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Department of Management

Dr. Ria Poole

Dr. Ria Poole

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Behaviour Change



Ria is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Health Psychologist specialising in the development and evaluation of complex interventions in public health and the environment.  At the University of Exeter, she is working within the Smartline Programme, which encompasses a range of projects focusing on improving digital literacy, health and wellbeing, the environment and social connectivity.  Within the Smartline ‘In Residency’ scheme, Ria works with organisations and businesses to design, implement and evaluate their products and services to address health and wellbeing challenges such as social isolation, digital competency and inclusion, and mental health issues. 

Ria has worked across many different areas of applied health and environmental research using mixed methods approaches to inform policy and practice.  Prior to her present appointment, she was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by Cancer Research UK to investigate tobacco and e-cigarette use among young adults.  Her previous work includes clinical and community trials research in bipolar disorder (Beating Bipolar and Bipolar Education Programme Cymru), smoking prevention in further education settings (the Filter FE Project), parenting support for teenagers (Building Blocks Study), out-of-hours primary care services, and harm reduction for injecting drug users.  Ria was also appointed Programme Manager for the design and implementation of the new undergraduate medical curriculum at Cardiff University (C21), and as a Research Analyst for the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), leading on research development and evaluation in Wales across the domains of food waste and healthy eating, organics markets, household waste and recycling, and sustainability.  She has a PhD from the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University, and a BSc in Applied Psychology at Cardiff University.


  • 2010-2014     PhD, Institute of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2004-2008     BSc Applied Psychology (Class 2:1), Cardiff University
  • APMG-International – Managing Successful Programmes Registered Practitioner, Registration Number: MSPR/06552
  • APMG-International – PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner, Registration Number: P2R/916745

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Research interests

Methodological specialisms:

  • Developing and evaluating complex interventions
  • Logic models and theory of change
  • Meta-ethnography and systematic reviews
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Mixed methods research
  • Programme management and project management
  • Process evaluations
  • Co-production methods and action research
  • Clinical and community trial management

Research topics:

  • Digital health applications and digital literacy
  • Tobacco and e-cigarette use
  • Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder
  • Public health interventions
  • Community, resilience and sustainability
  • Substance use and harm reduction
  • Health inequalities and marginalized groups
  • Social marketing
  • Product and service design and implementation
  • Health eating and sustainable food systems

Research projects

  • Smartline Programme: a collaborative research and innovation programme led by the University of Exeter in partnership with Coastline Housing, Cornwall Council, South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN) and Volunteer Cornwall, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Cornwall Council (
  • Click and Connect Project: a study to understand the feasibility, acceptability and potential impact of a social housing provider’s bespoke online platform on user’s social connectivity (
  • Developing a survey tool to assess digital competency and social connectedness (
  • Business support: working with various stakeholders including Cornwall Council, housing associations and SMEs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to design, implement and evaluate complex interventions with a strong digital component to address health and wellbeing challenges such as social isolation, digital competency and inclusion, and mental health (

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Journal articles

Poole R, Carver H, Anagnostou D, Edwards A, Moore G, Smith P, Wood F, Brain K (2022). Tobacco use, smoking identities and pathways into and out of smoking among young adults: a meta-ethnography. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 17(1). Abstract.
Ranjit A, McCutchan G, Brain K, Poole R (2021). "That's the whole thing about vaping, it's custom tasty goodness": a meta-ethnography of young adults' perceptions and experiences of e-cigarette use. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy, 16(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Smith P, Poole R, Mann M, Nelson A, Moore G, Brain K (2019). Systematic review of behavioural smoking cessation interventions for older smokers from deprived backgrounds. BMJ Open, 9(11). Abstract.  Author URL.
Robling M, Cannings-John R, Channon S, Hood K, Moody G, Poole R, Sanders J (2018). What is usual care for teenagers expecting their first child in England? a process evaluation using key informant mapping and participant survey as part of the Building Blocks randomised controlled trial of specialist home visiting. BMJ Open, 8(5). Abstract.  Author URL.
Fletcher A, Willmott M, Langford R, White J, Poole R, Brown R, Young H, Moore G, Murphy S, Townson J, et al (2017). Pilot trial and process evaluation of a multilevel smoking prevention intervention in further education settings. Public Health Research, 5(8), 1-82. Abstract.
Poole R, Smith D, Simpson S (2015). How Patients Contribute to an Online Psychoeducation Forum for Bipolar Disorder: a Virtual Participant Observation Study. JMIR Ment Health, 2(3). Abstract.  Author URL.
Poole R, Smith D, Simpson S (2015). Patients' perspectives of the feasibility, acceptability and impact of a group-based psychoeducation programme for bipolar disorder: a qualitative analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 15 Abstract.  Author URL.
Poole R, Simpson SA, Smith DJ (2012). Internet-based psychoeducation for bipolar disorder: a qualitative analysis of feasibility, acceptability and impact. BMC Psychiatry, 12 Abstract.  Author URL.
Poole R, Gamper A, Porter A, Egbunike J, Edwards A (2011). Exploring patients' self-reported experiences of out-of-hours primary care and their suggestions for improvement: a qualitative study. Fam Pract, 28(2), 210-219. Abstract.  Author URL.
Smith D, Griffiths E, Poole R, di Florio A, Barnes E, Kelly M, Cohen D, Craddock N, Hood K, Simpson S, et al (2011). beating bipolar: exploratory trial of a novel internet-based psychoeducational treatment for bipolar disorder: p194. Bipolar Disorders, 13, 91-91.
Green HK, Smith E, Poole R, Skuse L, Roberts P, Champney-Smith J, Smith AJ (2009). A Delphi study of the subjective "rush" experience: Understanding the perspective of the injecting drug user to enhance quality of drug intervention. JOURNAL OF SUBSTANCE USE, 14(5), 295-305.  Author URL.

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External Engagement and Impact


  • Cancer Research UK Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award, £169,000
  • MRC Studentship Award, £40,770

Committee/panel activities

  • Active member of the UK Electronic Cigarette Research Forum, contributing to leadership within this field in terms of informing policy and practice

Invited lectures & workshops

  • Introduction to Logic Models and Theory of Change, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter

Media Coverage

  • Keynote speech at “Young Art Cornwall” Award Ceremony, Tate St Ives, December 2018
  • Artist In Residence at Cardiff University for Cancer Research UK’s “People Behind The Research” Campaign, December 2018
  • 30 minute live interview for the Martin Evans Show, BBC Radio Bristol, November 2018

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