Dr Nathan Smith

Research Associate, Psychology & Security

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I am a researcher interested in the psychology of performance and health in challenging and demanding settings. My work includes both theoretical and applied research on topics related to: individual differences including personality, values and motivation; stress, coping, emotion and mental health; and transition, adjustment and reintegration follow exposure to extreme settings.

With my colleague, Professor Emma Barrett, I helped establish the Behavioural and Social Science Research Network in Extreme and Adventurous Settings. The network aims to narrow gap between researchers and practitioners, helping identify end user requirements and clear pathways to impact. We had our first meeting at the Royal Geographical Society in May 2018 and inaugral conference at the University of Manchester in February 2019.

Over the past few years I have worked with many different extreme environment populations including expeditioners in desert, polar and mountain environments, Antarctic scientists, space simulation participants, elite military personnel and extreme medics. I have also collaborated on projects with colleagues at the European Space Agency and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). My work at Manchester focuses on the psychology of performance and health in dynamic and high-risk defence and security settings. Prior to joining the University I worked as a Senior Research Scientist at the UK Ministry of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

In a teaching capacity, I have previously co-designed the psychological module on the Extreme Medicine MSc programme at the University of Exeter and programme for the World Extreme Medicine WEMSKI course in Livigno, Italy. I am also the founder of In Extremis, the first online school for psychology in extreme environments (https://inextremis.teachable.com). 

I regularly speak to practitioner audiences and I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Associate of the Alpine Club and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Exeter’s Medical School. 

Follow me on Twitter: @DrNathanJSmith 

External positions

Honorary Lecturer, University of Exeter

1 Jun 2017 → …

Areas of expertise

  • BF Psychology - Psychology, Extreme Environments, Security, Military

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2015 - Doctor of Philosophy, PhD Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Birmingham (2011 - 2015)

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