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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a computational social scientist who has established a reputation as a global leader in understanding how data and ubiquitous technologies are changing the way we conduct research and the way we live in the digital age. Working at the intersection of psychology and data science, my research has been published in world-leading psychology, medical, public health, computer science and communication journals with results often re-appearing on radio and television.

My primary focus has been on the descriptive or predictive value of new and emerging forms of data for understanding the dynamics of behaviour in the digital age. I have explored the psychological value and impacts of technology as it relates to privacy, security, health, and well-being. This includes spearheading innovative research practices alongside the analysis of digital data, which continues to advance the discipline of psychology and the wider academic community. Research projects have included experiments in labs, large scale surveys, focus groups and the use of smartphones to collect data ‘in the wild’. Other award-winning research pioneered data-linkage methodologies using health service data, which explored the importance of patient behaviour across the lifespan, morbidity and mortality outcomes.

My research has been supported by research councils, government agencies and industry partners. I have collaborated with civil servants, government analysts, NHS staff, patients, artists, technology entrepreneurs and members of the public and have provided advice and research reports to large and small companies, as well as to RCUK, the UK and Scottish governments. This often emphasises where digital transformations can deliver positive social, economic, and industrial impacts.

Developing Beacon: Value of data

Psychology Sensor Lab

The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST)

National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online (REPHRAIN)

The Security, Privacy, Identity and Trust Engagement NetworkPlus (SPRITE+)

Healthy Later Living Network 

Serial missed appointments in the NHS 

The GetAMoveOn NetworkPlus

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security (College of Supervisors)

Blog ("Misc")

Other responsibilities

Chair of Social Sciences Research Ethics Sub-Committee (late 2022 onwards)

Academic Ethics and Integrity Committee - Member

Healthy Later Living Network – Steering Group Member

Module coordinator: Business Analytics

Teaching interests

I’m a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education academy (SFHEA) and have taught extensively at undergraduate and postgraduate level. This includes the development and delivery of MSc and BSc programs that often bridge the gap between management, psychology and computational social science. Where relevant, I aim to integrate and highlight the importance of open science practices as part of my teaching and research. This includes using a variety of technologies that help reveal methodological, statistical and systematic issues that could impair the robustness of scientific claims we encounter every day.

Underpinning much of my teaching is the supervision and mentoring of research students and staff. Having published papers with undergraduate and postgraduate students, I have also co-authored teaching materials. This includes a number of papers and online resources that help other academics develop statistical resources for their own teaching purposes (Ellis & Merdian, 2018; Ellis & Merdian, 2015). The earlier reference appeared as part of a Research Topic in Frontiers in Psychology entitled: Research methods pedagogy: Engaging students in research methods and statistics.

Willing to supervise doctoral students

Graduates or undergraduates who wish to undertake research in my lab or in conjuction with associated groups are welcome to contact me directly.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 3 Dec 2013

Psychology, Master in Science, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 4 Dec 2009

Psychology, Master of Arts, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 26 Jun 2008

External positions

SGSSS Mentoring Scheme: University of Glasgow (Mentor)

2021 → …

Associate Editor: Frontiers in Psychology

2021 → …

Editorial Board: Technology, Mind, and Behavior

2021 → …

REPHRAIN Project Lead

2020 → …

External Examiner: Imperial College London - MSc Security and Resilience

2020 → …

BPS Cyberpsychology Section: Scientic Committee Member


EPSRC CDT in Cyber Security: College of Supervisors

2020 → …

REPHRAIN Ethics Board (PI/Co-I) Member

2020 → …

SPRITE+ Expert Fellow

2019 → …

CREST Core Researcher

2018 → …

Psychology section of the British Science Association: Committee member

2017 → …

Affiliate, University of Glasgow


Visting Fellow in Psychology, University of Lincoln

2015 → …


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