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Health and Care Professions

Our research

The Department of Health and Care Professions is committed to developing health and social care professionals at all stages of their career across clinical practice and research. Our high-quality research excellence is supported through interdisciplinary and international collaborations. In all aspects of our research, our projects are underpinned with public and patient involvement.  

Our research themes

The department has five key, interdisciplinary research themes:

Musculoskeletal research at the University of Exeter encompasses a wide range of areas, including biomechanics, osteoarthritis, exercise interventions, epidemiology, metabolic bone diseases, musculoskeletal imaging, and orthopaedic innovations. Researchers at the university are dedicated to advancing our understanding of musculoskeletal disorders and improving patient care. 

Their work includes developing innovative solutions for musculoskeletal disorders, investigating novel therapies and risk factors for conditions like osteoarthritis, promoting active lifestyles for better musculoskeletal health, and pioneering advanced diagnostic techniques through imaging. Additionally, the research team is focused on enhancing knowledge of metabolic bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, and improving surgical outcomes in orthopaedics. 

Overall, the University of Exeter's musculoskeletal research efforts are multidisciplinary and aim to address various aspects of musculoskeletal health, contributing to advancements in the field and ultimately benefiting patients and healthcare practices. 

The development of new software and hardware solutions for medical imaging is a key research area in the Department of Health and Care ProfessionsThis interdisciplinary work combines expertise from computer science, medicine, and Engineering to develop cutting-edge technologies. Key focuses include improving diagnostic tools, enhancing patient care through predictive analytics and machine learning. These innovative approaches aim not only to advance diagnostic techniques, but also to revolutionize the way wider healthcare is delivered, making it more efficient, effective, and accessible. 

Our research aims to develop and enhance trauma-informed and person-centred approaches that promote and support mental health, recovery and wellbeing across the population.  

We have developed and evaluated trauma-informed and low-intensity approaches in educational contexts through our partnerships with psychology and psychiatry.  We are leading ground-breaking studies assessing risk management practices, such as seclusion, in acute mental health settings to ensure that the patient voice is at the heart of these interventions.  We have delivered first-in-world tests of new psychological approaches in the UK, including Morita Therapy.  Through our methodological expertise in complex intervention design we are working to enhance methodological rigour of clinical trials and reduce research waste by optimising integration of qualitative and quantitative data.  

By working across settings, disciplines and with diverse client groups our research programme is enhancing pre-registration healthcare education and mental health policy and practice. 

Our research aims to continually innovate healthcare education and professional practice through development and evaluation of technology-driven and arts-based approaches.   

We are leading studies on the role of simulation in healthcare education, embracing new technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, building on our interdisciplinary links between nursing and medical imaging.  We are developing pioneering arts-based approaches to support education of students and registered professionals, including co-design of creative toolkits, and drama-based interprofessional education, harnessing insights from the humanities.  Through our expertise in touch in interpersonal care encounters we are working to support education and practice to explore the importance and health benefits of touch in health and social care settings. 

By uniquely bringing together the science and art of education and professional practice our research programme is uniquely placed to influence educational policy, standard development, and enhance curriculum design, educational delivery, and student and educator experience. 

The University of Exeter is at the forefront of research in ageing and long-term conditions, including osteoporosis. This innovative research spans a range of disciplines, focusing on understanding and managing conditions that affect individuals as they age. The department’s work in osteoporosis, a key area of interest, involves exploring bone health, disease mechanisms, and developing new diagnostic and treatment methods. Collaborations across departments foster a multidisciplinary approach, integrating insights from genetics, epidemiology, and health data science. This research is not only advancing scientific understanding but also aiming to improve quality of life and care for the elderly, addressing one of the major health challenges of our time. 

Postgraduate research

The Department offers postgraduate research study in Medical Imaging and Nursing. If you are interested in studying and have funding, please follow the steps below:  

  1. Identify a lead supervisor, either by directly contacting an individual on the list below, browsing the existing projects, or by making contact with our Director of Postgraduate Research. 
  2. Once you have a confirmed supervisor you will apply for your course and be invited to interview
  3. If successful you will be offered a place of study 
Staff member Research area

Prof Karen Knapp 

Medical Imaging

Dr Jon Fulford

Medical Imaging

Prof Rich Kyle

Dr Holly Sugg  Nursing

Dr Abasiama Obotiba

Medical Imaging

Dr Joel Faronbi


Dr Hairil Abdul Razak

Medical Imaging

Dr Mike Gundry 

Medical Imaging 

Dr Fay Manning

Medical Imaging 

Dr Robert Meertens 

Medical Imaging

Dr Noor Shafini Mohammed

Medical Imaging

Enrico De Luca


Dr Sam Pollard


Dr Marie Clancy


Susan Clompus



Title Lead supervisor
Health and wellbeing of the nursing workforce in the UK Prof. Richard Kyle
Modelling nursing workforce and education demand, supply and migration Prof. Richard Kyle
Testing interprofessional service-learning models with the voluntary and community sector in nursing education Prof. Richard Kyle
Co-designing drama-based education to support interprofessional working in nursing and medical imaging Prof. Richard Kyle
'Push the Peak' developing a public health intervention through co-production methods for teens and young adults to improve peak bone density attainments. Dr Fay Manning
Investigating the role of Hereditary Hemochromatosis in Musculoskeletal Health Dr Noor Shafini Mohammed

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Top 10 in the UK for our world-leading and internationally excellent Clinical Medicine research

Based on 4* + 3* research in REF 2021

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Vibrant and active research student community supported by excellent pastoral and academic staff

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Major capital investment in new buildings and state-of-the-art facilities