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Dr Rhiannon Evans

Dr Rhiannon Evans


+44(0) 29 2087 0099
sbarc|spark, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision



I am a Reader in Social Science and Health, based at DECIPHer (Centre for Development, Evaluation, Complexity and Implementation in Public Health Improvement), School of Social Sciences. I am a member of the Senior Management Team at DECIPHer, where I am academic lead for the 'Healthy Social Relationships' research programme and the Centre's Teaching and Learning profile. I am also a member of the SPARK Management Board and the SPARK International Working Group.

The substantive focus of my research is the improvement of the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, in addition to the prevention of self-harm and suicide. I have a particular interest in key groups who experience disadvantage, notably those who are care-experienced.

My methodological focus is on intervention development, process evaluation, qualitative methods and mixed-method systematic reviews. I have leading expertise in intervention adaptation for implementation in new contexts, having co-led NIHR-MRC funded methodological guidance.

I lead on a range of methodological teaching for both undergraduates and postgraduates at Cardiff University. I contribute to the leadership of the DECIPHer methodological short course programme, and deliver these short courses to a number of international academic partners, most recently in Denmark, Namibia and South Africa. 



  • 2022 -         : Reader, DECIPHer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2017 - 2022: Senior Lecturer, DECIPHer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2015 - 2017: Research Fellow, DECIPHer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2014 - 2015: Research Associate, DECIPHer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2013 - 2014: Public Health Tutor (Lecturer Epidemiology), School of Medicine, Cardiff University

Education and Qualifications

  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • PhD in Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • MSc Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University
  • MSc Public Policy, University of Bristol
  • BA Hons Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford
















Undergraduate Teaching

Evaluating Social Policy, Practice and Innovation (2nd year)

Postgraduate Teaching

Evaluating Interventions in Complex Systems (MSc Social Policy/Professional Doctorate)

MSc Social Policy Research Methods Seminar Series

DECIPHer Methodological Short Courses

I am convenor of the DECIPHer Intervention Adaptation short course (commenced 2022), and presenter for the Process Evaluation short course (which I led 2016-2019), both delivered at Cardiff University annually.

I have contributed to the leadership of bespoke versions of the short course programme nationally and internationally, delivering courses to the following: Welsh Government; Kings College London; HSC Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland; University of Aalborg, Denmark; University of Aarhus, Denmark; University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; University of Namibia, Namibia; University of Galway, Ireland; University of Wageningen, Netherlands; University of Klagenfurt, Austria; and Canadian Institute for Collaborative Learning Institute in Evaluation, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Research Interests:

  • Children and young people
  • Mental health, social and emotional learning, and wellbeing
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Domestic violence
  • School-based intervention
  • Family-based intervention, notably in kinship care, foster care and residential care
  • Development, adaptation, evaluation and implementation of interventions
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Complex-systems informed, mixed-method systematic reviews
  • Global health (particularly in relation to intervention adaptation)

Recent Select Research Funding (Infrastructure and Grants)

  • Family-focused adolescent and lifelong health promotion (FLOURISH). Horizon, (2,999,492), 2023-2026
  • Commonwealth Fellowship / ERASMUS Fellowship in collaboration with University of Namibia and Ministry of Basic Education, Namibia, Commonwealth Fellowship / ERASMUS, 2022.
  • A co-produced qualitative exploration of young women’s perspectives on psychological distress in their population and priority actions for responding, NIHR-PHR. (£42,062), 2022.
  • Family group conferencing for children and families: Evaluation of implementation, context and effectiveness (Family VOICE), NIHR-PHR. (£1,173,396), 2021-2025.
  • Review of Statutory School and Community-Based Counselling Services and research and design of a pilot for primary aged children, Welsh Government. (£149,982), 2020-2021
  • Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), Heath and Care Research Wales. (£2.488,488), 2020-2025.
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Interventions for Care-experienced Children and Young People: Systematic review of intervention theories, process, effect and equity, NIHR PHR (£277, 789). 2020-2022.
  • Family Recovery after Domestic Abuse (FReDA): A feasibility trial and nested process evaluation of a group based psychoeducational intervention for children exposed to domestic violence and abuse. NIHR PHR (£570,808), 2019-2021.
  • DECIPHer short course teaching Univeristy of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Newton Mobility Fund (£9,700), 2019.
  • HASTAG South Africa and Nepal, MRC Research to improve adolescent health in LMIC settings. (£504, 247), 2019-2020.
  • British Academy Rising Star Impact Award, British Academy (£11, 500), 2019-2020.
  • Evaluation Health Pathfinder, SafeLives (£200k), 2019-2020.
  • The Transdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health (TRIUMPH) Network, UKRI. (£1.2m), 2018-2020.
  • Secure Futures. Social Care Wales (£100,000), 2018-2019.
  • Adaptation of evidence-informed complex population health interventions for implementation and/or re-evaluation in new contexts. MRC Methodology Research Programme. (£320,261), 2018-2020.
  • What Works Centre for Children's Social Care, Department for Education. (£4.8m) 2017-2020.
  • Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research (NCPHWR), Health and Social care Research Wales. (£1.5m), 2018-2020.
  • A cluster randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve the mental health support and training available to secondary school teachers – the WISE (Wellbeing in Secondary Education) project, NIHR. (£1.3m), 2015-2019.


PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the area of children and young people's mental health, self-harm and suicide. I am particularly interested in the role of family in mental health outcomes, including the experience of being in care. I am keen to supervise PhDs with a focus on methodological innovation, especially in relation to the international adaptation of interventions for new contexts.

Current PhD Students

Dr Lucy Maddox (NIHR) (in collaboration with University of Bath and University of Birbeck) (2022-2027)

Bethan Pell (ESRC) (2021-2025)

Sofie Langergaard (University of Aalborg) (in collaboration with University of Aalborg, Denmark) (2019-2023)

Lorna Stabler (ESRC) (2019-2023)

Rachel Parker (ESRC) (2018-2023)