Dr Liam JB Hill

Dr Liam JB Hill


I am a developmental psychologist whose work seeks to advance our understanding of how children’s academic attainment, mental health, and cognitive and motor development inter-relate. I am passionate about applying our growing knowledge of these relationships to the development and evaluation of innovative methods for improving the quality of support we provide children, with and without developmental difficulties. 

Between 2006-2012, whilst studying at the University of Aberdeen I attained an MA in Psychology, an MSc in Health Service and Public Health Research and a PhD in Child Health. Working with Dr Justin HG Williams, Dr Lorna Aucott and Prof Mark Mon-Williams, I submitted my doctoral thesis in 2012 on: “The development of a visuomotor task for measuring attentive functioning and its application to assessing the impact of exercise on childhood attention”  

Between 2012-2014 I carried on my research as a post-doc, developing and evaluating methods that could be used in home, clinic and school settings to: (1) assess digitally children's motor and cognitive performance and (2) intervene with robotic haptic systems to support children with motor-learning difficulties. During this period I also began to work closely with the Born in Bradford Longitudinal Birth Cohort study, helping to coordinate programs of data collection that assess participating children’s cognitive and motor development.

Following this very rewarding work, I attained a permanent lectureship at the School of Psychology in 2014. I currently lead the HEADING (Health, Education And Development INtegrated INference group) lab, based at the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research, which continues to collaborate closely with Born in Bradford, as well as othe major projects within the city, such as Bradford Centre for Applied Education Research (CAER

Research interests

My research investigates motor development and how it interacts and influences cognitive development, academic attainment and mental health. I’m particularly interested in how these process interact in the early childhood and inform children’s learning and behaviour. I have particular experience in using technological innovation to develop better approaches for assessing and intervening within schools, clinics and community environments. I am also increasingly interested in understanding how inherited, environmental factors (genetic, socioeconomic, cultural) and physical health shape the context within which development takes place. Ultimately my work aims to improve the support we provide to children, both with and without developmental difficulties, as they learn the fundamentally important social, cognitive and motor skills that underpin health, wellbeing and academic success.  

Currently, my research involves collaborating closely with the Born in Bradford Longitudinal Birth Cohort study, as well as several other UK based cohort studies including the ECHO study. I also work closely with Bradford Education on a number of school-based intervention projects, with my work having been supported by funding from the UK’s Medical Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Department for Education, National Institute for Health Research, Educational Endowment Foundation and Waterloo Foundation


  • PhD Child Health
  • MSc Public Health & Health Services
  • MA Psychology

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I teach introductory-to-advanced research and statistical methods across both undergraduate and masters level programs and supervise final year undergraduate research projects.

At undergraduate level I also I lecture on the Advanced Developmental Psychology module (PSYC2510), on the subjects of: motor skill development and neurodevelopmental disorders and their diagnosis. 

I am a personal tutor and supervise several PhD students, all of whom currently work on the research projects related to the Born in Bradford project 

<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>