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Optimising health through activity, lifestyles and technology

We carry out applied research that seeks to enable and promote healthy living for those experiencing a range of acute and chronic conditions, illnesses and injuries.

We aim to develop a better understanding of conditions and care options using an interdisciplinary approach. Through this improved understanding, we develop and evaluate novel clinical assessments, interventions and technologies to improve the management of health conditions including musculoskeletal pain and cardiorespiratory, neurological and maternal conditions.

Research portfolio

Our highly skilled team work across allied health professions and midwifery and has experience in quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research. Our research involves developing and testing complex interventions and understanding mechanisms of disease and treatment. We work closely with user groups and charities to maximise engagement and impact.

Current areas of research focus on:

  • biomechanical assessment of individuals with musculoskeletal conditions to understand disease and treatment mechanisms.
  • developing interventions focused on supporting self-management and physical activity for individuals with long-term conditions - this is for adults and children with musculoskeletal pain, cardiorespiratory disorders or neurological conditions
  • testing the safety, clinical and/ or cost effectiveness of new interventions within maternal care and pregnancy
  • exploring the use of digital technology in rehabilitation and home settings to enhance assessment and treatment techniques.


Our members are actively engaged with health policy, strategy development, clinical and educational innovation in Wales and beyond. We have research collaborations across the UK and in key centres in the EU and globally.

Research theme members are committed to peer support and mentorship, and to building capacity and capability across health and social care research.

PhD applications

PhD applications are welcomed on topics that directly address the research interests of theme members. We encourage PhD and Professional doctorate students to be active participants in the research theme by presenting their research and attending theme events.

Apply for a PhD in Healthcare Sciences

Theme lead

Professor Kate Button

Professor Kate Button

Head of Research & Innovation

+44 (0)29 206 87734

Deputy theme lead

Dr Nichola Gale

Dr Nichola Gale

Senior Lecturer: Physiotherapy; Research Theme Lead - Optimising Health through Activity and Lifestyles and Technology

+44 (0)29 206 87758

Current research projects

SignatureBack: interactive digital interventions

Interactive digital interventions to support individualised self-management of low back pain.

Cardiff University launch platform to help manage back pain in the workplace and whilst working from home

BACK-on-LINETM is a digital online platform designed to help people better manage low back pain in the workplace and whilst working from home.

Water birth

Establishing the safety of water birth for mothers and babies

The POOL study is evaluating the safety of water births for mothers and babies.

An arm with an IV

Home-based activity for people with lung cancer and established weight loss

Physical activity can improve quality of life for lung cancer patients struggling with weight loss.

Old people in gym

Using Huntington’s disease clinics to promote physical activity

Exploring how physical activity for people with Huntington’s disease be promoted within specialist HD clinics.

zebra crossing

Road safety education for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD)

Primary school aged children perform more accurately in first person road crossing tasks.

Physio talking to patient

Knee conditions: evaluating movement toolkit interventions

Integrating a novel portable toolkit into physiotherapy interventions.