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Health and Community Sciences


Our research is driven by a shared passion for advancing knowledge, improving health outcomes and making a positive impact on communities at a national and international level.

Through our research groups we bring about interdisciplinary excellence, impactful research collaborative partnerships, and ethical practices, to ensure a world-leading impact in health and care applied research.

Join us on this exciting journey as we push the boundaries of knowledge and contribute to improving the health and well-being of individuals and creating more resilient communities. 

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Our health research impact is world-leading 1

1 REF 2021:  research submitted across health, life sciences and environment-related units

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Award-winning research academics

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Key research partnerships

with National Institute for Health and Care Research, UK Research and Innovation, the NHS and Cancer Research UK

Interdisciplinary Excellence

We firmly believe that breakthroughs in health and care professions come from the convergence of diverse perspectives and expertise. We encourage our researchers from various disciplines to work together, fostering a vibrant research ecosystem that thrives on the exchange of ideas. By promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing, we aim to unlock novel insights and innovative solutions to complex challenges.

Impactful Research

Our research is dedicated to making a difference. We prioritise research that directly responds to the needs of communities, contributes to policy development, and drives positive change in healthcare practices, patient outcomes, and societal well-being. We believe that research should generate tangible and meaningful impacts, and we actively strive to translate our findings into actionable solutions that benefit individuals, families, and communities.

Collaborative Partnerships

We recognise that meaningful and sustainable progress is best achieved through strategic partnerships. We actively seek collaborations with academic institutions, industry leaders, governmental organisations, and community stakeholders. By forging these alliances, we can leverage shared resources, expertise, and perspectives to amplify the impact of our research. Collaborative partnerships enable us to co-create knowledge, develop innovative interventions, and facilitate the adoption of evidence-based practices in real-world settings.

Our research 

The Health and Community Sciences Department explores a wide range of research areas, that address pressing challenges in our national and international communities. Our researchers are dedicated to advancing knowledge and making a meaningful impact on various aspects of human health and well-being.  

Cognitive Health, including Dementia: Our researchers investigate the cognitive aspects of health, with a particular focus on dementia. We explore the causes, risk factors, and progression of cognitive decline, as well as interventions to promote brain health and improve the quality of life for individuals living with dementia.

Child Health and Disability: We prioritise research that improves the health and well-being of children and addresses the challenges faced by children with disabilities. Our researchers investigate paediatric health issues, childhood development, interventions for children with disabilities, and strategies to enhance the quality of life for young individuals.

Cancer Diagnosis: Our research in cancer diagnosis aims to improve early detection and enhance diagnostic methods for various types of cancer. We explore innovative approaches, such as biomarkers, imaging technologies, and molecular diagnostics, to improve accuracy, efficiency, and patient outcomes in cancer diagnosis.

Patient Experience: We are committed to understanding the patient experience and ensuring that healthcare services are patient-centered. Our researchers investigate factors influencing patient satisfaction, communication between healthcare providers and patients, and strategies to enhance the overall patient experience.

Well-being and Quality of Life: Our research focuses on promoting well-being and improving the quality of life for individuals across the lifespan. We explore factors that contribute to well-being, mental health, social support systems, and interventions that enhance the overall quality of life for individuals and communities.

Trauma and Orthopaedics: We host a unique research intensive interdisciplinary environment with insights from clinical academics with broad experience in diseases of aging and across the life-course including neurologic and musculoskeletal diseases. 

Healthy Aging: Our researchers aim to enhance healthy aging and promote independence among older adults. We explore strategies to prevent age-related diseases, optimise physical and mental well-being, and develop interventions to support older adults in maintaining a high quality of life as they age.

Health Inequalities: We are dedicated to addressing health inequalities and reducing disparities in access to healthcare and health outcomes. Our researchers investigate the social determinants of health, health disparities among marginalized populations, and interventions that promote health equity.

The Health and Community Sciences Department is home to a diverse range of research groups and core methodological skills that drive our pursuit of knowledge and innovation in the fields of health and community sciences. Our multidisciplinary approach enables us to tackle complex challenges from various angles, fostering a collaborative environment where researchers with different expertise come together to generate impactful insights. 

  • Medical Statistics: Our team of expert statisticians specialise in designing robust research studies, analysing complex data sets, and interpreting statistical findings. They employ advanced statistical methods to uncover patterns, relationships, and trends in health-related data. The application of medical statistics ensures that our research is evidence-based, reliable, and statistically sound.

  • Health Economics: Our health economists explore the economic aspects of healthcare and their impact on individuals, communities, and healthcare systems. They evaluate the cost-effectiveness of interventions, assess healthcare resource allocation, and analyse health policy implications. By understanding the economic dimensions of health and care, our research provides valuable insights for decision-makers and policymakers.

  • Sociology and Qualitative Methods: Our researchers delve into the social and cultural factors that shape health beliefs, behaviours, and experiences. They employ qualitative research methods, such as interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic studies, to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of individuals and communities. This perspective enriches our research by considering the social context and cultural nuances that influence health outcomes.

