The legacy of a legend - Supporting the next generation of Sheffield students

Emeritus Professor Peter Warr joined the University Of Sheffield Psychology Department in 1961 and quickly became instrumental in the Department and students' development.

Professor Peter Warr during a lecture

Outstanding academic service

Peter was born on 18th June 1937 in Birkenhead.

After school and national service, he studied for his BA at Cambridge University. Peter joined the University Of Sheffield Psychology Department in 1961 as a Research Assistant, and a year later became a member of the lecturing staff. In the mid 1960’s he was instrumental in developing a successful proposal for a Medical Research Council (MRC) unit there. The resultant MRC Social and Applied Psychology Unit (SAPU) began life in 1968 with Peter as Assistant Director under Professor Harry Kay. In 1973, he was appointed Director of SAPU, for which he subsequently secured co-funding from the ESRC. He led SAPU until 1996, in the process bringing in more than £40m of research funding. His leadership, in turn, provided the foundation for the Institute of Work Psychology in 1994.

As Director of SAPU, Peter introduced an MA in Occupational Psychology in 1975, which became the MSc equivalent. He also provided the infrastructure for over 100 psychologists to complete their PhD’s and was instrumental in launching the careers of so many people now in senior academic and practitioner positions in the UK and overseas.

Peter also made a huge academic contribution through his personal research. He has published 30 books and some 230 refereed articles and chapters. He has contributed to leading international refereed journals, and was known and respected throughout the occupational psychology world. During his career, he received all three major awards for scholarship made by the British Psychological Society (Spearman Medal – 1969 / President’s Award – 1983 / Honorary Fellowship – 1997).

Peter during a lecture

Within the wider Psychology community, Peter served on a variety of councils and governmental agencies. He was editor of the British Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, Associate Editor of the British Journal of Psychology and played editorial roles in many other UK and international journals. 

After he retired, and was appointed Emeritus Professor in 2002, he maintained his links and continued working with the Institute of Work Psychology and subsequently the Management School. During his retirement he deepened his interest in researching, writing and speaking about local history. He was Archivist for the Ranmoor Society and he wrote and published ‘Sheffield In The Great War (2014)’ and ‘The Growth Of Ranmoor, Hangingwater and Nether Green (2009)’. 

Professor Peter Warr sadly passed away on 18th February 2023, aged 85. He leaves his son and daughter, Mark and Carrie, son-in-law and daughter-in-law, Paul and Janet, and granddaughters, Sarah and Rachel. 

Peter Warr Scholarship Fund

Peter smiling at the camera

Peter’s family have set up a fundraising page in his name to create a personal tribute to him and to remember him for years to come. 

This collection will set up the Peter Warr Scholarship in Work Psychology, which will help the next generation of Sheffield students. If you would like to make a donation in memory of Peter, please visit the fundraising page below.

Make your donation on Memory Giving

Alternatively, donations can be made directly to the University:  

Make your Donation to the University here

If you have any questions about your donation please contact or 0114 222 5598.