2. Research

As of May 2020, I am Research Practice Lead for the University of Sheffield. This role has responsibility for promoting open, transparent, robust and reproducible research at the University. Read more here.

From September 2022 I will be an Associate Director of the Research on Research Institute (RoRI). The aim of this project, lead by James Wilsdon, is to “translate ideas and evidence into practical, real world solutions to improve research culture and systems”.

I am the convenor of the UKRN Academy – a forum for doctoral students working on reproducibility and metascience projects – and Sheffield MetaNet a forum to support networking, exchange and collaboration between University of Sheffield researchers and professional staff involved in, or supportive of, metascience and research on research

Research Interests

I study learning and decision making. Much of my research looks at simple decision making, and simple skill learning, using measures of behaviour informed by work done in computational theory, robotics and neuroscience. More recently a strand of my research looks at complex decisions, and bias in decision making, and what might be called ‘evidence-informed persuasion’.

Three core ambitions of my research are:

  • Data Intensive Methods – robust, scalable, reproducible experiments and analysis which are transparent, sharable and work with 400,000 data points as well as for 40.
  • Interdisciplinarity – collaborating across all scholarly fields.
  • Public Engagement – listening to public interests, sharing research process and outcomes with non-specialists, giving back to the publics involved with research.

Funded research projects are listed below, click on the tab above (or this link) for scholarly publications. See this pages for resources for past and upcoming talks


2022 – 2025: Reinforcer-specific value-based decision-making in persistence of and recovery from alcohol use disorder. Matt Field (PI), Tom Stafford and Amber Copeland. MRC (£661, 617)

2021 – 2025: White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Collaborative Award “Informing citizens? Effects of imprints on digital political advertising”. October 2020 to September 2024 (PhD studentship taken up by Hazel Gordon; primary supervisor, with Kate Dommett, and partnered with the Electoral Reform Society).

2021 – 2026: Growing and Embedding Open Research in Institutional Practice and Culture. Marcus Munafò (PI) and the UKRN. Research England Development Fund. £8,500,000 (£333,096 to Sheffield).

2021 – 2024: Opening Up Minds: Engaging Dialogue Generated From Argument Maps. Paul Piwek (PI), Tom Stafford, Andreas Vlachos, Svetlana Stonyanchev. EPSRC. £711,020 (£218,662 to Sheffield).

2020 – 2023: Understanding online political advertising: perceptions, uses and regulation. Kate Dommett (PI), Tom Stafford, Nikos Aletras. Leverhulme Trust. £390,215

2019 – 2021. Plastics: Redefining Single-Use. Anthony Ryan (PI) and many others. UKRI (Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastics Waste). £1,010,896.

2019 – 2020. EEG analysis of errors during skilled typing. Experimental Psychology Society Small Grant Scheme. Tom Stafford (PI), Cigir Kalfaoglu.£3500.

2018 – 2019. Assessing functional ability in older adults. Claudia von Bastian (PI). White Rose Collaboration Fund £9,619

2017 – 2018. Cyberselves: How Immersive Technologies will Impact our Future Selves. Tony Prescott (PI), Tom Stafford, Michael Szollosy. AHRC £78,494

Neuroimaging as a marker of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
2014-15, Tom Stafford (PI), Paul Overton, Maria Panagiotidi (Sheffield), Tony Morland, Alex Wade (York), Jac Billington, Jean-Francois Delvenne (Leeds).
White Rose Collaboration Fund 2014, £10996

Reduced habitual intrusions : an early marker for Parkinson’s Disease?
2014-15, Tom Stafford (PI), with Jose Obeso, Peter Redgrave, Colin Bannard. Michael J Fox Foundation ($100,000).

Cyberselves in Immersive Technologies
2014-15, Tony Prescott (PI), Tom Stafford, Stuart Wilson (Department of Psychology, Sheffield), Adam Piette, Michael Szollosy (School of English, Sheffield), Julian Savulescu, Hannah Maslen (Philosophy, Oxford). AHRC, £64,118.

Bias and Blame: Do Moral Interactions Modulate the Expression of Implicit Bias?. 2014-2016, a Leverhulme Trust grant to the University of Nottingham, with Jules Holroyd (PI) and Tom Stafford. £220,608

Decision making under uncertainty: brains, swarms and markets
2013-2016, a studentship network for 3 PhDs at the University of Sheffield (led by Tom Stafford and with Kevin Gurney, James Marshall, Eleni Vasaliki, Jane Binner and Roderich Gross).

‘Developing Haptics in Assistive Technology for the Visually-Impaired – HATV-I’. Matt Carre (PI), Tom Stafford, Tony Prescott, Mark Hawley. UoS EPSRC Pump-priming fund (2012-2013, £46,000).

‘Collicular hyper-responsiveness in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’. Overton, P.G., Chalhoub, N., Ennis, J., Stafford, T., Codina, C. Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity (£9284; 2013-2014)

‘A Wearable Active Sensing Device Using Tactile Displays’
2011-2012, £50,000, EPSRC Proof of Concept Funding, via University of Sheffield

‘Intrinsically Motivated Cumulative Learning Versatile Robots’ (Principal: Gianluca Baldassarre, ISTCCNR, Rome)
2009-2013, €5,900,000 (€771,190 to Sheffield), European Union FP7 grant.

‘Teaching Synthetic Psychology With Lego Robots’ (Principal: Tony Prescott, Sheffield)
2009-2010, £6,720, University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching Services grant

‘Does the tea really taste better if you put the milk in first?” Scientific inquiry in public
2009, £1,130, CILASS Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience Scheme: Summer studentship

‘White Rose Active Vision Network’ (Principal: Jim Austin, York)
2008-2011, £162,000 (£54,000 to Sheffield), White Rose Network studentship grant

‘IBL at MSc level’ (Principal: Tom Stafford)
2008-2009, £2720, CILASS Scholarship of Teaching grant, University of Sheffield

‘The cognitive psychology of decision processing: How does intensity and size of choice-set affect response selection?’ (Principal: Tom Stafford)
2005, £3000, Social Sciences Devolved Funds Grant, University of Sheffield

Learned Societies

I am a member of the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology.

I am a fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Higher Education Academy, and a member of the Cognitive Science Society, the Experimental Psychology Society and the Psychonomic Society.