Dr Simon Payne

BA(Hons.) Sports Studies (2004), MSc Sport & Exercise Psychology (2005), PhD Sport Psychology (2011), British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Psychologist (2014-)

Dr Simon Payne

Lecturer in Psychology

Department of Psychology

Contact Details


Simon is a performance psychologist (British Psychological Society Chartered), and a behaviour change and implementation scientist, working as a lecturer in psychology and behaviour change in the Department of Psychology at Aberystwyth University. He co-designed and coordinates the exciting MSc Behaviour Change (https://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/behaviour-change/; first cohort welcomed in September 2022), and sits on two University working groups (mental health development for staff and students, and assessment and feedback). Simon is passionate about intervention-based research that helps people lead healthy and productive lives. In his early career he has received funding from AU's University Research Fund, the local health board (Hywel Dda), Tenovus Cancer Care, Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (http://kess2.ac.uk/), UKRI’s ‘Global Challenges Research Fund,’ Economic and Social Research Council, the Margaret Wooloff scholarship scheme, and more. In October 2020 a consortium he is part of kicked-off a four-year €7million Horizon2020 project ("Multi-actor and transdisciplinary development of efficient and resilient MIXED farming and agroforestry systems"); Simon is jointly responsible for the project methodology – its participatory knowledge co-creation and dissemination work package - which will be underpinned by psychological insight (cf. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00062/full).

Simon is in the management group/committee of the funded Aberystwyth Behavioural Insights (ABi) research centre and the UKRI-funded (GCRF) Centre for International Development Research at Aberystwyth. These centres champion applied research, which fits Simon's agenda for evidence-based interventions that seek impact. Indeed, he contributes to the CPD of technical farm officers and farming consultants through local organisations such as Menter a Busnes and Farming Connect, helping them to influence the behaviour of their clients with proven behaviour change techniques. Simon has supervised three MPhil and two PhD students to completion, and currently supervises three postgraduate researchers (including two fully-funded PhD students). These students have/are explored diverse areas of health promotion and behaviour change, for example, physical activity interventions for children with autism, lifestyle modification for pre-diabetic patients, stress and coping of college students in Nigeria, communication training for exercise leaders, communication styles and self-confidence of cancer nurses, and mental health of NHS Wales staff.

Simon is a keen off-road mountain cyclist and recently competed in the national Celtic longboat sea rowing league. Simon has worked for large health organisations including the NHS; he has volunteered for, amongst others, Disability Sport Wales and MENCAP; and he gained immense satisfaction supporting people with diverse learning difficulties, mental illnesses, and physical disabilities. Simon teaches university students but he is a STEM Ambassador who has engaged primary, secondary and college students too, in nationwide initiatives such as 'I'm a scientist, get me out of here' (https://imascientist.org.uk/). Follow him @YEU_Aber.

Come study with us @AberUni (www.aber.ac.uk/en/psychology).


Module Coordinator
Course Viewer

Simon coordinates the MSc in Behaviour Change (https://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/C801-behaviour-change/)  including four modules therein: The Psychology of Behaviour Change, Transdisciplinary Dialogue, Implementation Science, and Psychology Dissertation (Postgraduate Taught). 

As an educator, Simon will help you develop a sound understanding of various psychological and behaviour change concepts. However, in your degree and career-planning you: "must meet certain performance standards…there are consequences to poor performance, [and] good coping skills are intrinsic to excellent performance" (Hays & Brown, 2004, p. 19; Hays, 2006). Hence, as a performance psychologist, Simon's aim is to help you develop coping skills and focus so that you can perform excellently in these areas!


** needs updating…

If you have mutual interest in the areas and applications mentioned above/below, you are encouraged to contact Simon.


2020: ~£60,000: Margaret Wooloff PhD scholarship 2020, won via competition by Katherine Parsons (kap34@aber.ac.uk): "A transformational physical activity intervention to improve health outcomes and quality of life for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Wales (“ASDactive”)."

