Our Research

The University engages in a wide range of research activity across its faculties, departments and research centres.

Guided by our mission to contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and economic life of our region and wider community, the pursuit of excellence in research, innovation, discovery, and teaching and learning lie at the heart of what we do.

International Research Excellence

The work of our academic staff, students and collaborators has enabled us to develop 14 focussed areas of international research excellence, as rated by the Research Excellence Framework 2014, HEFCE.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014, run by the UK’s funding councils, recognised the high-quality of our research outputs, environment and impact:

World leading research in:

  • Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy
  • Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology
  • Business and Management Studies
  • Education
  • Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
  • Area Studies
  • English Language and Literature History
  • Theology and Religious Studies
  • Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
  • Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts

Internationally excellent research in:

  • Computer Science and Informatics
  • Social Work and Social Policy

Specialist Research Centres

Research conducted by staff and students at the University is diverse, and can be associated with activity undertaken in one of our specialist groups or research centres, or carried out on an individual basis at faculty or departmental level.

You can find out more about our staff research interests, publications and research seminars by consulting the faculty and departmental pages.

Research undertaken in our various faculties, departments and institutes, as well as cross-faculty initiatives and research assessment results can be found throughout our web pages.


Professor Roy Alexander
Department of Geography and Development Studies

Roy Alexander is RSK Professor of Environmental Sustainability, and his research. currently focuses on impacts and responses to climate change in Cheshire, England and Almería, Spain. Professor Alexander is technical advisor to the award-winning Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral project where he runs the annual carbon footprint survey in order to monitor the village's carbon budget.

Professor Alexander's work in Spain concerns the interactions between vegetation and soil erosion in the badlands of Almería province and the potential impacts of climate change on these processes. This work is carried out in collaboration with colleagues at the Drylands Research Institute in Almería and the University of Valencia. Professor Alexander has given numerous press, radio and television interviews on his carbon reduction work and he has edited two books and authored more than 50 papers in scientific and professional journals.


Professor Peter Gaunt
Department of History and Archaeology

Peter Gaunt is Professor of Early Modern History. His research and teaching career has covered a range of topics and themes, embracing archaeology as well as aspects of political, military, socio-economic, architectural and landscape history. However, his research and writing focuses on the English civil war of the 1640s and on Oliver Cromwell and the political and constitutional rebuilding of Britain during the 1650s.

Professor Gaunt's recent work includes a scholarly edition of the correspondence of Henry Cromwell, Oliver's younger son who governed Ireland for his father in the mid and later 1650s, which was published by Cambridge University Press in the Royal Historical Society 's Camden series; a study of legislation passed during the opening year of the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, which was published in an edited collection of new work on the Protectorate; and a reference article on the Protectorate Council of State, which was published by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. All these pieces were published in 2007-08. He is currently working (with another academic colleague) on a major new volume of historical documents covering the period 1603-60, as well as on a smaller study of Oliver Cromwell's impact upon and interaction with the physical landscape of Great Britain.

Professor Gaunt is currently chairman of The Cromwell Association, an academic and historical society which works to promote the understanding and appreciation of the Cromwellian and civil war period. He is also editor of the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, one of the longest-established and most prestigious journals publishing new work on the history of the two counties. He regularly gives talks on aspects of Cromwellian and civil war history to historical societies and groups in the North West.


Dr Dean Garratt BEd (Hons), PhD, FHEA
Faculty of Education and Children's Services

‘Hands-off' sports coaching: the politics of touch
This research project builds on previous ESRC research (rated outstanding) which illuminated tensions in touching behaviours between professionals and children in education and care settings, and related them to broader concerns around child protection in an increasingly risk-averse society. Preliminary interviews and media reporting suggest similar issues in the context of sports coaching, so that touching young sports people has been redefined as dubious and dangerous. 

As a result, coaches operate within a framework of regulations and guidelines which create extreme anxiety. For many coaches, a context has been created which has led them to question the risks and benefits of their continuing involvement. In the run-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Commonwealth Games 2014 in the UK, these developments have the potential to put at risk the achievement of key aspects of the intended Games legacies - widened participation and sport for all. 

This project aims to broaden the impact of previous work by applying its qualitative research methods in a new area, and through interview and observation obtain data which will facilitate and support practitioner debate and intervention. The multi-disciplinary, multi-departmental and institutional research team will ensure that the research and its implications receive widespread publicity and discussion in contexts where the power to make a difference resides.

Dean Garratt is a co-investigator on this project supported by the Economic and Social Research Council. It is a collaborative project with Manchester Metropolitan University (Principal Investigator: Heather Piper).

See also: http://www.mmu.ac.uk/news/news-items/1457/