical Science and Public Health, as of this month became the new Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (JAPA). JAPA is an international, multidisciplinary journal that publishes peer-reviewed original research reports, scholarly reviews, and professional-application articles on the relationship between physical activity and the aging process.

The journal encourages the submission of articles that can contribute to an understanding of (a) the impact of physical activity on physiological, psychological, and social aspects of older adults and (b) the effect of advancing age or the aging process on physical activity among older adults. JAPA publishes 6 issues per year.

Samuel invites BU colleagues and doctoral students conducting relevant research to submit their excellent work to JAPA!

Report on Fusion-funded internal secondment to BUDI

I was awarded Fusion funding to spend the last six months working in the BU Dementia Institute (BUDI) on an internal secondment. This time has come to an end and a formal report has been submitted reporting on how the objectives have all been achieved. Here I’d like to share what I personally found to be most useful from the secondment.


I had several tasks to complete over the six months but the bulk of my time was spent on writing research grant proposals. In particular, I took the lead on an application for a project to develop and validate a novel intervention to help older people with dementia who have recently experienced a fall-related injury (currently under review with the National Institute of Health Research, Health Technology Assessment programme). The secondment was invaluable for writing this proposal in two ways. First, the sheer volume of work to be completed in writing the proposal demanded many hours of my time. Second, there were several aspects I had to get to grips with during the proposal writing including NHS sponsorship, arrangements for intellectual property, involving patients in our decision-making, etc., that the secondment provided the ideal environment to master all of this. This was great not only for completing the proposal but gave me the tools to subsequently write a different proposal for a different funder very quickly to meet the tight deadline.


I would therefore recommend internal secondments to colleagues who may have interests relevant to institutes / research centres outside of their school. It provides an opportunity to contribute to BU outside your immediate school and an opportunity to develop tools to not only achieve the task at hand but take back with you and use after the life of the secondment.

Those interested in an internal secondment to contribute to BUDI’s research and / or education should contact Professor Innes in the first instance.


Dr Samuel Nyman

BUDI and Department of Psychology


Reminder: Upcoming seminar from Australian visitor Dr Terry Haines

Further to the previous announcement (, a title and abstract is now available for the seminar:

Tuesday 8th July, 2pm, TA134, Talbot campus:

Dr Terry Haines, Monash University, Melbourne.

Reversing research and implementation science for practices that are widely provided, dogma heavy and evidence light.

Some widely provided health services have an absence of evidence for effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and/or safety yet persist in clinical practice. It is possible that these practices are wasting valuable resources, but alternately may be valuable assets to service provision. Provision of these services in the context of usual care is a considerable barrier to conducting a conventional trial. Our team has recently developed a novel research approach to conduct a trial for this context[1]. This approach turns a conventional stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial design on its head.  This presentation will outline the strengths and limitations of the stepped-wedge design relative to other experimental designs, describes how this design was turned into a novel disinvestment research design, and then describe its first application in a clinical setting. The clinical example involves the withdrawal of weekend allied health services from acute medical and surgical wards across three hospitals in Australia. The early results of this trial run contrary to current initiatives to create a 7-day a week health service.


1. Haines T, O’Brien L, McDermott F, Markham D, Mitchell D, Watterson D, Skinner E: A novel research design can aid disinvestment from existing health technologies with uncertain effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and/or safety. J Clin Epidemiol 2014 , 67(2):144-151.

If you are able to attend the seminar, please let Samuel Nyman know by email:

Upcoming seminar from Dr Terry Haines, Monash University, Australia


Dr Terry Haines from Melbourne will be in London for a conference and has offered to visit BU on Tuesday 8th July.

He will give a presentation at 2pm in TA134, Talbot campus, entitled:

“Researching health services that have an absence of evidence but are already a part of standard care”.

Terry is a distinguished researcher, with a physio / economics background, expertise in both quali and quant methods, and has 17 PhD students doing work around inpatient falls prevention as well as a variety of other topics.

You can view his profile and long list of publications here:

I highly recommend him to you and so do please put the date in your diary and spread the word.

