Dr Ian Kellar

Dr Ian Kellar


Ian is a health/social psychologist with extensive experience of developing and evaluating interventions that use behaviour change techniques for implementation both in the UK and in LMICs. He is currently working on interventions related to improving communication for people with aphasia, medication adherence, medicines optimisation, physiotherapy rehabilitation, self-management of long-term conditions, tobacco cessation/harm reduction, and tooth brushing. Since 2012, Ian has been an investigator on research grants totalling £18.7 million of funding, of which 13 were peer-reviewed Research Council grants, including 4 NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research. He is currently a co-investigator on 9 funded studies. Among other responsibilities, he is the intervention modelling work package lead on a NIHR programme grant to improve the use of prescribed medicines at transitions, intervention development and testing workstream lead on a NIHR programme grant to develop and evaluate a diabetes self-management intervention for people with severe mental illness, and intervention adaptation workstream lead on a NIHR programme grant to develop and evaluate a behavioural activation intervention for people with co-morbid depression and diabetes in South Asia. His research has been funded by Cancer Research UK, ESRC, Health Foundation, MRC (PHIND, Trial), NHS England SBRI, NIHR (HS&DR, HTA, PDG, PGfAR, RIGHT), Wellcome Trust, and the White Rose Consortium.

Ian attained chartered status as a health psychologist in 2006. He is a member of the College of Experts to support the DHSC/UKRI Global Effect on COVID-19 Health Research. Between 2018 and 2020, he chaired the advisory group for an NIHR-funded evidence synthesis project looking at multiple risk behaviour interventions for people with severe mental illness. He served on the UKSBM executive committee in the role of publicity officer from 2007-2011, on behalf of whom he submitted evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology committee on behaviour change. He rejoined the UKSBM exec committee in 2018, in the role of Social Media Officer. He served as lead of the Behaviour Change Grand Challenge within the School of Psychology from 2013-2016. He was a principal collaborator on the NIHR CLAHRC-YH Evidence-Based Transformation theme and a match-funded collaborator on the NIHR CLAHRC-YH Mental Health and Co-Morbidities theme. Ian was an NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire & Humber Fellow (2014 - 2015). He has served on the editorial board of the British Journal of Health Psychology since 2006, the Journal of Patient Preference and Adherence since 2015, and as an academic editor for PLOS ONE from 2015-2019.

Ian has supervised 6 PhD students to completion, all of whom remain active within academia. He currently supervises 2 PhD students within the School of Psychology, and co-supervises 1 PhD student and 1 NIHR clinical doctoral fellow elsewhere within the University of Leeds, and is a dissertation committee member for 1 PhD student in the USA and 1 elsewhere in the UK.


After graduating with a BA in Social Psychology from the University of Sussex, Ian undertook a D.Phil. entitled “Evaluating Brief Theory-Based Interventions to Promote Health Behaviours”, supervised by Professor Charles Abraham, and funded by an ESRC studentship award. Ian then accepted a post as Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Care Research at the University of Brighton, co-authoring a scoping exercise for the National Co-ordinating Centre for NHS Service Delivery and Organisation R&D, entitled “Concordance, Adherence and Compliance in Medicine Taking” with Professor Rob Horne. Ian subsequently joined the Primary Care Unit at the University of Cambridge, lead by Professor Ann-Louise Kinmonth, in the role of research psychologist, developing behaviour change interventions on a series of randomised controlled trials related to medication adherence, diabetes screening, and self-monitoring & physical activity.

Research interests

Ian has an interest in the processes and techniques which support people to do what they say they want to do This is typically in the context of developing and evaluating interventions to promote health behaviour change. He employs evidence synthesis techniques, co-design, and qualitative and quantitative approaches in the development of behaviour change interventions and test their acceptability, deliverability, and efficacy in feasibility and phase 2 randomised controlled trials. He has an interest in employing mHealth apps, mobile sensing, wearables and objective measurement in their evaluation.

