Professor Rebecca Lawton

Professor Rebecca Lawton


I am a behavioural scientist, Director of the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC), and a NIHR Senior Investigator. I hold a chair at the University of Leeds in the Psychology of Healthcare. Since 2009 I have been on secondment as Director of the Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group based at Bradford Institute for Health Research at Bradford Royal Infirmary. This research group of 45 researchers and PhD students attracts external funding to deliver research that makes care safer. I am also theme lead for Improvement Science in the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) and academic lead for the Improvement Academy.

I am a leading patient safety academic whose track record of solutions informed by theory and evidence has generated significant international impact.

I work closely with healthcare professionals as well as patient groups to deliver research that makes care safer. I have acted as a consultant on a wide variety of projects in this field, including the design of error management systems for British Airways, Singapore Airlines and consultancy work as an accident investigator for Railtrack. I teach psychological perspectives on patient safety at postgraduate level and supervises postgraduate students in this area.

I have published over 250 peer reviewed articles and have held 45 grants across my career. Within the School of Psychology I am a lead for Impact, a role that involves working with colleagues to maximise the 'good' that research can do within society.


  • Director, Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translatioal Research Centre
  • Impact Lead, School of Psychology
  • Academic Director, Improvement Academy

Research interests

  • I am a founder member of the Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group. In 2009, I took up a secondment at Bradford Institute of Health Research where I lead a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, innovation managers and administrative staff to deliver on research, evaluation and innovation/implementation projects on patient safety.
  • I am currently Director of one of three NIHR funded Patient Safety Translational Research Centres in England - a collaboration between the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.
  • I am the lead of a theme of research on Improvement Science within the Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaboration



  • BA Psychology, University of Nottingham
  • Diploma of Applied Psychology, University of Nottingham
  • PhD, University of Manchester

Professional memberships

  • Fellow, British Psychological Society

Student education

I run a problem based learning module at postgraduate level focusing on the application of psychological theory to patient safety.

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>