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Research interests

Martyn Standage is Professor of Psychology, Health, and Applied Science in the Department for Health. He is also the Director of the University's Centre for Motivation and Health Behaviour Change. Martyn received his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2003.

The major focus of Prof Standage's work is to: (1) map the motivational determinants of adaptive and maintained engagement in health, exercise, sport, organisational, and education settings; and (2) utilise this information to inform the design, development, and evaluation of interventions targeted at enhancing effective functioning, health, performance, and wellbeing. Professor Standage recently extended his work to also entail a broader interdisciplinary perspective to physical activity, sedentary behaviours, and objective health outcomes (including, integrating motivational perspectives within models that specify multiple levels of influence and across 24-hour periods). In this regard, he led the UK contribution to the International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle, and the Environment (ISCOLE), which encompasses data from 12 countries from all inhabited continents ranging widely in environmental and socio-cultural context. The primary aim of ISCOLE was to investigate the influence of behavioural settings and physical, social and policy environments on childhood obesity.

Professor Standage has authored more than 200 publications, with his research being widely cited (>19,500 citations; H-index = 67). To support his research, Prof Standage has secured grants totalling over £8 million from funders such as the Medical Research Council (MRC), Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR), The British Academy, and The Leverhulme Trust.

Martyn currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, he is a former Associate Editor for Motivation and Emotion (2010-2017), and has sat on the editorial boards of several internationally-leading peer-review journals. Prof Standage was a member of the Implementation and Surveillance Expert Working Group for the 2019 Chief Medical Officer's UK physical activity guidelines. He was also a member of the Development Team for Public Health England's 'Moving Medicine' work that is conducted in liaison with the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. Martyn is the Chief Scientific Officer for Active Healthy Kids England which produces a national 'report card' for the 'state of the nation' in regard to children's physical activity. Prof. Standage is a member of the Peer-Review College of the ESRC and regularly sits on grant panels nationally and internationally.  

Among his contributions to the Department and/or University, Prof Standage led the University's REF2021 return to 'Unit of Assessment 24.'  He was Director of Studies for Postgraduate Research for 6 years overseeing a 320% increase in PhD applications; he developed, co-wrote, and delivered the ESRC SWDTP MRes/PhD programme in Health & Wellbeing MRes/PhD alongside senior colleagues from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter for 3 years; he was the lead for research and teaching activities for the psychology group for 15 years, served as the departmental lead for the Equalities and Diversity Network for 4 years, assumed the role of Examinations Officer for 5 years, and served on the steering committee for the University's Institute for Policy Research. 

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 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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