Centre for Health and Bioinformatics


Professor Vera Araujo Soares

Prof of Health Psychol & Public Health


Brief Bio

I have over two decades of experience in behaviour change in research and clinical settings in Portugal (1996-2006), Scotland (2006-2010) and England (since 2010). My specific expertise is in translational behavioural health research. More specifically in developing evidence based interventions focusing on self-care and self-management of chronic conditions (pain, cardiovascular rehabilitation and obesity) as well as on the promotion of health behaviours (e.g. sun protective behaviours, healthy diet and physical activity).  My main aims are to develop theoretically and evidence based interventions for behaviour change in order to reduce risk factors and enhance symptom management (e.g. pain), throughout the lifespan. 

In order to develop and evaluate complex interventions to change health-related behaviours and symptoms my research involves conducting formative research, understanding determinants of behaviour and symptoms in the lead to the development of innovative interventions and their evaluation with process evaluation. This research is theoretically grounded, applied, interdisciplinary and multi-methodological and has been funded by major funders such as the UK NIHR and the Medical Research Council.



I am the Impact lead for the IHS. In this role I have developed a tool to explore further potential impact cases and have been interviewing colleagues. I lead the Behaviour Change programme in Fuse, UK CRC Centre of Excellence for Translational Research in Public Health (http://www.fuse.ac.uk/).



Esteem Factors


I am the 14th president of the EHPS (EHPS; www.ehps.net ), a society with around 600 members in the world (and growing) that organises yearly conferences attended by over 1000 people and issues two main publications with IF’s of 2.5 and 8.9. EHPS has a seat at the UN Division of Public Information and Economic and Social Council of the UN (expert NGO).


I am an associate editor of the British Journal of Health Psychology.

Funding panel: I am a member of the NIHR-Research for Patient Benefit Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) for the Yorkshire & North East region, an appointment for a period of 24 months from 1 January 2020. 



In 2010 I was tasked to develop UG and PG 20 credits modules on Health Psychology to be delivered at the School of Psychology. For five years I taught Health Psychology at the UG and PG level. I am a committed teacher and PhD supervisor, currently supervising 8 PhD’s and having successfully led to completion another 8. My students have excellent publication records, a 100% record of timely completion, a range of individual grants and 6 of my previous PhD students now hold academic positions.


My work has shown impact beyond academic audiences. In 2017 and 2018 I have contributed to the writing group lead by Public Health England on ‘Improving people’s health: Applying behavioural and social sciences to improve population health and wellbeing in England’ (see here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-peoples-health-applying-behavioural-and-social-sciences ). This has been published early October. My research on barriers identified by midwives in the North East to the implementation of NICE guidance in supporting pregnant smokers to quit (e.g., Beenstock et., 2012 in Implementation Science) informed a stakeholder workshop, which led to the development of a new care pathway for smoking cessation in pregnancy. This new approach was rolled out in a stepped-wedged design trial lead by Dr Ruth Bell with NIHR SPHR funding. My role was crucial in mapping barriers and facilitators as well as advising on the intervention components and its evidence base (Bell et al., 2018 in Tobacco Control).


1996 - Licenciatura in Psychology (5 years degree). University of Minho, Portugal

1999 - Master in Health Psychology. University of Minho, Portugal

2006 - PhD in Health Psychology - University of Minho, Portugal

Professional History


1996-1998 - Lecturer (Assistente), University Católica Portuguesa

1999-2006 - Lecturer (Assistente), University of Minho, Portugal

2004 - Gulbenkian Visiting Research Fellow, Free University of Berlin, Germany

2005 - Member of the University Academic Senate – elected for 2 years as the representative of the non-doctorate Lecturers.  University of Minho, Portugal

2006-2010 - Senior Research Fellow.  Alliance for Self-Care Research, Robert Gordon University, Scotland


1996-2004 - Clinical Supervisor & Therapist, Pain Unit, Hospital Senhora da Oliveira, Guimarães, Portugal

1999-2006 - Clinical Supervisor, Cardiology & Dermatology Unit, Hospital S. Marcos, Braga, Portugal

2000-2006 - Clinical Supervisor & Therapist, University Psychology Clinic (SCPDH), University of Minho

2006 - Director of Health Psychology Unit-nominated for 2 years, University Psychology Clinic, University of Minho


Health Foundation
Local Authority Champions of Research: maximising impact on the wider determinants of non-communicable disease by building a research culture. Adamson (Public Health Nutrition), Araujo-Soares (Health Psychology & Behaviour Change), Vale (health economics) & Bambra (public health & inequalities), 01/2019– 12/2019. 

National Institute for Health Research / Programme Grants for Applied Research
ASsuRED: Improving outcomes in patients who self-harm - Adapting and evaluating a brief pSychological inteRvention in Emergency Departments, R McCabe (PI), V Araujo-Soares, D Giacco, N Kapur, S Priebe, 04/2019 for 60 months.

Children`s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)
Promoting physical activity in childhood cancer survivors: using qualitative and co-design methods to inform development of an evidence-based intervention. 2018-2019. Sharp L (PI, Cancer Epidemiology, Institute of Health & Society), Vera Araujo-Soares (PI, Health Psychology, Institute of Health & Society), Montague K (Computing); Skinner R (Childhood Cancer. Northern Institute for Cancer Research), Trenell MI (Movement and metabolism, Institute of Cellular Medicine); Pearce, M.S. (Epidemiology, Institute of Health and Society).

The Brain Tumour Charity
Developing a supported self-management intervention to improve quality-of-life in adult brain tumour survivors and their carers. 2017-2020. Sharp L (Cancer Epidemiology, Institute of Health & Society) & Araujo-Soares V (Health Psychology, Institute of Health & Society). 

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Investigating Problem Orientated Patient Pathways, Toothache to Treatment: ImPacT Study, 2017-2020, Currie, C.C. (PI, Clinical Fellow, Dental Sciences), Durham JA (Orofacial Pain, Dental Sciences); Pearce, MS (Applied Epidemiology, Institute of Health & Society); Araujo-Soares, V (Health Psychology, Institute of Health & Society); Stone S (Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant, Dental Sciences). 

Arthritis Research UK
Development and feasibility of an evidence-based DIGital self-management Intervention Tool for people with primary Sjögren's syndrome (DIGITS).  2018-2021. Hackett KL (PI; Professor of Occupational Therapy, Northumbria University), Araujo-Soares, V (Health Psychology, Institute of Health & Society); Kolehmainen NM (Occupational Therapy, Institute of Health & Society);  McColl EMM (Health Service Research, Institute of Health & Society); Rapley, TJ (Medical Sociology, IHS). 

FUSE, the UK Centre of Excellence for Research on Translational Research for Public Health funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC)
Early years physical activity and movement skills intervention – feasibility study to evaluate an existing training programme for early years practitioners. 2017-2018. Basterfield L (PI, Research Associate, Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Health & Society), Adamson, AJ (Public Health Nutrition; Institute of Health & Society),  Araujo-Soares, V (Health Psychology, Institute of Health & Society); Rapley, TJ (Medical Sociology, Institute of Health & Society). 

Department of Health through the National Institute for Health Research School of Public Health Research
Formative evaluation of the First Wave of the national implementation of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in England (06/2016; 12 months). FF Sniehotta; VL Araujo-Soares; R Bell; AJ Adamson. 2016-2017. 

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Development and Pilot Evaluation of Scalable Interventions - NU level additional costing. 2016.   (FF Sniehotta, PI; VL Araujo-Soares; EH Evan;  KL Sainsbury).

National Institute for Health Research / Programme Grants for Applied Research
Developing a psychological intervention to improve ultraviolet protection and clinical outcomes in Xeroderma Pigmentosum (09/2015; 48 months). R Sarkany (PI), J Weinman (PI), A Lehmann, A Young, H Fassihi, J Warner-Rogers, V Araujo-Soares (Newcastle lead), FF Sniehotta, S Norton, A Sarasin, H-C Wulf, M Morgan, B Fowler, S Webb.

Newcastle City Council
Promote sustainable transport Research Projects Overview (04/2015; 9 months). V Araujo-Soares (PI).

North East Diabetes Trust
Dietary intervention for the treatment of Gestational Diabetes: A Magnetic Resonance Study of Maternal Liver Fat (08/2014; 24 months), R Taylor (PI), SC Robson, V Araujo-Soares.

NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR)
Transforming the foodscape (10/2013; 33 months), AJ Adamson (PI), JM Adams, V Araujo-Soares, C Summerbell, A Lake , C Abraham & M White.

NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR)
Evaluation of a complex intervention to promote increased smoking cessation rates among pregnant women in maternity care. (05/2013; 30 months). R Bell (PI), SP Rushton, SV Glinyanaya, VL Araujo-Soares, MJR White & L Vale.