If you are able to attend the presentation at 2pm and / or would like to meet Terry for an informal discussion about potential research collaborations, etc., then do please email Samuel Nyman at

Samuel Nyman

BUDI & Psychology Dept, SciTech

BUDI presents at the 2014 meeting of the North Sea European dementia group


I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2014 meeting of the North Sea European dementia group, held in Dijon, France. This was an unusual meeting in that it was not a large formal scientific conference attracting only researchers, but a small and informal meeting that attracted researchers, practitioners, private care directors, and a research funder. Around 25 were in attendance and over three days we got to know each other, exchange ideas, and make important connections for potential future pan-European collaborations.

Days 1 and 2 – the meeting

The first two days was a series of presentations with discussion. This began with a representative of each European country providing an introduction of their organisation and an update on work in progress. We then had a series of presentations, and of note, some was of work that was just starting or half way through, and some presented service improvement initiatives yet to be evaluated using research methodology. This was good as it afforded the sharing of ideas at their initial stages when changes can be made, rather than at the end when already completed. I presented a qualitative paper on our NIHR-funded project on the social care and support needs of people with dementia and sight loss. This was well received and as suspected, not been given much consideration before. It led to an interesting discussion around diagnosis, given that tests to indicate dementia symptoms often rely on good vision (e.g. to the clock drawing task).

Perhaps the most useful aspect of these two days, during the presentations and informal discussions over meals, was the sharing of what current dementia care looks like in each other’s countries, the limitations to such care, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in driving forward improvement. The mix of researchers and those directly involved in managing services provided a useful forum for the identification of the challenges and opportunities to working together. In particular, to make sure that research is grounded in the real-world constraints practitioners work within, and to make sure that the novel initiatives practitioners try out are formally and systematically evaluated in order to demonstrate benefit to people with dementia and cost-effectiveness. In particular, fidelity of interventions was raised as an issue, in ensuring that those who claim to deliver best practice actually do deliver it and in the way specified.

Day 3 – the visits

Before heading back, we spent the last morning visiting local services for older people with dementia. I was with the group that visited a day care centre and an intergenerational area. The day centre was a relatively large space and so caters for up to 20 older people per day, much more than the average day centre. They had several rooms for different activities (rest room, computer room, physical activity room, etc.), along with a garden. This was on the same site as a care home, and so for those that eventually need to move into a care home, the day centre provides a nice source of continuity for those that become residents. It was pleasing to see a lot of the creative work that the older people there as this was on display all over. One display that caught my eye was one of the older people helping children with their art work.

We then went on to an initiative that is rare in France and one that I had not come across before. Over ten years ago a plot of land was allocated for providing services for people in the city. At the time it was decided that the same space be used not only for catering for older people to live independently but with support (like sheltered housing), but also to provide for children under five (pre-school) and social housing for the general adult population who need it. In this same plot we got to see the living spaces for older people with dementia, social housing, and could see the pre-school right next to it. I unfortunately had to cut this visit short to head back for my flight, but it was great to see an initiative that at its heart was trying to re-connect the generations. We know from classic theories of the psychology of ageing that intergenerational relationships provides benefits for all, whereby the older person shares their wisdom and perspective to the benefit of the younger person, let alone connection with everyday family life. It would be interesting to see what activities best bring these groups together to facilitate social interactions between the generations.

In sum, the meeting was a useful learning experience of what is happening in other European countries and provided an important set of connections for potential future collaborations. I can recommend attending such meetings, even if they do not have the prestige of large scientific conferences. The more intimate and informal environment was useful for learning about work in its early stages and to learn more about the contexts in which our European collaborators operate within.

Dr Samuel Nyman

BUDI and Psychology Department, SciTech

Seminars, hospitals, falls, and a cuddle with a koala

Earlier this month I was invited back to Australia for another research visit to Monash University. I was invited to visit Melbourne last year for a research visit and to present at a one-day seminar. This was along with two other UK colleagues from Birmingham and York, who also specialise in falls prevention (one is a geriatrician and the other a nurse). The three of us were invited back and this time we presented at two one-day seminars.

The seminars

Day 1: The first day was focused on falls prevention among older people. I was invited to give two presentations, one on an area of long-term interest to me; increasing older people’s uptake and adherence to falls prevention interventions. The other was to present findings on a pilot project funded by all the RCUK’s and departments of health (led by the MRC), on the topic of outdoor falls. This led to some interesting discussions, and it was also useful to hear other presentations from leading researchers from Sydney.


