Dr Ian Kellar

Dr Ian Kellar


Ian is a health/social psychologist developing and evaluating interventions that use behaviour change techniques in medication adherence, perioperative care, & tobacco cessation, and travel mode. Ian is an Associate Professor of Health Psychology in the School of Psychology at the University of Leeds. He is 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. Since 2014, Ian has held the post of Honorary Lecturer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Ian was an NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire & Humber Fellow (2014 - 2015). 

Ian has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications. He is the intervention modelling work package lead on a NIHR programme grant to improve the use of prescribed medicines at transitions, and 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. His research has been funded by Cancer Research UK, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, ESRC, Health Foundation, HS & DR, HTA, MRC, NHS England SBRI, NIHR, and the (ESRC) White Rose Consortium. Since 2012, he has been an investigator on research attracting over £9.4 million of funding.

Ian attained chartered status as a health psychologist in 2006. Ian 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 since 2015. 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 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.

Ian has supervised 5 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 2 PhD students and 1 NIHR pre-doctoral fellow elsewhere within the University of Leeds, 1 MPhil student elsewhere within the UK, 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

I'm interested in why people don't do what they say they want to do. As such, my research looks at:

 what people say they want to do in what people do in why they do or don't do what they say they want to do interventions to help them do what they say they want to do. This is typically in the context of interventions to promote health behaviour change. I employ evidence synthesis techniques 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. I have an interest in employing mHealth apps, mobile sensing, wearables and objective measurement in their evaluation.

Ongoing projects

Action planning / implementation intention interventions: I have used implementation intentions in a series of RCTs, and continue to utilise this behaviour change technique (BCT) in several ongoing funded studies. I co-authored a review of how the impact of implementation intentions could be improved with Dr Andy Prestwich. I am a co-applicant on a Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded project to bring together key international experts that have developed the evidence behind implementation intentions to support the first-in-Canada large scale evaluation of implementation intentions for health behaviour change (PI Dr Justin Presseau).

Air quality, green space and health: I am a member of the Air Quality and Health Research Steering Group for the West Yorkshire Air Quality and Health Strategy Project – a DEFRA funded project which aims to develop effective approaches to reducing emissions in the region. My involvement in this stream of research lead to the funding of a White Rose PhD studentship (co-supervised by Drs Rosie McEachan and Dimitris Ballas exploring the relationship between the utilisation of green space and health & well-being. I have been awarded BIHR - School of Psychology match-funding for a studentship with Drs Rosie McEachan and Sara Ahern to develop effective interventions to promote positive policy change around improving air quality at a local and regional level. I am a member of the Born in Bradford / City of Bradford MDC Air Quality and Health Steering Group, and the Better Start Bradford Better Theme Group.

Behaviour change interventions for high-risk patients in pre-operative assessment: With colleagues in Anesthetics (Dr Alwyn Kotze) I am developing behaviour change interventions to reduce perioperative mortality. This work has so far attracted funding from NIHR CLAHRC YH Research Capability Fund, NIHR RDS-YH and a funded PhD studentship from NIHR CLAHRC YH.

BRIGHT (Brushing Reminder 4 Good oral HealTh) [Oral Hygiene / mHealth] : I am a CI on a recently awarded HTA trial of a mHealth behaviour change programme to improve the oral health of young people living in deprived areas, led by Prof Nicola Innes and Dr Zoe Marshman. This follows previous research where I collaborated with an SME on the development of a mHealth app that uses a wearable and mobile sensing to support medication adherence. This work was funded by the NHS England SBRI scheme. I also recently supervised a Fulbright Commission funded masters student to develop and evaluate a social network to support inhaled steroid adherence for Asthma patients, the RCT of which resulted in a publication in JMIR.

DIAMONDS - (DIAbetes and Mental illness: improving Outcomes aND Services): I am currently collaborating with Najma Siddiqi and Jo Taylor on a project to find out how to help people with both severe mental illness and diabetes better manage their diabetes. The project is part of the National Institute of Health Research funded by the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire and Humber (CLAHRC YH) as part of the Mental Health and Comorbidity Theme, on which I am a match-funded collaborator. We were recently awarded a £2.4m NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, on which I am a workstream lead (intervention design & testing).

ISCOMAT - (Improving the safety and continuity of medicines management at care transitions). I am a CI and workpackage lead on a NIHR programme grant led by Prof Alison Blenkinsopp and Prof Gerry Armitage. Work on the programme grant will seek to improve the use of prescribed medicines at transitions, when a patient’s care provider changes, and reduce avoidable patient harm. I lead the intervention modelling workpackage.

BCTCompare - Reducing Restrictive Practices: I am a CI on an HTA funded systematic review of the use of BCT components in programmes to reduce restrictive practices on adult mental health wards, led by Prof John Baker. This research continues a theme from previous evidence synthesis work relating to the use of BCTs for targeting determinants of health behaviours. The first of these reviews, entitled "How can self-efficacy be increased? Meta-analysis of dietary interventions", has recently been published in Health Psychology Review.

Sleep research: I am currently collaborating with Dr Anna Weighall on a series of studies relating to the effects of sleep on a variety of outcomes, but particularly on medication-related prospective memory. Details of the first study can be seen here. Submissions arising from work in this area has been accepted at the Fourth International Conference on Prospective Memory, the International Workshop on Learning and Memory Consolidation. and the British Sleep Society.

ASTRA / MCLASSII - Tobacco cessation/behaviour change (LMIC focus): I was a CI on a MRC PHIND-funded project led by Dr Kamran Siddiqi to adapt an intervention to promote cessation of smokeless tobacco (paan) for use among South Asians. We are currently collaborating on the development of an intervention to reduce hookah use in Pakistan. I am also a CI on a recently awarded trial to investigate the effects of smoke-free home promotion and indoor air quality feedback on lung health, general quality of life, and health service use in Bangladesh.

Previous projects

Evidence-Based Transformation with the NHS: I have collaborated with Professor Rebecca Lawton on a project entitled Evidence-Based Transformation with the NHS, as part of the new NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Research and Health Care for Yorkshire and Humber (CLAHRC II). This work utilised a positive deviance approach, and I am co-supervised a PhD student, Ruth Baxter, in this area.

Cycling & risk: I have collaborated with Dr Robin Lovelace on research into factors associated with cycle crash risk and perceived risk among cyclists. This has so far resulted in a publication in Transportation Research Part F which has received media coverage from Cycling Weekly and BBC Radio Leeds.

Professional memberships

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