Patrick Stark


  • Room 02.002 - 2 Fitzwilliam Street

    United Kingdom


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Personal profile

Research Interests

My interests are centred around the goal of applying a scientific approach to the development of practice, programmes and interventions, with a particular focus on education. Building on six years of post-doctoral experience in interventions for education, public health and mental health, I am currently helping to design and evaluate education interventions for nurses for outcomes such as oral health of patients in the community and the reduction of restrictive practices in care homes.

My research interests include:

Evidence-based programme design and evaluation – I am interested in using pilot studies, logic modelling, RCT methodologies and evidence synthesis to design, pilot and evaluate interventions for outcomes such as health and education. I am also interested in developing programmes for professional development for those making a difference in communities, such as nurses and teachers.

Application of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to education and programme design -  With my background in psychology and neuroscience, I am passionate about applying the science of learning and memory to programmes for a range of outcomes. Since 2015, I have been a member of the SMART Spaces programme design team. We designed and piloted an evidence-based intervention for GCSE Science, which has been scaled up in a large RCT for which I was project mananger. We have engaged over 14,000 school pupils in England with this programme. As part of this research, I have studied in-depth the neural and cogntive underpinnings of memory, skill acquisition and learning.

Knowledge transfer from academic research for health and wider societal impacts - I was the entrepeneurial lead for the SMART Spaces team in the Lean Launch research and enterprise programme at QUB. Through engagement with potential health and learning industry partners, we discovered a range of potential applications of our research into learning and memory formation. We will be applying our evidence based learning approaches to health and medical training in the near future. 

RCT methodologies and mixed methods - I have managed numerous large scale RCTs and often work with multi-disciplinary teams to share analytical and technical knowledge about conducting trials for a range of outcomes, such as public health, helping disadvantaged children and healthcare


This year I am teaching Evidence Based Nursing 1 & 2 for Year 1 and Year 2 undergraduate students respectively and research methods at postgraduate level.

I teach quantitative and qualitative methods, statistical analysis, RCT methodologies and evidence synthesis to a range of students, both undergraduate and postgraduate. Previously, I have taught many research methods classes on teacher training courses, MSc, MEd and undergraduate psychology courses. 


Research Statement

I have been co-investigator, project manager and lead analyst on numerous large scale RCTs and programme design studies, attracting over £1million in funding to improve outcomes for tens of thousands of children and young people.

Successfully completed Projects:

Talk of the Town speech and language intervention RCT (Completed October 2015). Funder: EEF.

Dead Cool RCT smoking prevention programme (Completed 2015). Funder: Public Health Agency.

NewsWise Pilot trial Study (Completed June 2016). Funder: Primary Science Teaching Trust.

Spaced Learning - Feasibility and Optimisation Study (Completed January 2017). Funder: EEF.

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Science Learning Project (Completed June 2017). Funder: Big Lottery Fund.

Positive Action Pilot Study - mental health and social outcomes for children (Co-Investigator and Co-Project Manager - Completed January 2018). Funder: EEF. 

Reciprocal Reading RCT (Co-Investigator & Trial Manager - August 2016 - present). Funder: EEF.

Cluster RCT of SMART Spaces (Co-Investigator & Project Manager - January 2018 - present). Funder: EEF.


My colleagues and I have had recent success with our research into Spaced Learning being cited in the most recent Ofsted inspection framework (2019). We are using this teaching strategy to deliver CPD to teachers all over England in the SMART Spaces project.


I am particularly interested in quantitative analysis of large datasets from RCTs and have been lead analyst on both trials and pilot studies.

I have analysed large scale datasets from the UK Government's National Pupil Database and have worked in collaboration with ONS and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to examine outcomes from interventions.

I also regularly adopt a mixed methods approach to research, and have a range of qualitative research experience for a range of outcomes, such as practioner and participant engagement with programmes, learning, speech and language disorders and mental health.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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