Day 2: The second day focused on patient safety. Some challenging issues were discussed such as learning lessons from mid-Staffs. There was also some discussion of preventive medicine, and I was invited to lead a workshop on behaviour change techniques to increase participation in physical activity interventions for the prevention of falls.


Research visit

Before the two one-day seminars, we had some engaging discussions sharing about the research being conducted at our respective institutions. This included work that will lead to an international position paper on how to advance the science of falls prevention research. We also visited a local hospital whereby we were invited for a Question Time type meeting, with the three of us UK visitors plus our host (Dr Anna Barker, Monash University) were quizzed on falls prevention in the hospital setting(!). This proved stimulating and interesting that the same issues being tackled over here are similar to what is experienced at the other side of the world. We also had the excitement of the first participant to be recruited into the RESPOND trial in which I am a collaborator. The RESPOND trial is a multi-site randomised controlled trial that will test the effectiveness of a patient-centred programme to prevent secondary falls in older people presenting to the emergency department with a fall. The protocol paper should be published in the near future…


And the koala…

Before heading back to the UK I managed to get 24 hours in Adelaide to visit a colleague who visited the UK back in around 2007. We’ve kept in touch over the years as her PhD was on a similar theme to mine around the psychological barriers to older people’s participation in falls prevention interventions. We managed to get to a zoo and queue up for the much awaited cuddle with a koala. This was fab; like cuddling a teddy bear that is alive! My hosts also kindly arranged for a fish and chip meal on the beach before catching the flight home (felt a terribly British thing to do!).


On the whole this was a good visit to do. It led to several useful discussions that I have taken back with me that will shape my research direction, both in the immediate future with my current grant proposal writing and subsequent proposals. It was also useful to strengthen the collaboration between our institutions and engage in useful dialogue with practitioners about the issues I as a researcher am trying to help them overcome.


Dr Samuel Nyman

BUDI and Psychology Research Centre

Networking opportunity with expert in Behaviour Change

To remind, we have Dr Falko Sniehotta from Newcastle University visiting on Tuesday 4th March (

There are spaces left on the workshop for those that would like to sign up for this free workshop (plus free lunch).

For those that cannot attend the workshop (10am – 12pm), but would like to informally talk with Falko during our networking lunch (12pm – 1pm), then you are most welcome to join us in PG146, Talbot campus (though lunch will only be provided for those on the workshop).

Falko is keen to discuss potential research collaborations with BU staff and so would welcome the opportunity to meet with colleagues.

Toward a better science of promoting walking: A cross-school Fusion project


Samuel Nyman (Psychology, DEC), Andrew Callaway (ST), and Kelly Goodwin (ST) were awarded Research Development Fund – Small Grant funding for 2013 to conduct a study to promote walking among older people. Over the summer they identified a further fusion opportunity so that students from both schools could be involved. They report their experience here:

Co-creation in the School of Tourism

Our study began with the purchase of pedometers (small device to count walking steps) and actigraphs (small device to count walking steps but can also measure intensity, i.e. if walking or running). These were then used by students in the School of Tourism in a group project. Their task was to recruit 10 older people from the local community to take part in a study whereby they wore the devices every day for 60 days to measure how much walking they did. But this was not just a sports science project to look at whether pedometers or actigraphs reported the same results. It was multidisciplinary in that participants were enrolled into an N-of-1 randomised controlled trial (RCT), whereby each day they took part in a different psychological condition. Each morning participants had to set a goal for the day that was either to increase their walking steps or eat more fruit and vegetables (active control condition). They also had to either wear a pedometer that showed them how many steps they had walked so far that day, or a pedometer that was sealed (and so they would not know how many steps they had walked; another active control condition). These different conditions were based on control theory, that suggests that if people set themselves a goal to walk more, and can keep check on how much they have done, then they will be likely to walk more steps on those days than on the other days (when they had to state a goal for fruit and vegetable intake and could not see how many steps they have done). N-of-1 trial designs are recommended by the MRC framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions and help ascertain whether theories work at the individual level.

