Dr Pam Birtill (she/her)

Dr Pam Birtill (she/her)


I studied Natural Sciences at King's College, Cambridge. I specialised in Psychology in my final year and developed an interest in brain mechanisms of reward. I studied for my PhD at the University of York, under Simon Killcross and Geoff Hall. I was appointed a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Leeds in 2003, and was promoted in 2015 to Associate Professor.

My recent work In 2022 I started a secondment, working with Prof Alice O’Grady, as Academic lead for LEAF (Leeds Expectations for Assessment and Feedback) implementing the assessment strategy across the University. I work with the curriculum redefined team, the assessment lead network, and other groups in order to improve the experience of assessment for students and staff.

I was previously known as Pam Blundell and publish under Blundell-Birtill.


  • Academic Lead for LEAF
  • LITE fellow

Research interests

My current research is at the intersection of behaviour and the student experience. Working with Dr Gehan Selim (School of Civil Engineering), we are looking at the effects of the environment on student belonging. We have a post doctoral fellow (Dr Rebecca Brunk) who is conducting mixed-methods research to investigate student belonging on the campus. We also have a grant from Research England to investigate belonging in green spaces within Leeds, working with the Hyde Park Source project. Our PhD student (Karen Arzate Quintanilla) is looking at student belonging within the University City Central Campus in Mexico.

Other research concerning the student experience explores factors affecting student success. With Dr Richard Harris and Dr Madeleine Pownall, we have looked at different types of teaching, improving feedback, the hidden curriculum and imposter syndrome. We are also interested in the implementation of a Global Citizenship education, and hold a shared LITE fellowship.

I am also interested in food-related behaviours, the experiences of eating and the ways in which we can influence people's behaviour to eat more healthily. With Professor Marion Hetherington, I examine eating in children, and how to encourage children and adolescents to have a more healthy diet. I have supervised both MSc and PhD students, and collaborate with colleagues in Healthcare and Food Sciences. With Professor Aaron Meskin (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science) I have been conducting research examining the effects of ethical information of expectation and experience of tastes of food.


  • DPhil (York) Psychology
  • MA (Cantab) Natural Sciences
  • FHEA

Professional memberships

  • Experimental Psychology Society
  • Academy HE

Student education

My teaching is generally about learning theory, and the application of learning theory to real life issues. 

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>