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About us

GroundsWell is a large programme of work in three cities – Belfast, Edinburgh and Liverpool – focusing on developing, supporting and evaluating community urban green and blue spaces to promote health and well being for all.

The Co-Directors

There are three co-Directors who share responsibility for overall governance of the project,

Principal Investigator

Dr Ruth Hunter is a Reader in Public Health at the Centre for Public Health. Her work primarily involves investigating how we can improve our urban environment for better population health, including evaluation of natural experiments (such as large-scale urban regeneration programmes). Her contribution to the project will be based on: i) the application of systems-thinking and complexity science methods, and ii) methods of co-production and stakeholder engagement for public health intervention development. She has secured > £10M in research grants from the NIHR, MRC, ESRC and GCRF-British Council. She is a member of the Public Health Research funding panel for the NIHR and recently held a Career Development Fellowship from the NIHR on public health interventions for health behaviour change. She is a member of the WHO expert panel on urban green space interventions, Non Communicable Disease prevention, Health and the SDGs and other aspects of urban environment and health, and an executive board member for WHO Belfast Healthy Cities.

Read more about Dr Hunter here


Prof Ruth Jepson is Personal Chair of Public Health, School of Health in Social Science at The University of Edinburgh. and Director of the Sottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHPR).  Her methodological expertise is in developing and evaluating complex public health interventions and co-production. Her current research interests are broad, but has a specific interest in promoting health and wellbeing in the outdoor environment.  She is particularly interested in undertaking research in partnership with service providers and users and citizen science. She is currently Principal Investigator on a NIHR funded grant to evaluate 20mph speed limits in Edinburgh and Belfast, and another NIHR project evaluating reducing sedentary behaviour in contact centres. She has been involved in the development of two Citizen Science App (Our Outdoors,  and Coronareport App


Prof Sarah Rodgers PhD, Professor of Health Informatics, Public Health and Policy at University of Liverpool

“I’m a Professor of Health Informatics with expertise in evaluating natural experiments and non-randomised intervention studies using anonymised linked administrative and health datasets. My research focuses on using safe haven data that have been linked across health, social and environmental domains to explore the impact of exposures such as decent housing conditions, alcohol outlets, pollution, and natural outdoor spaces, on health and wellbeing.

I am principal investigator for the NIHR funded study evaluating the mental health and wellbeing impact of access to green and blue spaces (e.g. parks and beaches). I lead the Care and Health Informatics theme for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (Northwest Coast)”.

Read more about Professor Rodgers here…




Name                              URL                                                                      University
Frank Kee Queen’s University of Belfast
Leandro Garcia Queen’s University of Belfast
Brendan Murtagh Queen’s University of Belfast
John Barry Queen’s University of Belfast
Ciaran O’Neill Queen’s University of Belfast
Alberto Longo Queen’s University of Belfast
Geraint Ellis Queen’s University of Belfast
Anna Jurek-Loughrey Queen’s University of Belfast
Aideen Maguire Queen’s University of Belfast
Dominic Bryan Queen’s University of Belfast
Mike Clarke Queen’s University of Belfast
Daithi MacStihigh Queen’s University of Belfast
Ben Barr  University of Liverpool
Ian Buchan  University of Liverpool
Olly Butter  University of Liverpool
Sarah Clement University of Liverpool
Rhiannon Corcoran University of Liverpool
Mark Green University of Liverpool
Simon Maskell University of Liverpool
Malcolm Semple (Calum) University of Liverpool
Rebecca Geary University of Liverpool
Asan Akpan University of Liverpool
Grahame Smith Liverpool John Moore University
Catharine Ward Thompson Edinburgh University
Tom Clemans Edinburgh University
Rebecca Lovell University of Exeter
Ben Wheeler University of Exeter
Sarah Bell University of Exeter
Cornelia Guell University of Exeter
Lewis Elliot University of Exeter
Tim Taylor University of Exeter
Jeremy Hilton Cranfield University
Natalie Clewley Cranfield University
Rich Mitchell University of Glasgow
Ana Porroche Lancaster University
Jeni Cross Colorado State University
Ellie Dickmann Colorado State University

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