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Personal profile

Research Interests

My general research interests are in physical activity and public health, particularly regarding the development and evaluation of complex interventions for behaviour change at the individual, community and population level.

My research involves investgating the role of social networks, incentives (both financial and non-financial) and the built environment for physical activity behaviour change. Current research projects include investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel physical activity loyalty scheme for maintained behaviour change and evaluating the public health impact of a large urban regeneration project (Connswater Community Greenway). 

Most recently I have been awarded a NIHR Career Development Fellowship to investigate the role of social network enabled interventions for physical activity behaviour change involving collaborations with the University of Southern California, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge.

Although primarily focussed on physical activity I am involved in other research projects investigating other behaviours such as smoking, diet, sedentary behaviour and skin cancer awareness.


  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Career Development Fellowship 2015-2017 - Social Network Enabled Interventions for Physical Activity Behaviour Change
  • Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Researcher Impact Award 2013
  • Best Paper and Best Demonstration at the International e-Health conference, Malaga, 2011 for work entitled "Effectiveness of a novel Physical Activity Loyalty Scheme for Physical Activity Behaviour Change".


Dissertation supervisor

PhD; BSc Human Biology; BSc Biomedical Sciences; BSc Intercalating Medical Sciences.

SSC Programme

I am module co-ordinator for four SSC modules regarding Community Healthcare Issues. The modules involve medical students undertaking 3-week placements with local community organisations and introduces students to the role that the community and voluntary sector play in health. Key learning objectives include understanding the role of the community worker, understanding the basic principles of community development, and appreciating the social and economic issues affecting specific communities.

I also deliver lectures and tutorials on the following SSCs:

  • Lifestyle through the Lifecycle
  • Physical Activity

Other teaching roles

I deliver several tutorials and lectures on population research, study designs/research methodology, health promotion and physical activity to undergraduate Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science students. 

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Ruth Hunter is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Projects 2012 2019

Research Output 2008 2020

A feasibility study of ‘The StepSmart Challenge’ to promote physical activity in adolescents

Corepal, R., Best, P., O'Neill, R., Kee, F., Badham, J., Dunne, L., Miller, S., Connolly, P., Cupples, M., van Sluijs, E. M. F., Tully, M. & Hunter, R. F., 17 Nov 2019, In : Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 5, 15 p., 132.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Feasibility Studies
Social Support
Northern Ireland

A loyalty scheme to encourage physical activity in office workers: a cluster RCT

Hunter, R., Gough, A., Murray, J., Tang, J., Brennan, S., Chrzanowski-Smith, O., Carlin, A., Patterson, C., Longo, A., Hutchinson, W. G., Prior, L., Tully, M., French, D., Adams, J., McIntosh, E., Xin, Y. & Kee, F., Aug 2019, In : Public Health Research. 7, 15, 114 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

Open Access
Quality-Adjusted Life Years
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Waiting Lists
1 Citation (Scopus)

Built environment correlates of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older adults: A comparative review between high and low-middle income countries.

Cleland, C., Reis, R., Hino, A., Hunter, R., Fermino, R., Koller de Paiva, H., Czestschuk, B. & Ellis, G., May 2019, In : Health & Place. 57, p. 277-304 28 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

population density
Population Density
research focus
1 Citation (Scopus)

Diabetes in humanitarian crises: the Boston Declaration

Kehlenbrink, S., Jaacks, L. & Hunter, R., 06 Jun 2019, In : Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 7, 8, p. 590-592 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Effectiveness variation in simulated school-based network interventions

Badham, J., Kee, F. & Hunter, R., 23 Sep 2019, In : Applied Network Science.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Research Personnel


Career Development Fellowship

Ruth Hunter (Recipient), 01 Jan 2015

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Social Support
Health Behavior
Public Health

Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) "Best Student" Award

Ruth Hunter (Recipient), 20 Jun 2009

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Vice Chancellors Early Career Researcher Impact Prize

Ruth Hunter (Recipient), 23 Nov 2013

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2012 2019

International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Annual Conference

Ruth Hunter (Organiser)
04 Jun 201907 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

4-day WHO Europe course: Implementation Science for NCD Prevention and Management

Ruth Hunter (Organiser)
12 Feb 201915 Feb 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

PhD External Examiner - Dublin College University (DCU)

Ruth Hunter (Examiner)
22 Jan 2019

Activity: Examination typesPhD external examination

Invited Keynote Speaker at the 2nd Latin American Social Network conference

Ruth Hunter (Keynote speaker)
05 Aug 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

Measuring liveability and active living – the adaptation and implementation of MAPS-Full.

Claire Cleland (Presenter), Sara Ferguson (Contributor), Frank Kee (Contributor), Ruth Hunter (Contributor)
27 Nov 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Physical activity interventions in socio-economically disadvantaged communities

Author: Cleland, C., Apr 2013

Supervisor: Cupples, M. (Supervisor), Kee, F. (Supervisor), Tully, M. (Supervisor) & Hunter, R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy