The Sustainable Wellbeing Research Group conducts research across the areas of sustainability, environment, health, and wellbeing. Some of our recent projects include:
Values and Visions of ‘The Good Life’
This project seeks to explore the different values that people hold across the globe. We are asking people what living a ‘good life’ would look like for them, to determine the extent to which such visions differ across demographic groups/cultures and may or may not be consistent with ideas around social and environmental justice.
SWRG researchers: Dr Amy Isham and Prof Andrew Kemp, in collaboration with academics from public health, economics, and modern languages at Swansea University.
This research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
This project examines the impact of the ‘Fit for the Future’ scheme. This scheme involves two pioneering health projects being developed for the NHS: 1) a new cancer treatment hospital at Velindre NHS Trust, which will be designed using sustainable construction methods that have a low impact on the environment, and 2) “Our Health Meadow”, adjacent to University Hospital Llandough near Penarth, a seven-acre field and another seven acres of surrounding woodland will be transformed into an outdoor healthcare and rehabilitation facility. Our team are evaluating the impacts of these projects on health, wellbeing, and environmental outcomes for NHS patients and staff.
SWRG researchers: Prof Jason Davies and Dr Kim Dienes, in collaboration with the social enterprise Down to Earth.
This research is funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme.
Educational Interventions to Promote Sustainable Wellbeing
This project designed a credit-bearing, stand-alone and optional module for third-year undergraduate students and examined the impacts that studying the module had on student wellbeing. The module includes a focus on theory and background (week 1), connection to self (week 2), others (week 3) and nature (week 4), as well as positive behaviour change (week 5), while reflecting on sociostructural promoters and barriers to wellbeing alongside each week’s content. Over a period of four weeks students are introduced to a variety of positive psychology interventions from which they select specific interventions that they are intrinsically motivated to carry out.
Findings have revealed a significant effect whereby students taking the module show improvements in wellbeing from before to after the course. Such changes are not documented in a control group. The researchers also reported on comparisons to published norms, which further highlighted additional beneficial impacts that the module had on an undergraduate student sample.
SWRG researchers: Prof Andrew Kemp and Dr Jess Mead, in collaboration with academics from the Health and Wellbeing Academy at Swansea University.
Consumer Perceptions of Algae as a Sustainable Alternative Protein Source
This project explores consumer perceptions of algae as a sustainable alternative protein source, using both large-scale surveys and focus groups. It forms part of a wider body of work being undertaken by our team on consumer insights for sustainable food products.
“…we explored how consumers rate seaweeds and potential food products (that could be supplemented with seaweed) when thinking about eating them. We found that people expected seaweed food products (such as seaweed burgers) to be more appealing than seaweed as a general food source.
Notably, as participants already expected seaweed products to be healthy and sustainable, these attributes were less important to their acceptance of seaweed. Taste and familiarity were the two factors that had the greatest influence on participants’ willingness to try and buy seaweed-based foods.”
SWRG researchers: Dr Laura Wilkinson, in collaboration with psychologists at Swansea University and BIC Innovation.
This research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Game Changing: Co-created game design for action on net zero and biodiversity
Co-designing games increases understanding of climate change, biodiversity and actions needed to reach net zero. Players learn first-hand by doing and games can simulate complex real-world systems giving players the experience of making difficult decisions within these contexts. Co-design can also be confidence enhancing and particularly effective in engaging with young people from backgrounds less well represented in Higher Education.
Working with game designers and local organisations, this project enables post-industrial and rural communities to gamify the green transition in their localities. The project encompasses three strands of workshop-based community co-design activities, e.g., Habitat restoration, net zero and green spaces and Farming futures – gamifying land use for food production, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
SWRG researchers: Dr Claire Williams, in collaboration with colleagues in the School of Culture and Communications at Swansea University.
Part of this research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).