This part of the project was completed before the summer of 2013, and provided students in the School of Tourism a group project and a very useful learning experience. Students were posed with a more challenging and rewarding project of engaging with older people with the local community. They also had to contend with the challenges of group work, project management, learning and teaching others to use the objective physical activity monitors, and dealing with the challenges of conducting short-longitudinal data collection in the field. The students helped in the co-creation of new knowledge to test if pedometers or actigraphs were better at measuring walking activity, and in testing whether control theory shows promise as a means of behaviour change at the individual level measured by walking activity.

Co-creation in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing

Before launching into the analysis over the summer, the project team (Nyman, Callaway, and Goodwin) identified a further opportunity to enhance the data collected by the above student group project and provide a further opportunity for fusion.

Andrew Callaway identified that published studies in this area simply compare one measure of physical activity with another, as we had done, with no evidence as to which is the closest to a ‘true’ measure of what really happened (both devices will not be completely accurate). He proposed a further study that compares the two measures of pedometers and actigraphs against a criterion measure – a measure that was known to be truly accurate. This entailed the design and implementation of a laboratory-based study whereby students would walk on a treadmill and have their physical activity monitored by several devices simultaneously, including manual and video-recording of steps walked.

The set up entailed volunteers to walk on a treadmill at different speeds (all comfortable walking paces) with pedometers, actigraphs, and a sensewear armband strapped on them, and a video camera recording their walking plus other volunteers manually counting the number of walking steps performed. You will be surprised how difficult it can be to correctly count the number of steps walked in a two minute period! With the combination of all these measures we should arrive at a close to ‘criterion’ measure to compare the devices with.

Third year students from the BSc Psychology framework who had elected to study the Health Psychology unit volunteered to help with this experiment in the Sports Lab. This was a great learning opportunity for the psychology students as none of them had seen the sports lab before or the equipment used for physical activity monitoring. In the session the students also had the opportunity to engage with two members of staff and five third year student volunteers from the School of Tourism to access their expertise in sports science and performance analysis. Dr Nyman also used the sessions as an opportunity to relate the material from the lecture the day before to the seminar sessions, and to demonstrate to students the output that can be obtained from actigraphs (using TV screens) and what this affords in terms of more nuanced health psychology research questions that can be answered. The students had the opportunity to be involved in the co-creation of new knowledge that will challenge the perceived wisdom of the reliability of objective physical activity monitoring.


After recently completing the laboratory experiment, we now have all the data to begin analysis and writing up. We are pleased with the outcome of the two studies above and feel they are a great example of fusion in terms of cross-school collaboration and co-creation of new knowledge, embedded within existing teaching programmes. Conducting the two studies has also provided us as researchers with new data that will lead to peer-reviewed publications.

We would like to thank the older people and health psychology students that volunteered to help with the studies, and the School of Tourism students that volunteered to help us with the recent laboratory experiment.


Students who helped with the project: Front Row (L to R): Sam Sayer, Emma Rylands, Joe Hill. Second row (L to R): Calum Sharpin, James Baum.


Dr Samuel Nyman, BUDI and Psychology Research Centre
Andrew Callaway and Kelly Goodwin, Centre for Events and Sport Research

Planes, trams, and automobiles: A research visit to Australia


I recently had the delightful opportunity to go to Australia for a research visit in relation to my work on falls prevention among older people. A brief report of what I got up to follows.


The main purpose was to visit colleagues at Monash University, to whom I am grateful for funding my flights and accomodation. The research team there led by Anna Barker are doing some great work, in particular to prevent falls among older people while in hospital. They are currently collecting data on a ‘6 Pack’ randomised controlled trial (RCT), which will be the largest trial of this kind to date. The team at Monash hosted an all-day seminar on the prevention of in-patient falls of which I was one of three invited speakers that came over from the UK.

Before the seminar, we had an all-day meeting with colleagues from Melbourne and other parts of Australia to have an expert consensus-style meeting on the subject of in-patient falls. Dr Barker will lead on this and we aim to submit a paper with further international collaborators later this year, to drive future research in this area in a much more focused and productive manner.

