13 October 2020 

University of Bristol professor, Lucy Yardley, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020 for her services to the Covid-19 response. Professor Yardley is an Executive Group member of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol. 

The Queen’s Birthday Honours recognise the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK.

Professor Lucy Yardley is an internationally renowned health psychologist whose significant contribution to the coronavirus response has led to her being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

She is Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Bristol and sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – the group tasked with providing scientific advice to aid government decision makers during the coronavirus pandemic. As co-chair of SPI-B, the sub-group that provide behavioural input to SAGE, Professor Yardley has provided evidence-based advice and expertise throughout the pandemic, particularly in relation to supporting people to implement measures designed to reduce the impact of the virus.

Professor Yardley’s main research focus is on empowering people to take control and self-manage their health, especially by developing and evaluating digital interventions. She led the development of the ‘Germ Defence’ web app which helps users adopt better infection control in the home, and was shown to reduce infections and illness in the home in the H1N1 pandemic and seasonal flu years. She has now been funded by UKRI to update and rapidly disseminate Germ Defence to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Professor Yardley is co-leading work on several more research projects to combat Covid-19 and reduce its negative impacts on people in her role as theme lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation, the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration-West and Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Professor Yardley said:

“At a time when so many people are making such a wonderful effort to help us all get through this difficult time I feel very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to try to make a positive contribution through SAGE and my research.”

Professor Yardley holds a joint role at the University of Southampton as Director of the LifeGuide Research Programme and the Behavioural Science theme of the University of Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Further information 

About the NIHR 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy.

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.