Ongoing funded projects

  • Conaghan P., Adams, J., Brown, S., Burton, C., Davies, C., Dziedzic, K., Kellar, I., Kingsbury, S., Macfarlane, G., McHugh, G., Mujica-Mota, R., Stocken, D.,  Thurlow, V., Walker-Bone, K., (2021-2026) Development and evaluation of the Digital-My Arm Pain Programme (D-MAPP) for improving painful distal upper limb musculoskeletal disorders. NIHR PGfAR (£2,504,784.00/10%FTE)
  • Palmer, R., Cruice, M., Beeke, S., Coates, L., Cooper, C., Flight, L., Gibbs, E., Hilari, K., Jagoe, C., Kellar, I., Sudworth, K., Witts, H. (2021-2023) Communication Partner Training for people with aphasia and their family members: identification of intervention components, expected outcomes and associated outcome measures. NIHR PDG (£149,994. 2%FTE)
  • Bhattacharya, D., Wright, D., Longmore, J., Alldred, D., Clark, A., Gibson, I., Keevil, V., Kellar, I., Murphy, K., Patel, M., Scott, S., Swart, A.M., Taylor, J., Turner, D., Witham, M.(2020-2025) CompreHensive geriAtRician-led MEdication Review (CHARMER). NIHR PGfAR (£2,420,591/ 5.8%FTE).
  • Siddiqi N., Aamir, A. H., Afaq, S., Azad, K., Ekers, D., Fottrell, E., Gilbody, S., Hewitt, C., Holt, R., Huque, R., Jacobs, R., Jenning, H. Kellar, I., Nizami, A., Ul Haq, Z., Walker, S. (2020-2024)  Developing and evaluating an adapted behavioural activation intervention for people with depression and diabetes in South Asia. NIHR RIGHT (£3,005,541/5.5%FTE).
  • Ashley. L., Kassim, S., Kellar, I., Kidd, L., Mair, F., Matthews, M., Palmer, M., Swinson, D., Velikova, G., Wadsley, J. (2021-2022) Improving self and clinical management of comorbid diabetes during cancer treatments: a qualitative interview study with patients and clinicians to identify theory-based intervention targets, strategies and implementation options. RfPB (£149,784/5%FTE).
  • Siddiqi, K., Sheik, A., Hewitt, C., Kanaan, M., Parrott, S., Kellar, I., Jackson, C., Iqbal, R., Rizvi, N., Khan, J., Huque, R., Pardhan, A., Ferdous, T., Pervin, M., Readshaw, A. (2020-2023) Children Learning About Second-hand Smoke: Cluster randomised-controlled trial. MRC JGHT scheme. (£1,224,737/5%FTE).
  • Siddiqi, N., Taylor, J., Hewitt, C., Shiers, D., Kellar, I., Ali, S., Parrott, S., Holt, R., Gilbody, S., Doherty, P., Ajjan, R., Osborn, D., Long, S., Coventry, P., Boehnke, J., Alderson, S. (2018-2023) Developing and evaluating a diabetes self-management intervention for people with severe mental illness: The DIAMONDS programme (Diabetes and Mental Illness, Improving Outcomes and Self-management). NIHR PGfAR. (£2,484,546/10%FTE).
  • Innes, N., Marshman, Z., Pavitt, S., Kellar, I., Day, P., Stevens, K., Betton, V., Torgerson, D., Gilcrest, F., Buckley, H., Hewitt, C., Chestnutt, I., Jones, C., Cooper, D., Shah, S., Pollard, L. (2017 - 2022) BRIGHT Trial: Brushing RemInder 4 Good oral HealTh: the clinical and cost -effectiveness of a Short Messaging Service behaviour change programme to improve the oral health of young people living in deprived areas. HTA Primary Research. (£1,915,701/2.5%FTE).
  • Blenkinsopp A., Armitage G., Turner, R., Gardner, P., Kellar, I., Farrin, A., Wright, J., Longo, R., Kirkpatrick, I., Silcock, J., Holloway, I., Aldred, D., Mohammed, M., Gale, C., Alderson, S., Raynor, T. (2015-2021) Improving the safety and continuity of medicines management at care transitions (ISCOMAT). NIHR PGfAR. (£2,074,179/2.5%FTE).

Previously funded projects

  • Baker, J. Berzins, K., McDougall, T., Goldson, B., Kellar, I., Wright, J. Establishing components of interventions to reduce restrictive practices with children and young people: an evidence synthesis. NIHR HS&DR. (£246,088/5%FTE) 
  • Knapp, P., Martin-Kerry, J., Phillips, B., Blower, S., Torgerson, D., Swallow, V., Dimitri, P., Marshman, Z., Stones, S., Kellar, I., Curtis, P., Higgins, S., Mills, N. (2018-2019) Identifying and understanding the most effective way to inform children and young people with long-term conditions about technology interventions to promote optimum healthcare. University of York University Research Priming. (£14,994)
  • Weighall, A., Kellar, I., Nash, H., McDaid, C., Hewitt, C., Elphick, H., Dawson, V. (2018) Characterising and Evaluating a Complex Behavioural Intervention to Improve Sleep in Children with Sleep Difficulties. RDSYH Public Involvement in Grant Applications Funding Award – CALL 34. NIHR Research Design Service - Yorkshire & The Humber. (£484)
  • Burke, S., Campbell, J., Kellar, I., Gilbert, S. (2017-2018) Investigating the feasibility and acceptability of geocaching for promoting physical activity in childhood cancer patients and their families.  Cancer Research UK BUPA Foundation Fund Innovation Grant. (£20,059/3%FTE).
  • Baker, J., Berzins, K., Duxbury, J., Edgar, F., Kellar, I., Kendal T.,  Stewart, D., Wright, J. (2017-2019) Establishing components of programmes to reduce restrictive practices: an evidence synthesis. NIHR HS & DR. (£239,800/5%FTE) .
  • Siddiqi, K., Hewitt, C., Parrott, S., Fairhurst, C., Semple, S., Huque, R., Aziz, S., Kellar, I., Jackson, C. (2016-2020) Muslim Communities Learning About Second-hand Smoke in Bangladesh (MCLASS II): An effectiveness-implementation hybrid study. MRC Research Grant. (£746,636/5%FTE).
  • Siddiqi, N., Gascoyne, S., Taylor, J., Hewitt, C., Shiers, D., Lewis, H., Ajjan, R., Kellar, I., Ali, S., Hughes, T., Parrott, S., Wright, J. Gallagher, T., Holt, R., Gilbody, S., Doran, T. (2016-2017) Developing and evaluating a diabetes self-management education intervention for people with severe mental illness: The DIAMONDS programme (Diabetes and Mental Illness, Improving Outcomes and Self-management). NIHR Programme Development Grants. (£99,484/5%FTE).
  • Hassall, C., Kellar, I.,  Dallimer, M. (2016) Interactions between urban children and their school grounds to evaluate the use of school-based green space. LSSI Seed Corn Funding for Social Science/STEM Collaborations. (£1,730).
  • Eaglesham, J., Bramwell, S., Tiley, P., Jones, H., Dallard, N., Kellar, I., Petty, D.,  Betton, V., Aldawoud, T., Dawson, R., Husain, W., Gaston, T., Southall, L., Belsey, J., Turner, R., Stewart, I. (2015-2016) Meds Companion Phase 2 Demonstrator. Small Business Research Initiatives Healthcare NHS England competition for development contracts. (£1,000,000/10%FTE).
  • Nash, H. Weighall, A. Kellar, I. & Blackwell, J. (2015) Using a portable, objective measure of sleep to investigate the relationship between sleep, cognition and psychosocial well-being in paediatric narcolepsy. Child Brain Research ‘Seedcorn’ funding. (£7,500).
  • Eaglesham, J., Kellar, I., Power, E., Turner, R., Jones, S. (2014-2015) Meds Companion. Small Business Research Initiatives Healthcare NHS England competition for development contracts. (£100,000)
  • Lawton, R., Kellar, I., Prestwich, Moore, S., Finch, L., Kotze, A. (2014-2015) Pre-operative behaviour change. NIHR CLAHRC YH Research Capability Funding. (£59,159).
  • Kellar, I., Howell, S., Kotze, A., Lawton, R., McCooe, M. (2014) [PPI in the development of pre-operative behaviour change interventions for high-risk patients to reduce perioperative risk] RDSYH Public Involvement in Grant Applications Funding Award – CALL 17. NIHR Research Design Service - Yorkshire & The Humber. (£450).
  • Demain, S.H., Foster, C., Latter, S., Hankins, M., Kennedy, A., Boger, E., Jones, F., Kellar, I. (2013-2015). What self-management outcomes matter most to patients, family care-givers, healthcare professionals and commissioners? Exploring consensus and difference. The Health Foundation. (£238,282/5%FTE).

Professional memberships

  • UK Society for Behavioural Medicine (Exec committee member)
  • British Sleep Society

Student education

Ian teaches evidence synthesis on the Systematic Review module he leads for Master’s students within the School of Psychology. He also supervises 3rd year, intercalating medic, and Master’s level projects.

<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>