the final President’s column from Richard Mallows; technical support in psychological research; and an update from the Branch network

President’s column
Richard Mallows
Contact Richard Mallows via the Society’s Leicester office, or e-mail: [email protected]

My Tardis has landed in many places this year and I have had the privilege of connecting with the diverse fields of our amazing subject. At times I have watched and listened but at others I have been able to roll up my sleeves and play a small part. It is right that the presidential year now culminates at the Annual Conference, the showcase for the wide variety of activity that is encompassed by the BPS. This is the time for what reversal theory calls ‘serious-fun’. A time to celebrate the enthusiasm of young researchers at the start of their careers – a place where advice is given and inspiration received. Achievements are recognised by a variety of awards, and keynote speakers enthral with their expertise.

It is the fifth birthday of the Society’s Learning Centre. Celebrate with them at their stand during the Annual Conference from mid-morning on Thursday 8 May. They will be exhibiting the Society’s 2014 learning and professional development programme and sharing news on the 2015 programme planning and how you can get involved. They will be running a competition and I’ve been told there will be treats.

At the start of the year I had two major themes to pursue; the learned society and the international agenda. As the year has progressed it has become clear that we also need to put policy at the forefront of our thinking. The presidential role requires a proactive stance if we are not going to stagnate. I have appreciated working with passionate psychologists with differing views. Debate within the Society should support our united public face. The content of the Mind Maps exhibition in the Science Museum may not be to everyone’s taste but the fact that ‘psychology’ is so high profile in the museum is a major achievement given the resistance from traditional scientific disciplines. Perhaps the Society could sponsor a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology and a similar complementary role on the Public Use of Psychological Science?

The President’s final column in The Psychologist is now congruent with the Annual Conference and the associated AGM. All this activity relies on the support of fellow Trustees, the office in Leicester and in London and the huge number of volunteers who give their time to the Society. It seems only a short while since Peter Banister hoped that my year would go well and he was looking forward to his year as Vice President, whatever that might bring. Little did he know that he would be designated, in the interest of continuity, as our European emissary. I particularly highlighted volunteers in this year’s Annual Report. Our volunteers should be carefully cherished. ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has’ – Margaret Mead. The Society is in the safe hands of these dedicated members, many of whom I have had the pleasure to meet this year. I have also had the support of friends who are not BPS members. Their outsider perspective has been appreciated, be it from Brighton, Cambridge or Guam. I have heard that one of my columns, was chewed by a puppy in Wales, but perhaps some columns are to be tasted and others chewed and digested! Last and by no means least, my close family have had much to say to ‘El Presidente’. Thank you.

I hand over the presidential role to Professor Dorothy Miell who has been a very supportive President Elect. I have every confidence that she will take the helm with extremely capable hands. I shall support her as Vice President and we look forward to a new colleague joining the triumvirate as President Elect. As a qualified bricklayer, I hope that I have laid a few bricks as a solid foundation for Dorothy to build upon during her term of office. 

Technical Support in Psychological Research Award

Ian Harrison

The Society’s Technical Support in Psychological Research Award 2014 has been won by University of Bolton Technical Officer Ian Harrison.

The annual award, which is being presented this year for the first time, is made jointly by the Society and the Association of Technical Staff in Psychology, recognising the valuable role that technicians play in supporting research.

Ian has worked at the University of Bolton for more than 35 years. He works primarily in the Psychology Department but has helped out across many other departments during his time at Bolton. He said: ‘To use the old cliché, it hasn’t sunk in yet. Obviously I am very pleased to have been given this award in recognition of my work here and look forward to receiving it on behalf of the Psychology Department and the University.’

Ian was nominated for the award by psychology lecturer Professor Jerome Carson. He said: ‘Since I arrived in Bolton in September 2012, I have realised how much Ian did for the Psychology Department.
He was not just incredibly helpful to me, but I could see all the things he did for the students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as staff colleagues. He also helps our colleagues from other disciplines. Often awards go to the already very famous and well known. In Ian’s case, it has gone to someone who has dedicated his life to the service of others to help them in their careers, not to advance his own.’

