Professor James Stubbs


James Stubbs is a biopsychologist interested in fundamental and applied approaches to human Appetite and Energy Balance. He Has BA (Biological Anthroplogy) First Class Hons and a PhD (Human Appetite and Energy Balance) from the University of Cambridge. He worked at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health leading the Human Appetite and Energy Balance programme for 13 years.  Prior to taking up this post, he held joint appointments as Professor of Behaviour Change and Weight Management at the University of Derby and Senior Research Specialist in a Commercial Weight Management Company. 

James has 31 years’ experience leading multi-disciplinary collaborations in human behaviour, physiology and psychology of food intake, diet composition, obesity, appetite and energy balance, funded by Research Councils, Scottish Office, EU and industrial collaborations.  He has spent 10years in industry developing the evidence base for and applied solutions to weight control in the general population, recently focusing on sustained weight loss, relapse prevention and weight maintenance strategies. 

James has an international reputation for innovative research in academic and commercial settings:

  • Extensive experience in research-intensive environments, conducting integrated human trials and interventions, concerned with diet composition, physical activity, energy balance, weight control and obesity. 
  • Successful applicant on 24 collaborative project applications from EU and the UK grant funding bodies and industrial sponsors, totalling £5.52 million (In Scottish Government, BBSRC, FSA, EC and industry-funded projects), addressing key themes in appetite, energy balance and obesity.
  • Currently holding £1.0 million in research grant funding for EC-funded research. 
  • Ten years of industry experience and academic collaborations in developing applied solutions to weight control among in the general population, with a special interest in sustained weight loss, relapse prevention and weight maintenance strategies.
  • Conducted as Principal Investigator, over 80 studies on human appetite, energy and nutrient balance and obesity.  
  • Established and accomplished in bridging academic and industry interests, communicating at national and international conferences as an invited participant, in the media and in policy development within Europe and the United States.
  • Peer-reviewed publication record of 100 refereed papers, 34 chapters and reviews (h-index 49). 
  • 70 invited lectures at national and international meetings to a variety of audiences.
  • Provided advice and consultation to a number of government and non-government organisations including the International Dietary Energy Consultancy Group, the UK Foods Standards Agency, the US Institute of Medicine and the US Food and Drugs Administration and commercial organisations.


  • Grand Challenge Lead for Behaviour Change
  • Member of Psychology Ethics Committee

Research interests

James’ current focus is on mechanistic research that has direct application to health behaviours and leads to research and developmental impact through three key areas  (i) Body composition, function and energy balance behaviours, (ii) Quantitative tracking of energy balance and its behavioural components, (iii)  evidence-based behavior change tools for longer-term management of weight and health. 

Body composition, function and energy balance 

  • Modelling the relationship between body composition, energy expenditure and how these variables influence appetite and energy intake in altered states of energy balance.
  • Modelling relationships between the composition of weight loss and subsequent weight outcomes.
  • Developing a theoretical understanding of the relationship between body composition changes and subsequent energy balance behaviours during weight loss attempts.

Quantitative tracking of energy balance and its behavioural components

  • Using machine learning algorithms to estimate energy expenditure from wearable tracking devices.
  • Modelling errors and uncertainty associated with self-reported food and energy intakes.
  • Modelling frequently tracked body weight data. 

Developing more effective interventions and tools for behaviour change, weight loss and maintenance

  • Design and RCT lead on the Horizon 2020 NoHoW project- Evidence-based solutions for weight loss maintenance. Current research suggests the most promising evidence-based behaviour change techniques for weight loss maintenance are self-monitoring, goal setting, action control, building self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. Recent research also suggests that stress management and emotion regulation skills are key enablers of relapse prevention. The NoHoW project tests the effectiveness of these ICT tools, through a 3-centre RCT, in supporting energy balance behaviours and weight loss maintenance, linked to studies of European consumer needs and behaviour. Funding EC, Horizon 2020, grant no. 643309.
  • Developing a Satiety Map of common foods. Modelling how nutritional attributes and consumers’ perceptions of everyday foods relate to measured satiety, energy balance behaviours and weight management.





  • BA 1st Class (Hons)
  • MA (Cantab)
  • PhD

Student education

Year 3: Nutrition and Behaviour module.

Year 3: Student research projects.

Year 1: Tutorials.

MSc: Project marking (second marker).

MSc: Tutorials.

MSc: Systematic review supervision.

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//">The effects of dietary weight loss on the control of human appetite and energy expenditure</a></li>