Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical neuropsychologist, EMDR consultant and PTSD and trauma specialist with special expertise in military and veteran psychological health and is now also the 81st President of the British Psychological Society (2015-2016). He is Visiting Professor of Military Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University in the Veterans and Families Institute and Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and has an independent psychological health consultancy and a practice in Central London, specialising in the treatment of trauma and anxiety and other disorders. I’ve recently interviewed him about his insights on research and collaboration.
1. Could you please talk about the biggest collaborative project you have been involved in.
The largest collaborative project that I have been involved in was when I was the head of clinical psychology for the Ministry of Defence. NATO has a Research and Technology Organisation which carries out work through different panels. The project for which I was the deputy leader was a five-year study on stress and psychological support in modern military operations, carried out under the auspices of the Human Factors and Medicine panel and involved 34 psychologists and other psychological health professionals from 24 different countries.
2. How do you think an academic networking service like Piirus could benefit the members of BPS?
Anything that promotes networking is to be encouraged. For instance, at my university, Anglia Ruskin, we have been funded, as part of a bigger project, to establish a networking facility for academics working in military and veteran research.
3. How important is research productivity to BPS?
Research productivity is very important. We encourage postgraduate researchers through PsyPAG (our Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group) which has a very active Research Board overseeing all research activities, award prizes for all different kinds of research, have a number of high impact factor journals in which psychologists can publish and showcase their research, and run a very large number of conferences and other events, through which psychologists can disseminate their work through oral and poster presentations. Aside from that BPS also keeps a blog since 2005, Research Digest, which aims to demonstrate how fascinating and useful psychological science can be, while also casting a critical eye over the methods used.
4. What do you think are the barriers to interdisciplinary research and how could such barriers be negotiated?
It’s not that the channels don’t exist, but many people just aren’t aware of them. Researchers in psychology are in an ideal position to contribute to and lead interdisciplinary research to contribute to a wide range of theoretical and practical outcomes.
5. What would be your advice to PhD students and Early Career Researchers?
Although I have a clinical doctorate rather than a research degree, I have researched and published fairly extensively, supervised several doctorates and have two PhD students at the moment and, actually, I’d advocate just the thing that we’ve been talking about: academic networking, research collaboration, attending conferences and presenting work in as many different ways, and through as many different channels as possible.
As researchers, be it PhD students, early career researchers or more experienced academics, we are all working toward the same end goal: to contribute to the stock of human knowledge. With such a noble goal, we should pool our creativity and resources. After all, researchers should not be islands. Through guest blogposts, interviews and tips, Piirus offers resources to help them with their research and collaboration needs. Join us on Piirus to find your collaborators.