At Roehampton, we are focused on creating new knowledge and ideas that help us to understand our world and make it a better place.

We are ranked the most research-intensive modern university in the UK. We have staff undertaking world-class research across all our academic departments. This means that if you join us as a student you will benefit from being taught by leading thinkers from their first year of study.

Here are some examples of the impact our research has on the wider world.

Scientific Discoveries


Dr Simon Loader, from the Department of Life Sciences, discovered a new chameleon and frog species in East Africa.

Dr Loader, leading an international team, discovered the new species in two mountain ranges in southern Tanzania.

The brown and green chameleon with scattered blue spots was found in four montane forest patches in the Udzungwa Mountains and Southern Highlands.


Roehampton Zoologists in the Department of Life Sciences are playing a key role in a project to reintroduce Iguanas back in to the wild.

Dr Louise Soanes from the Department of Life Sciences has worked closely with the Anguilla National Trust to help introduce endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana to an island in the Caribbean – and they will monitor the animals’ future progress using miniature radio transmitters. [November 2015]


Professor Jolanta Opacka-Juffry, Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Life Sciences, has been at the forefront of research into ‘legal highs’.

Her research into the drug Benzofury, in particular, attracted widespread media commentary and has contributed to changes in UK policy, including the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

brain scan

Dr Julia Lehmann, from the Department of Life Sciences, has produced a study that demonstrated the importance of social networks for monkeys.

A study of macaques during the harsh winters in the Atlas Mountains showed that thee bigger a monkey’s network, the more likely it is to survive harsh winters. [November 2015]

Media Coverage: BBC Wildlife magazine


Improving Lives


The Department of Dance completed a four-year study, in partnership with the English National Ballet, that concluded that organised dancing offers physical and mental benefits to people with Parkinson’s disease.

The study, led by Dr Sara Houston and Ashley McGill, concluded that dancing provides Parkinson’s sufferers with physical improvements, greater motivation and improved mental health.

Media Coverage: BBC News

English national ballet parkinsons

Dr Pablo Romero Fresco, Reader in Translation and Filmmaking in the Department of Media, Culture and Language collaborated with the National Gallery to provide subtitling for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in galleries and museums across the UK.

Dr Romero Fresco’s previous work has included coordinating a European Union-funded project to improve online communication between people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their MEPs;

Pablo Romero Fresco

The Booker Prize Foundation and Roehampton are working together to expand the University’s Prison Reading Groups (PRG)

PRG, run by Sarah Turvey from the Department of English and Creative Writing, promotes the spread of reading groups in prisons and provides funding and support for those who run them. The project began in 1999 and now supports over 45 groups in more than 30 prisons. [February 2016].

Sarah Turvey

Dr Robert Busch, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Immunology in the Department of Life Sciences, has received funding from the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society for a two-year project identifying how vitamin D protects against the disease.

If taken in sufficient amounts, vitamin D protects against MS, but its specific role is unclear. Dr Busch’s group will be examining how the influences the production, and fate, of tissue antigens that have been implicated in genetic risk of MS.

vitamin bottle

Supporting Young People


Professor Mick Cooper, Department of Psychology, is undertaking a £850,000 nationwide research project into the benefits of professional school counsellors.

A professional counselling service will be established, using the ESRC funding, in 18 secondary schools to test whether pupils in need of support improve after counselling from a professional, measured against other in-need pupils who use schools’ existing pastoral care provision. It will also address the cost effectiveness of professional counselling in schools.

mick cooper

Professor Cecilia Essau, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Department of Psychology, has developed a new screening tool for schools and nurseries around, in the UK and overseas, to use to help identify signs of neglect in young children.

It was developed by a Europe-wide team of childcare and psychology experts and is believed to be the first protocol of its kind designed specifically for those working with under-threes.

cecilia essau

Professor Adam Ockelford, from the School of Education, runs Sounds of Intent, a UK-wide programme that aims to support the musical development in the early years of children with learning difficulties.

Co-founded with the Royal National Institute of the Blind practitioners deliver training and support to children’s centres, nursery and early years staff, parents, carers and music practitioners across England, in hundreds of day courses.

Adam Ockelford

Angela Colvert, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, received a Children’s BAFTA nomination in 2015 for a computer game that supports children to learn to read.

She is a member of a team behind Teach Your Monster to Read, a series of computer games which support children’s early reading.

The third game in the series has had hundreds of thousands of downloads and teacher resources to support the use of the game are now being distributed internationally. [October 2015]

teach your monster to read

Enriching Culture


Professor David Harsent, from the Department of English and Creative Writing, was selected as a judge for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, after winning the TS Eliot Prize in 2015 for his collection Fire Songs.

He has performed his work at high-profile events at leading venues, including Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The Royal Opera House also hosted a run of The Cure, an opera created by acclaimed composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle and featuring a libretto by Professor Harsent.

David Harsent

Professor Zachary Leader, from the Department of English and Creative Writing, produced a high profile biography of Saul Bellow, one of the greatest 20th century American writers.

The Life of Saul Bellow was published to mark 100 years since Bellow was born and was the first biography produced since the author’s death in 2005 and the first to discuss his life and work in its entirety. It was named as 'Literature Book of the Year' by the Sunday Times.

Media coverage:The Guardian, Vanity Fair

the life of saul bellow cover

Michael Witt, Professor of Cinema in the Department of Media, Culture & Language curated a major retrospective of the work of Jean-Luc Godard at the world-famous BFI Southbank in March 2016.

The season involved a complete retrospective of the internationally-renowned director’s approximately 160 works, spanning six decades.

BFI Southbank

Students from the Department of Dance worked with leading choreographer Akram Khan to create a new dance as part of the 2016 Big Dance Pledge.

The Big Dance, which is supported by the Mayor of London, involves groups from around the world participating in an original dance.

Both Akram Khan and leading musician Nitin Sawnhey – who created the music for the piece - are Roehampton honorary graduates.

Dance Students

Influencing Policy and Debate


A key debate on human rights in Scotland, hosted by the country’s government and its human rights commission, was informed by research carried out by Roehampton senior law lecturer Dr Katie Boyle, Department of Social Sciences.

Senior law lecturer Dr Katie Boyle undertook research for the Scottish Human Rights Commission that set out potential models that could be adopted in Scotland for a more robust human rights structure, and was invited by the Scottish Government to present these in late 2015.

Katie Boyle

Dr Andrew Rogers, Principal Lecturer in Practical Theology in the Department of Humanities, launched the AHRC-funded Faith and Place Network policy briefing at the House of Commons.

The network exists to address the issues at the interface of faith, place and planning, especially for minority faith groups in the UK.

It has brought together, for the first time, many groups with a strong interest in these issues, namely faith group representatives, planners, policy makers, local and national government representatives and civil society organisations.

Houses of Parliamnet

Dr Ioana Szeman has been helping to dismantle stereotypes of Roma, Europe’s largest minority group, through her research into how they are depicted in performance art.

Her research examines how stereotypes of Roma are reproduced in performances, the lack of government support for cultural and social policies and the problematic addition of “Roma” elements in the school curricula, cultural programmes and political discourse without redefining definitions of the nation, citizenship and national history. Dr Szeman has toured Europe sharing her findings with NGOs, festival organisers, musicians and practitioners about the issues faced by this minority group.

roma in performance arts


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