Finish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, funding number 201310238, and the Finish Ministry of Education and Culture, funding number 34/626/2012: The Let's Move it Study Nelli Hankonen (PI) Vera Araujo-Soares , Reijo Sund, Tommi Vasankari, Ari Haukkala.

National Prevention Research Initiative led by the Medical Research Council
Development and stage 2 RCT with internal pilot of a weight loss maintenance intervention for obese adults after clinically significant weight loss (Sept 2012-June 2016); FF Sniehotta; M White, A Adamson, V Araujo-Soares, E McColl, L Vale, P Olivier, P Wright, A Batterham, H Brown.


Teaching - School of Psychology

Module Leader                                                                                                

PSY 8038 Health Psychology and Principles of Behaviour Change  (Master Foundations in Clinical Psychology), over Semester 1

Health psychology focuses on increasing our understanding of the role of behaviour, cognitions, emotions and motivation in physical health and disease, health risks and preventive measures. The goal is to analyse, explain and establish the evidence base for the development of interventions that can support people in changing their health-related behaviour (either by focusing on the individual or environment).   

Two hour session per week, followed on by a 2 hour seminar every other week.

Assessment: Students are expected to work as a group and submit and present an oral presentation worth 25% of the overall mark. This group work details an intervention development process using a population and behaviour of their choice. Then the students are assessed with an essay type exam worth 75%.

PhD Students & Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Students (2007-now)


Current PhD Students


Ana Margarida de Barros Trovisqueira Baptista da Silva:  Overweight and obesity in primary care: understanding, developing and piloting of an intervention for weight loss and maintenance.   Funding Source: National Science Foundation, Portugal (2019-2022). Grant Reference: SFRH/BD/136224/2018 ; Universidade do Minho.


Reem Talhouk: The Design, Deployment and evaluation of Technologies for Refugee Community Resilience. Funding Source: Digital Civics grant, CDT-EPSRC. (2016-2019)


Thomas Maskell: Supporting citizens to use digital technology to promote walking and cycling. Funding Source: Digital Civics grant, CDT-EPSRC (2017-2021)


Samuel Parker: The Seven S Study: Supporting Sunderland Smokers’ – a Strategy for Stop Smoking Services. 


Nour Alreshaidan: The impact of an in-service training on Alternative and Augmentative Communication on Knowledge and Practice of Arab Speech Therapists Serving Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Kuwait.  Funding Source: Kuwait Government (2017-2021)


Charlotte Currie: Investigating Problem Orientated Patient Pathways, Toothache to Treatment. Funding Source: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR, 2017-2020).  



Final Year


Mohammed Johari Zabri: Predictors of weight loss maintenance and its impact on intervention developments efforts.  Funding source: International PhD grant from Malaysian Government.


As a co-supervisor 


Sarah Smith: Eating behaviours in the work place: an intervention development process to increase healthy eating in the work place.   Funding Source: Fuse.


Doctorate in Clinical Psychology


Students name: Kay Rooney

Supervisory team:  Vera Araújo-Soares (academic supervisor); Bronia Arnott & Tina Biss (RVI, Newcastle).

Year: 2015-2018; successfully completed with distinction and no corrections.

University: Newcastle University, UK. 



Past PhD Students



Lucia Rehackova:  Evaluation of adherence and acceptability of a very low energy diet aimed at reversing type 2 diabetes. Funding source: Institute of Health and Society. 




Samuel Ginja: Acceptability and feasibility of an incentive based intervention to promote active travel modes amongst primary school children. Funding source:  Sir James Knott Endowment Grant.


Sandra Fernandes-Machado: Dual process predictors of food choices in children.   Funding source: International PhD grant from National Science Foundation Portugal (FCT).


Nouf AloudahImprovement of Poor Adherence of Saudi Patients with Health Care Recommendations. Funding source: Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau.




Anna Sherrington: Evaluation of an internet-based weight loss intervention. Funding source: My Dietician Online, County Durham Primary Care Trust (PCT).


Mohammed Khalil Shaker Al-BaghdadiExamining and aiding clinical decision-making in the management of temporomandibular disorders. Funding source: Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq (HCED).




Angela Rodrigues: Systematic development of an intervention to promote sun protection behaviours amongst holidaymakers. Funding source: International PhD grant from National Science Foundation Portugal (FCT).




Patricia Ribeiro Pinto: Psychological predictors of acute and Persistent post-surgical pain in patients submitted to hysterectomy and to total knee and hip arthroplasty. Funding source: Portuguese National Science Foundation as a PhD fellowship (2008-2012). University: University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.