  • Epidemiology: Our epidemiologists study the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations. They investigate patterns of disease occurrence, identify risk factors, and evaluate preventive measures. Through epidemiological research, we gain critical insights into the causes and consequences of health-related issues, informing strategies for disease prevention and health promotion.

  • Clinical Trials: Our researchers in clinical trials design and conduct rigorous studies to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical interventions. By following strict protocols and ethical guidelines, we generate high-quality evidence that informs clinical practice and improves patient outcomes. Our clinical trials are pivotal in advancing medical knowledge and facilitating evidence-based decision-making.

  • Operational Research: Our operational researchers apply mathematical modelling, optimisation techniques, and data analysis to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare systems and services. They identify bottlenecks, streamline processes, and develop strategies to enhance resource allocation, patient flow, and service delivery. Operational research plays a crucial role in optimising healthcare operations and improving patient experiences.

  • Diagnostics/Testing: Our researchers focus on developing and evaluating innovative diagnostic tools and testing methods. They strive to enhance accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility in the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases. By advancing diagnostic capabilities, we contribute to early detection, effective treatment, and improved patient outcomes.

  • Patient Public Involvement & Engagement: Our department places great emphasis on involving patients, the public, and other stakeholders in the research process. Their perspectives, experiences, and input are vital in ensuring our research is relevant, meaningful, and inclusive.

To explore these research areas and more, we encourage you to visit the individual research group pages. Each research group specialises in specific topics and methodologies within these areas, allowing you to delve deeper into the work and expertise of our researchers. 

We work broadly across the following research groups:

Behavioural Science Research Group

The Behavioural Science Research Group (BSRG) focuses on the application of behavioural science theories and methods as applied to health and wellbeing.

Child Health 

The Child Health Team works with children, their families, healthcare professionals and practitioners to understand and explore the issues that matter to them and to co-create research with them to find possible solutions including new ways of delivering services.

Cancer diagnosis (DISCO) (Primary Care)

The DISCO team focuses on diagnostics, mainly in cancer. The team's research explores using risk as the basis for selecting patients for the investigation of possible cancer.

Evidence Synthesis & Modelling for Health Improvement (ESMI)

ESMI specialises in the synthesis of research evidence for health policy and practice.

Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx)

The Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) focuses on establishing the South West Peninsula as a national centre of excellence for primary care research and education.

Exeter Test Group

The Exeter Test Group has expertise in using research on tests to inform policy and methods of improving the understanding of research on tests.  works to support and develop patient, service user and carer involvement in health and social care research activities to ensure that those who use services and those who care for those who use services inform and guide research at all stages.

Health Economics
The Health Economics group research is focused on informing decisions around the delivery of health care and on the economic aspects of health and disease, including research on the factors that determine our health and wellbeing. Some of our health economists are based in the department of Public Health and Sports Sciences 

Health Professions Education & Wellbeing Research Group

The Health Professions Education & Wellbeing research group provides a forum through which to develop high quality and impactful research, drawing on the expertise and enthusiasm of university staff, clinical academics, students and patient representatives.

Health Statistics

The Health Statistics Group provides statistical expertise in the Medical School, including statistical leadership on health topic-based research projects, and the development of statistical methods to address methodological challenges in such studies.

INTERSECT: Interdisciplinary Translational Rehabilitation Research Centre

University of Exeter, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and a range of partners in the South West peninsula have a vibrant history in rehabilitation, aging, orthopaedics, sport science and human performance research. INTERSECT brings together strengths from across these disciplines, organisations and the cutting-edge facilities that Exeter has invested in to research human movement.

Mental Health

The Mental Health Research Group (MHRG) conducts high-quality applied research using a range of methodologies, with the aim of understanding people’s experiences of mental health and illness, influencing policy and practice at national and international levels, and improving outcomes for individuals and their families.


The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula undertakes high-quality applied health research focused on the needs of patients and supports the translation of research evidence into practice in the NHS.


PenCHORD (the Peninsula Collaboration for Health Operational Research and Data Science) are specialists in helping healthcare professionals, commissioners and patients make informed decisions about change in the NHS.

Primary Care

This research group focusses on clinically relevant applied and translational research focussing on the organisation, delivery, and quality assurance of general practice based primary care.

The Qualitative Research Reference Group

The Qualitative Research Reference Group is a group of experienced qualitative researchers belonging to different topic-based research groups within the University of Exeter Medical School.


The Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health

Relational Health Group

The Relational Health Group works with schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces to create the conditions for health and reduce health inequalities. We have developed a relational approach to understanding the barriers to health and wellbeing, co-creating ways of addressing these issues, as well as evaluating their impact.

The Third Gap

The Third Gap team work with patients, rather than about them, on topics of concern to those who use health services and the general public.

Stay updated through our news section with the latest research findings, ongoing projects, and collaborative opportunities as we strive to make a lasting impact on health and well-being.