In recognition of his achievement, Ian will be presented with a commemorative certificate both at the Society’s Annual Conference in Birmingham in May, and at the Association of Technical Staff in Psychology’s Annual Conference at Edinburgh Napier University in June.

BPS Scotland Undergraduate Conference

Edinburgh Napier University was proud to host over 300 presenters and delegates from almost all the Scottish universities at the BPS Scotland Undergraduate Conference on Saturday 22 March 2014.

The day started off with  a cheery opening address from Dr Richard Mallows, President of the BPS, and Dr Gary Hutchison welcomed everyone to Edinburgh Napier University, before the student presentations began for the morning. Eric Fichtel from Edinburgh Napier University presented his project ‘Self-regulation through mindfulness: Attention, emotion, time perception and physiology’. He said: ‘It was so great to present my research in such a supportive, friendly atmosphere. This was the perfect chance to expand my skills and knowledge.’

Over lunch, delegates networked with psychologists from several Divisions from the BPS and over a dozen employers at the Psychology Future Fair. Dr Sue Northrop opened the afternoon session and welcomed Dr Kathy Charles who delivered a stimulating keynote about the future of forensic psychology, highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary approaches.

The wonderful student presentations continued to be inspirational into the afternoon. Elspeth Paterson, a first-year student at the University of the Highlands and Islands said: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed being with such like-minded people and engaging with so many areas of psychology. The presentations have been so motivational.’ The delegates and chairs were astonished by the quality and range of presentations. Lindsay Carruthers, a PhD student at Edinburgh Napier University, who chaired the morning breakout session on sports and health psychology said: ‘I was really impressed with the standard of presentations, and the level of knowledge and creativity in undergraduate projects.’

To close the day and celebrate the successful student presentations, a relaxing wine reception  was held on the top floor with views across Edinburgh.

A huge thank-you to all the students and staff that helped make this day possible.

Alexandra Bannach-Brown, BPS Scotland Undergraduate Representative, Edinburgh Napier University


The Branch network – an update

The Society’s Branch Forum has been meeting regularly since early 2013, and it is now the main arena where all of the Branch Chairs meet to exchange views and share best practice. The Society has Branches and regional offices in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and active Branches in London, Wessex, South West, North West, West Midlands and North East. 

Society staff from the Member Network Services team are currently working with interested members based in the East Midlands to assist in the formation of the East Midlands Branch, which we hope will be launched in autumn 2014. Members in the East Midlands catchment area who have not yet expressed their interest in having a local Branch should register their interest without delay. Please see the advert accompanying this piece for further information.

We very much welcome contact from Members based in the East of England to declare their interest in setting up an East of England Branch in their area; this will complete the Branch network and ensure that all Society members are engaged with a local Branch. We need to hear from 20 interested members based in the East of England area in order to forward a proposal to the Trustees to consider the formation of this Branch. Interested Members should contact Anne Kerr, Branch Advisor ([email protected]) as soon as possible to enable us commence the process.

The Branches provide local service for local members and within the broad arena of these activities have provided support to students by the following activities.

The South West of England Branch works with local psychology students at all levels most notably supporting them through their student working group which organises the annual South West Undergraduate Psychology conference. All committee members are involved in holding career and Society talks at local schools and universities. The Branch provides bursaries to students to attend conferences or CPD events (for more information see:
). The Branch also runs CPD events specifically for student members, for example ‘Presenting with Panache’ facilitated by Dr Sean Cameron in October 2013, and is always looking for new student members to join the committee.

The Wessex Branch has a long history of strong support for students. The first introduction to students tends to be through careers sessions at many universities. For students who are further along in their psychology studies, the Branch hosts two major student-oriented conferences (on an annual or biennial pattern), one where undergraduates and graduates can get their first experience of presenting, and the other a careers conference where students can hear from academics and practitioners in different disciplines about training and work. The Branch provides student bursaries to Wessex-based students to attend conferences held in Wessex or to a Wessex-based student presenting at any conference. Finally, the students are awarded an Undergraduate Prize of £100 for the best thesis at each of the universities in their region.

