Early Stage Researcher

Universite du Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
Experimental design, Systematic Reviews, Policy-analysis, Multi-disciplinary research, "Breaking the ice"
Research interests
Cognitive Neuroscience, Determinants of physical activity and pro-environmental behaviour, Mental Health Psychology, Individual differences
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James M. Harris, MSc

As a kid, any space could be turned into a playground with a blink of imagination. Recovering this plasticity in the way we perceive and interact with our surroundings will be pivotal to make the most of any structural changes to our urban environment.

A life of curiosity and new beginnings

Welcome to my bio! So, I was born in Brussels to a Cuban mother and a Welsh father. By the time I finished secondary school, I experienced life in three different countries and moved ‘home’ over eleven times. Coming of age ‘on the move’ and within a cultural mesh was not always easy but it provided me with this strong curiosity for understanding our complex societies and the individuals in it.

An interest in the macro and micro-cosms of life

This curiosity drove me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Politics with Economics at the University of Bath, before eventually completing masters' degrees in Mental Health Psychology from the University of Edinburgh and Sport and Exercise Psychology from University of Stirling. To strengthen my research experience, I worked as a research assistant for a cognitive neuroscience lab and for a multidisciplinary research group that focused on infection control.

Linking my education with my life experiences under one project

One recurring theme throughout my life has been the need to integrate myself into a new environment. My experiences have taught me that although it may feel easier to lead your life inside the safe bubble of your own accommodation, outdoor physical activity is one of the most effective ways to develop a stronger positive connection with a place. In this way, the interdisciplinary SURREAL-ITN project is an exciting opportunity to understand more about these processes from a scientific perspective, while also finding creative ways to get more people outside and connecting with their wider environment. My specific PhD project will involve designing 'controlled' and 'naturalistic' experiments that will help deepen our understanding of how to develop individual skills and outdoor environments that foster a more fulfilling active life.

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