On December 14th 2022, the Department of Psychology organised a successful Building Research Partnership (BRP) launch event that brought together psychology researchers, Essex academics, and stakeholders to promote collaborative research and interactions to further encourage knowledge translation.
This first event focused on the theme of “Health and Wellbeing” and included research snapshots from psychology researchers, and networking with stakeholders to tackle societal issues and improve human health.
The Research Partnership focus supports the department’s research activity that fosters “Understanding our place in the world” by promoting a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to research and impact, helping to discern how research at Essex links to societal issues and how academics and stakeholders can work collaboratively to address the needs of communities.
The BRP launch event was attended by a number of organisations, such as the Synapse Centre for Neurodevelopment at East Suffolk and North East Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), the Change Project, and Essex County Council, as well as the newly formed Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing (IPHW) and Essex academics from different faculties demonstrating the wide interest in these types of activities.
At the launch, Professor Sheina Orbell, Director of Research in the Psychology Department, presented the Essex ESNEFT Psychological Research Unit for Behaviour, Health and Wellbeing (EEPRU), founded to study how our understanding, experience and interactions influence illness. EEPRU was established in 2022 in collaboration with ESNEFT and represents a key first stepping stone for psychology researchers at Essex to further research partnership and establish new areas of research excellence and collaboration.
Looking ahead, our vision is to organise recurring events around key themes, building new local and national partnerships. Working closely with the IPHW, we are committed to collaborating with organisations and apply our excellent research to address new challenges that support a better understanding of our place in the world.
Department of Psychology, University of Essex
Maria Laura completed her undergraduate and master degrees in Developmental and Educational Psychology at University of Padua, in Italy. She then moved to London to start a PhD (funded by the Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher Fellowship) at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College London, under the supervision of Prof Mark H. Johnson. Here she investigated body perception in newborns and infants.
Maria Laura's first post-doctoral position at Royal Holloway University of London focused on the interaction between interoceptive and exteroceptive body-related signals in the development of body-awareness in infants and adults. In 2016, she moved to University College London to further her expertise on self- and body-awareness across the lifespan, with a specific focus on affective touch.
Maria Laura joined the Department of Psychology of University of Essex in Autumn 2017 as a lecturer.