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Dr Gareth Davies

Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Post Doctoral Research Associate
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Knowledge Media Institute
  • gareth.davies

Professional biography

I am currently working on the RCUK-funded Schools University Partnership Initiative (SUPI), ‘Engaging opportunities: connecting young people with contemporary research and researchers’ project.  This involves thinking creatively about existing opportunities to engage with schools, evaluating impact and determining the scope for developing new initiatives. To find out more about this project and what we are achieving, plaese watch the following video.

Recently completed a fixed-term UKERC-funded research contract with Canfield University that focused on developing a conceptual model to help practitioners in the energy system know what techniques they should consider using to assess uncertainty characterizing their decisions. Also completing a fixed-term contract for Emerging World, investigating the perceived value ‘international service learning’ has for developing cross-cultural global leadership competencies.  Before this I was working at the Open University Business School on the pan-European xDelia research project, which used physiological measures and serious games as part of a learning journey to help traders and investors overcome their susceptibility to the disposition effect – a common bias in financial decision-making.

My education has given me a broad background in environmental science and in-depth knowledge of designing and developing decision-support tools to account for human bias. I have complete an EPSRC-funded PhD that focused on pulling together insights from psychology, sociology and computer science to create an agent-based model. The purpose was to capture the impact personality and power dynamics have on the measure of trust, receptivity and thereby confidence government place in lines of evidence.  Additionally, I completed a Defra-funded MSc by Research in the School of Applied Science at Cranfield University, where I developed a decision-support tool for regulators wanting to compare multiple disparate risks. At the University of Newcastle upon Tyne I also completed a Masters of Research (Mres, Merit) in Marine Science Technology.  This specialised in ecotoxicology through a laboratory study that investigated the potential effects that Nonlyphenol has on the asymmetric development of harpacticoid nauplii. Prior to this, I completed a BSc (Hons) at Bournemouth University in Environmental Protection where I developed a recirculation unit for the culture of harpacticoid copepods as a viable live food for cod larvae. 

Research interests

Research Interests

My research interests lie in developing decision-support tools to cope with the complexity that characterises decision-making under risk and uncertainty.  I have a keen interest in human behaviour and the way interactions between people and their environment affect decision-making. I am now interested in exploring ways of using evaluation research methods to communicate science, especially under conditions of deep uncertainty.  I am also a keen developer of agent-based models and have an interest in exploring the use of participatory methods to model the influence personal and organisational features have on group decisions.

My research publications are hosted on Open Research Online.

RCUK-funded School-University Partnership Initiative
Engaging Opportunities”
Research Associate on The Open University’s RCUK-funded Schools-university partnership project, ‘Engaging opportunities: connecting young people with contemporary research and researchers’.   As such, I have responsibility for identifying and creating opportunities for engagement and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. 

Consultancy-funded research for Emerging World
“International service learning: The development assignments of the 21st century”
Consultancy contract with Emerging World, carrying out research into the perceived value that international service learning has for developing the leadership competencies that employees and companies need in a global market.

Non-funded research project looking into the effect mindfulnesstraining has on traders and investors susceptibility to the disposition effect
“Mindfulness Trader Training”

Collaborative effort with colleagues in Erasmus University and the Open University to explore the potential that the xDelia Mindfulness Trader Training has for helping traders and investors to overcome the ‘disposition effect’ (a common financial decision making bias) by learning how to better regulate their emotions.

Teaching interests


During my PhD at Cranfield University I have lectured MSc students on the principals of risk characterisation, assessment and management for waste and resource management.

I have an on-going contract with Coventry University where I supervise up to twelve MSc students per year who are studying different human health and environmental effects of management in the oil and gas industry.

I have also gained teaching experience when I worked as a supply teacher at Daltorps Comprehensive School in Boras, Sweden.

Professional development

During the PhD I developed the skill of working in a trans-disciplinary way as I interacted with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers.  In parallel to this, I also collaborated with colleagues outside my PhD to advise the Environment Agency and the Department of Food and Rural Affairs on how to improve their decisions on risk.  During my post-doctoral research career I have helped to write and coordinate a number of reports for government and non-government agencies and the EU research council and made a number of applications for ethics approval through different academic institutions. I have supervised a number of overseas MSc students alongside a fulltime post – helping them to grasp the skill of writing in a logical manner, to think critically about insights in published literature and to motivate them to want to carry out independent research.  I have also gained experience of chairing workshops and conferences. For example I have formed collaboration with fellow academics in my local Church to run mock PhD viva’s for engineers, social scientists and management students. In addition to this, I am an associate member of the Advantage Global Positioning group – helping MSc and PhD students to understand the opportunities available to them in emerging markets and encouraging them to develop an entrepreneurial and enterprise mind-set.  

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

An open research university: How to embed public engagement within the culture of research (RS-11-005-TB)

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Apr/201231/Mar/2015RCUK Research Councils UK
The aim of this proposal is to embed public engagement with research within The Open University’s (OU) strategic planning for research and the operational practices of researchers at all levels; to become an open research university.


