After completing a PhD in physical activity measurement in young people, my research predominantly focused on investigating patterns of change in physical activity in children and adolescents. Since 2013 I have been a Senior Investigator Scientist in the Behavioural Epidemiology Programme at the MRC Epidemiology Unit. My current research focuses on examining patterns and determinants of change in physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood, directly linking this to the development, implementation and evaluation of physical activity promotion interventions. I led the development, and am leading the NIHR-funded evaluation, of the GoActive intervention which is a peer-led physical activity intervention in secondary schools.
I returned to work part time in January 2015 after maternity leave; subsequently international conferences, collaboration and travel have been especially challenging due to caring responsibilities. Funding from the Returning Carers Scheme enabled me to attend an international conference by providing funding for my daughter and a carer to travel with me. I was able to organise a conference symposium on my main research area of adolescent physical activity promotion with other leading international researchers. This funding therefore allowed me to reconnect with important researchers in the field, to be updated on new research developments, to continue and develop collaborations, and to inform future research without compromising family life.