2020: €6,999,509: "Multi-actor and transdisciplinary development of efficient and resilient MIXED farming and agroforestry-systems (MIXED)" with colleagues from countries across Europe: Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Action (H2020-SFS-2019-2): LC-SFS-19-2018-2019 Climate-smart and resilient farming.

2019: £9,069: ‘Future-proofing “field-to-lab and lab-to-field” knowledge exchange and on-farm technical support in Nigeria.’ Seed Grant awarded by the Centre for International Development Research at Aberystwyth (CIDRA; funded by UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund).

2019: £800: SCORE funding secured to travel to Frankfurt to meet with MIXED project partners from across Europe (Jul. 1st-3rd 2019) to finish writing the stage two H2020 application.

2018: ~£65,000: Knowledge Exchange Skills Scholarship-II (KESSII; Welsh Government and EU European Social Fund) PhD studentship, sponsored by Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) and partnered by Tenovus the Cancer Charity – “Testing a nurse-led intervention protocol which is designed to reduce psychological distress in lung cancer patients” (PhD student: Kimberley Walker kiw16@aber.ac.uk).

2017: ~£4,000: ESRC (via the Transformative Social Science Network): (1) Grant Development Award – “Using social science to promote agricultural & economic resilience in Nigeria” (£3,200; mid-2017); (2) Smart Citizenship and Behaviour Change funding stream – “Smart labels for GMO foods” (£820; early 2017).

2016: ~£20,000: KESSII MPhil studentship, sponsored by Tenovus and partnered by HDUHB – “Exploring Nurse Perceptions of the Relationship between Their Support Self-Efficacy, Quality of Communication, and Outcomes for Cancer Patients” (student: Patrick Cronin).

2016 and 2017: AU’s (1) University Research Fund with additional IBERS and Comp Sci contributions (UK-Nigeria multi-stakeholder collaboration: Food Security Network; FoodSecNet; https://www.facebook.com/foodsecnet/ ; £7,000; 2016), (2) Learning & Teaching Enhancement Fund (Self-regulation skills intervention for students; £9,811; 2017), and (3) AberDoc PhD funding (~£50,000; my own PhD was funded by the equivalent of this at the time).

2016: ~£60,000: North Ceredigion GP Cluster (HDUHB, NHS) and IBERS match-funded PhD studentship: physical activity and dietary behaviours among people at risk of developing diabetes (student: Nicholas Gregory).

2015: ~£70,000: Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund; Nigerian Government): PhD studentship awarded to Mr Olaniyi Ogundiya – “Mental health knowledge, stress and coping among university students in Nigeria."


Parsons, K, Payne, S, Holt, N & Wallace, J 2024, 'A qualitative study of physical activity drivers in autistic individuals using COM-B: Autistic and non-autistic perspectives', Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder, vol. 111, 102331. 10.1016/j.rasd.2024.102331
Parsons, K, Payne, S, Codling, S & Murphy, M 2024, 'A reflection on the co-design approach to the development of the Medway Can campaign: A whole systems approach to obesity prevention using COM-B', Health Marketing Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 33-49. 10.1080/07359683.2023.2235501
Payne, S & Whitworth, D 2022, 'Increasing creative self-efficacy: Developing the confidence of biochemistry undergraduates to innovate', Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 296-306. 10.1002/bmb.21628
Payne, S, Nicholas-Davies, P & Home, R 2019, 'Harnessing Implementation Science and Self-Determination Theory in Participatory Research to Advance Global Legume Productivity', Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, vol. 3, 62, pp. 1-15. 10.3389/fsufs.2019.00062
Payne, S, Nicholas-Davies, P & Home, R 2017, Participatory Action Research Methodologies to Advance Legume Productivity. in JC Jimenez-Lopez & A Clemente (eds), Legumes for Global Food Security. Nova Science Publishers.
More publications on the Research Portal