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The University of Southampton

National recognition and funding for Southampton psychology-led LifeGuide team

Published: 14 December 2015
LifeGuide: web based interventions
LifeGuide: web based interventions

An interdisciplinary Southampton research team is celebrating after securing funding for the next five years as co-investigators on new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programme grants totalling around £10m and having their work selected to be showcased at a national event.

Lucy Yardley, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Southampton, leads the LifeGuide research programme, which was among 11 impact case studies picked by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to exhibit at Connected Nation: Thriving in a Digital World at the British Library.

An invited audience of influential policymakers, businesses and third sector leaders heard from Lucy and saw demonstrations of LifeGuide – a unique set of software resources that allows people without programming skills to create interactive websites and apps to support health.

Her exhibit showcased how the software (developed by a team led by Dr Mark Weal in Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton) has been successfully applied to improve health and wellbeing, including public health applications such as supporting weight loss and physical activity, and managing health problems such as cancer, diabetes and asthma.

In collaboration with clinical colleagues at Southampton, Oxford and Sheffield, the LifeGuide team recently secured funding for a further five years, as co-investigators on four programme grants totalling nearly £10m from the NIHR.

These programmes will develop digital interventions:

  • To improve physical and mental well-being in cancer survivors
  • To reduce antibiotic prescribing and resistance in hospital
  • To reduce malnutrition in primary care
  • To support self-management of Type 1 diabetes

Lucy said: “I am delighted and honoured to have received this funding and also to have been asked to showcase our research at the EPSRC conference.

“Both of these achievements recognise the reputation of Southampton as a world-leading centre for developing digital interventions. This wouldn’t be possible without my excellent collaborators and the fantastic LifeGuide team.”

LifeGuide is a highly-successful project that is now used by an international community of more than 2,000 people, developing all sorts of e-health resources. The team has attracted funding of over £30m to develop and evaluate interactive websites and apps for health promotion - such as supporting stopping smoking - and to help people self-manage health problems including back pain, flu, high blood pressure, and dizziness.

Lucy said: “We work very closely with users to make sure our websites are engaging and easy to use for everyone, and have been able to show that LifeGuide resources really impact on health. For example The Lancet recently published results of the trial (led by Professor Paul Little in primary care) that showed our interactive website encouraging more frequent handwashing had proven potential to reduce the impact of an international flu pandemic.”

As well as the LifeGuide project, Lucy has also led the EPSRC- funded UBhave project which developed resources for creating mobile phone apps that used phone sensors to detect what users are doing and provide just-in-time advice.

To find out more about the LifeGuide research visit

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