Research Projects

We use our knowledge and research expertise to conduct research that informs ongoing academic debates and addresses real-world problems through applied research project in collaboration with organisations.


Made Smarter Innovation - Materials Made Smarter Research Centre

Gray and clear woven material

The Made Smarter Innovation Centre will deliver multidisciplinary research in the area of Digital Manufacturing. The Centre will work with academic, commercial and innovation partners to drive the research needed to solve many of the fundamental challenges limiting the development and adoption of digital tools in materials and manufacturing. The centre is being led by Professor Todd (Materials and Science Engineering at University of Sheffield), with IWP leading the work package focusing on social and organisational change in digital transformations. Stakeholder involvement in the design of these new, transformative manufacturing processes is key to their successful implementation and so IWP will  develop, test and refine a toolkit that helps organisations to manage the design, implementation and evaluation of these digital transformations.

Hear more about IWP's involvement with the Materials Made Smarter Research Centre:

Staff Involved: Professor Carolyn Axtell, Professor Karina Nielsen

Collaboration for innovation in the water-sector (Theme 7 of the TWENTY65 research programme)

Water droplet

Theme 7 of TWENTY65 addresses the issue that the transformative aims of providing tailored water for all demand radically innovative new approaches requiring creative and integrative collaborations between Water Companies and their major stakeholders (Supply Chain, Academia, User and Policy).

Staff involved: Dr Kamaljit Birdi 

Influence of personality characteristics on employees’ ability to recover from work demands during nonwork time


This research is underpinned by conservation of resources (COR) theory, and builds upon the recent interest in modelling trajectories of change over time in employees’ personal resources. 

Staff involved: Dr Chris Stride

Reducing newly-qualified driver crash risk: Identifying behavioural targets

New Car

The study addresses road traffic crashes in the early months of driving. During 2013 crashes claimed 1,713 UK lives and seriously injured 21,657; a human tragedy that cost the economy £14.7 billion (Department for Transport, 2014). 

Staff involved: Dr Chris Stride 

Projects overview

ESTEEM: European Safety Training and Evaluation Supporting European Mobility

Arising from these challenges, the primary goal of ESTEEM is to maximise the quality and efficacy of safety training programmes provided in the EU. Taking a multi-national and multi-disciplinary approach, ESTEEM aims to:

  1. Develop and test safety training for migrant workers in the construction sector.
  2. Develop an evaluation framework that examines both the extent to which training is transferred to the worksite and leads to improved safety behaviours.
  3. Develop guidelines for good safety training and practice.

Staff involved: Professor Karina Nielsen | Mrs Rose Shepherd 

H-WORK – multilevel interventions to improve employee mental health

The aims of the research are to explore design, implement and evaluate organisational at the individual- group, leader and organisational levels to improve employee mental health in the public sector and in small and medium enterprises. Professor Nielsen is the work package leader on the evaluation and will develop and validate measures for evaluation the interventions according to the principles of realist evaluation. This evaluation framework seeks to answer the questions of “what works for whom in which circumstances”.

Staff involved: Professor Karina Nielsen | Dr Carolyn Axtell

Behaviour in Teams (BiT)

This project aims to improve the ability of people (whether students or employees) to work together in teams. Funded by the Rackham Foundation, it uses a live coding approach - verbal behaviours are coded by a trained expert using a 15-category system, and then feedback is given to teams at the end of a meeting, giving them a chance to reflect and adjust behaviours in the future. Working with over 500 student teams working on different modules, the project investigates the extent to which behaviours can be changed using different approaches, and how this links to changes in team outcomes. It is also developing an approach to enable the automatic coding of behaviours using machine learning.

Staff involved: Professor Jeremy Dawson

Matching relating styles to improve lawyer-client relationships

This Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership, a collaboration with Jackson Lees Group law firm, seeks to develop a new tool to assess people's natural relating styles, to enable better matches between clients and lawyers and improve client satisfaction.

Staff involved: Professor Karen Niven

Identifying the mechanisms linking socioeconomic status and child antisocial behaviour

This project will address these issues in two linked studies. First we are systematically reviewing and synthesising the existing literature on mechanisms underlying links between family SES and offspring antisocial behaviour. Although a substantial body of literature has examined these issues, no comprehensive review exists to date. Secondly guided by the review findings, we are conducting new analyses of the linking mechanisms in two large-scale, nationally representative longitudinal data sets: the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys. 

Staff involved: Dr Chris Stride 

New challenges to the management of psychosocial risks at work in times of rapid economic and technological changes in Italy and Europe. A comparative multilevel approach

The aims of the project are threefold: to understand the impact of new ways of working and restructuring at the individual worker level, to develop, implement and evaluate interventions to manage psychosocial risks in the workplace and to review national European policies that support the management of psychosocial risks. Professor Nielsen is leading a work package on interventions that focuses on the second aim.

Staff involved: Professor Karina Nielsen

RoMHS: Retention of Mental Health Staff

The NHS is struggling to keep staff, on average 15% of NHS staff leave their job every year but this ranges from 9% to 38%. We propose to study this variation within NHS mental health services to identify and better understand the reasons staff stay in their job. We will explore the effects of, and interactions between, the Trust, staff characteristics, roles, workplace practices and experiences at work. We will also assess the ways in which these things are linked to patient care. We aim to identify good practice and make recommendations to improve staff retention across the NHS.

Staff involved: Professor Rachael Finn | Professor Jeremy Dawson

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.