The London and Home Counties Branch provides talks by specialist psychologists on careers for students considering moving into specialist areas of psychology. The Branch sponsors a student undergraduate prize for students in the Branch area for a poster on a topical subject each year; it sponsors the PsyPAG conference and has a PsyPAG representative on the Branch committee; and it runs events for postgraduates, including a workshop on readying research for publication, which is very popular. The Branch would like to have more contact with the numerous universities in their area and their students so that they can promote the benefits of membership of the Society. A working group has been set up within the committee to focus on student events for 2014/15 and beyond.

The West Midlands Branch is keen to promote access to BPS conferences, workshops and other events for students in their region: the Branch offers five £100 bursaries for undergraduate students and five £100 bursaries for postgraduate students each year. Students just need to be a member of the Society (either student or graduate) and also happy to write an article for the Branch newsletter (a great way to get published!). This year the Branch have co-funded a systematic review workshop, aimed at postgraduate psychology students (with PsyPAG), and are keen to hear from students with ideas for other events they would like provided in this region, focused on students; so please feel free to get in touch with them with your ideas (Laura Scurlock-Evans: [email protected], twitter: @BPSWestMids).

The North West of England Branch attributes its recent resurgence and growth to combining the knowledge, wisdom and experience of some of its longer-serving members with the energy, passion and enthusiasm of a good number of student committee members, both undergraduate and postgraduate.

A key aim for the next few years is to develop much closer links and better relationships with all the universities in the area. The Branch has recently appointed a student lead as part of their committee and a formed a working group to look at student engagement.

The North East of England Branch will be holding their conference on 12 September 2014 with the theme ‘Health and wellbeing in the 21st century: Towards 2050’. Through symposiums, individual presentations, workshops and posters the conference will showcase talents from across the North East and will offer excellent learning and networking opportunities for students and practitioners. The North East Branch is offering students a reduced registration rate of only £15. The conference will offer an invaluable opportunity for students to present their work in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Additionally, students will be able to find out more about organisations such as PsyPAG and about BPS support at local and national levels. For information contact either Professor Greta Defeyter ([email protected]) or Pamela L. Graham ([email protected]).

The Welsh Branch presents a stand at CareersWales events across Wales. Each of these events is visited by over 1000 young people aged 14–17 from local schools. Presence at these events enables the Branch to engage with students who may never have considered a career in psychology. A dominant view of the young people who approach us is that psychology is all about ‘working with people with mental disorders’, and we are able to give them a far wider view of what psychology truly involves. 

The Northern Ireland Branch hosts an annual ‘Flavour of Psychology’ event bringing six keynote speakers under one roof for one day.  An annual undergraduate careers event, held jointly with The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), rotates around the universities in Ireland. The Branch also runs a postgraduate workshop at its annual conference: this event allows postgraduate students from all over Ireland to network and learn from shared experiences. 

The Scottish Branch held its 2014 Annual Student Undergraduate Conference at Edinburgh Napier University on 22 March; it was attended by over 300 presenters and delegates. Dr Richard Mallows, President of the BPS gave the opening address and a morning of parallel sessions cascaded after him. Over lunch, delegates networked with several Divisions of the Society and over a dozen employers at the Future Fair. Dr Kathy Charles opened the afternoon sessions with a stimulating talk about the future of psychology, highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary approaches. Over the coming months students will have opportunities to attend events being organised by the Scottish Branch hub network; these will be announced via the Branch website.

We hope you enjoyed this overview of student activity across the Branch Network. To contact your local branch visit the Society website: 


Policy update

Health Education England’s Mental Health Advisory Group

The Society has a representative on the Health Education England’s Mental Health Advisory Group. This is a significant result for the Society following careful and persistent lobbying.
Public Health England’s: Wellbeing and Mental Health External Advisory Group
The Society has secured representation on the Public Health England’s (PHE): Wellbeing and Mental Health External Advisory Group. PHE’s policy priorities are on Children and Young People, Employment and Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and, Older People.
Accreditation of Psychological Therapy Services (APPTS)
The Society is working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists on the Accreditation of Psychological Therapy Services. Key issues include: agreeing scope of accreditation, standards development, evaluation methods, organisation and governance via an accreditation committee.

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