Before the expert consensus meeting, I spent a day working with Dr Barker’s team on a recently NHMRC-funded multi-site RCT called RESPOND, which seeks to prevent secondary falls in older people presenting to emergency departments with a fall. It is a 1.5 million dollar-funded RCT that I am involved with as an advisor (from a distance). We’re currently developing the intervention that will be employed later in the year after ethical approval. My involvement is to help in developing the behaviour change techniques that will be used, and the process evaluation that will run alongside the outcome evaluation of the intervention. I also met with other colleagues there at Melbourne and have generated further ideas for future collaborative projects.


Conference presentation in Melbourne


After my stay in Melbourne, I had a short stay in Sydney as there is a strong critical mass there in the falls prevention field. I met with professor Lindy Clemson who has developed a novel approach to promoting physical activity among older people, with her trial published in the BMJ last year. We had a long discussion that helped her with the theoretical underpinning of the approach, and I’ve come away with a few ideas to take forward in a future collaborative grant proposal.

I then went on to visit Dr Kim Delbaere who has been doing sterling work in the area of fear of falls, not least with several publications on the issue including a paper in the BMJ in 2010. We have at least one paper to work on together with potential for future projects as well, given she has developed a measure of fear of falls suitable for older people with dementia.

The mention of transport in the title of this report refers to my very brief time away from meetings while in Australia. In Melbourne they have a very efficient tram system, and our host’s husband is a pilot and so took us up on a scenic flight over Melbourne in a tiny plane (4 of us sat snug in the back). In Sydney I managed to see the bridge, opera house, and a view of the harbour, and even got a trip on the monorail that was constructed for when they hosted the Olympic Games in 2000 but will very shortly be demolished.

We can of course email and Skype with colleagues, but if you do get the opportunity to travel abroad I can fully recommend it as a very fruitful and productive time. You just cannot beat face-to-face communication. I was particularly inspired by the international consensus meeting that we had in Melbourne and can see this as a way forward to synergise the research community’s efforts and more quickly tackle the big societal challenges of our day.

Dr Samuel Nyman

Bournemouth University Dementia Institute and Psychology Research Centre




New wave of PhD students in the Psychology Research Centre

The postgraduate research community in Psychology has been growing over recent years in line with our expansion of staff and undergraduate students. We now have 17 PhD students in the research centre as we recently welcomed seven new students. We are pleased that our new PhD students have all received either studentships or scholarships to fund their work. These new research projects represent the disciplines of the psychology of health, cognition, and education, and highlight the varied application of psychology to advance both science and issues encountered in everyday life. We are really pleased to have these students join us and add to the research going on in Psychology. We have listed the students and their research interests below in case other members of staff have interests in common. If you do, and would like to find out more, please do contact the students or their supervisors.



Student Supervisors Funding Title
Natalia Adamczewska Dr Samuel Nyman

Prof Jonathan Parker (HSC)

Prof Peter Coleman (University of Southampton)


BU Vice-Chancellor fee-waive scholarship Psychological adjustment to accidental falls.
Anna Bobak Dr Sarah Bate

Dr Ben Parris

BU fully-funded studentship Face facts: Why face processing skills should be improved in forensic and national security settings. 
Simon Ferneyhough Dr Jane Elsley

Dr Andy Johnson

BU fully-funded studentship How does our ability to integrate objects and events change as we age?  
Abbey Laishley  Dr Julie Kirkby

Prof Simon Liversedge



BU fully-funded studentship Quantifying the role of working memory in efficient classroom performance 
Jessica Miller Dr Jan Wiener

Prof Siné McDougall


BU Vice-Chancellor fee-waive scholarship & funding from Army of Angels PTSD and Navigation.
Sophie Nicholls Dr Sarah Bate

Dr Ben Parris

BU Vice-Chancellor fee-waive scholarship Effects of Stochastic Sub-sensory Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation on Speed and Accuracy of Face Recognition: An Application to National Security and Forensic Settings. 
Michele Salvagno A/Prof Jacqui Taylor

Dr Milena Bobeva (BS)

Dr Maggie Hutchings (HSC)

BU fully-funded studentship (online education) The Highs and Lows of Ubiquitous Mobile Connectivity: towards a model for pedagogical delivery that supports the well-being of learners