Moving beyond the seductive siren of reach: planning for the social and economic impacts emerging from school-university engagement with research (2015-09-29)
Holliman, Richard and Davies, Gareth
Journal of Science Communication, 14, Article C06(3)
Mapping Public Engagement with Research in a UK University (2015-04-02)
Grand, Ann; Davies, Gareth; Holliman, Richard and Adams, Anne
PLoS ONE, 10(4) (pp. 1-19)
Regulators as agents: modelling personality and power as evidence is brokered to support decisions on environmental risk (2014-01-01)
Davies, G. J.; Kendall, G.; Soane, E.; Li, J.; Rocks, S. A.; Jude, S. R. and Pollard, S. J. T.
Science of the Total Environment, 466-67 (pp. 74-83)
Emotion regulation and trader expertise: heart rate variability on the trading floor (2012-11)
Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Lins, Jeffrey; Vohra, Shalini; Richards, Daniel; Davies, Gareth and Schaaff, Kristina
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics, 5(4) (pp. 227-237)
Evidence and belief in regulatory decisions – incorporating expected utility into decision modelling (2012)
Li, J.; Davies, G. J.; Kendall, G.; Soane, E.; Bai, R.; Rocks, S. A. and Pollard, S. J. T.
Expert Systems with Applications, 39(10) (pp. 8604-8610)
Regulators as 'agents': power and personality in risk regulation and a role for agent-based simulation (2010-12-14)
Davies, Gareth; Kendall, G.; Soane, E.; Li, J.; Charnley, F. and Pollard, S. J. T.
Journal of Risk Research, 13(8) (pp. 961-982)
Optimising risk reduction: an expected utility approach for marginal risk reduction during regulatory decision making (2009-11)
Li, Jiawei; Pollard, Simon; Kendall, Graham; Soane, Emma and Davies, Gareth
Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 94(11) (pp. 1729-1734)
Better environmental decision making — recent progress and future trends (2008-08-01)
Pollard, S. J. T.; Davies, G. J.; Coley, F. and Lemon, M.
Science of the Total Environment, 400(1-3) (pp. 20-31)
Planning for engaged research: a collaborative ‘Labcast’ (2017-11-30)
Holliman, Richard; Davies, Gareth; Pearson, Victoria; Collins, Trevor; Sheridan, Simon; Brown, Helen; Hallam, Jenny and Russell, Mark
In: Kucirkova, Natalia and Quinlan, Oliver eds. The Digitally Agile Researcher (pp. 88-106)
ISBN : 978-0-335-26152-9 | Publisher : Open University Press | Published : London
An Open Research University (2015)
Holliman, Richard; Adams, Anne; Blackman, Tim; Collins, Trevor; Davies, Gareth; Dibb, Sally; Grand, Ann; Holti, Richard; Mckerlie, Fiona; Mahony, Nick and Wissenburg, Astrid
Holliman, Richard; Adams, Anne; Blackman, Tim; Collins, Trevor; Davies, Gareth; Dibb, Sally; Grand, Ann; Holti, Richard; McKerlie, Fiona; Mahony, Nick and Wissenburg, Astrid eds.
ISBN : 9781473004030 | Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Community partners acting as insider researchers to facilitate a Do-It-Yourself networking (2018-07-23)
Davies, Gareth; Hausel, Katalin and Stevens, James
In : British Autoethnography Association Conference 2018 (23 & 24 Jul 2018, Bristol, UK)
Seeking togetherness: moving toward a comparative evaluation framework in an interdisciplinary DIY networking project (2017-06-26)
Davies, G. and Gaved, M.
In : Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T '17) (26-30 Jun 2017, Troyes, France) (pp. 96-99)
Antecedents and consequences of impulsive buying: can impulsive buying be understood as dysfunctional emotion regulation? (2012-07-02)
Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Furnham, Adrian; Dibb, Sally and Davies, Gareth
In : Eighth International Conference on Emotions and Worklife: Emonet VIII (02-03 Jul 2012, Helsinki)
MAZI deliverable report D2.6 Design, progress and evaluation of the Deptford Creeknet pilot (version 3) (2018-12-31)
Gaved, Mark; Stevens, James and Davies, Gareth
The MAZI Consortium
D3.9 Comparative evaluation of the MAZI pilots (version 2) (2018-03-11)
Davies, Gareth; Gaved, Mark; McAndrew, Patrick; Jones, Ann; Scanlon, Eileen; Hausel, Katalin and Apostol, Ileana
European Commission
Engaging Opportunities: Connecting young people with contemporary research and researchers (2018-02-01)
Holliman, Richard; Davies, Gareth; Ford, Diane; Russell, Mark; Steed, Anthony; Brown, Helen; Pearson, Victoria; Collins, Trevor; Stutchbury, Kris; Squires, Andrew; Scanlon, Eileen; Whitelegg, Liz; Ansine, Janice; Braithwaite, N St.J; Swithenby, Stephen; Dommett, Ellie; Sumner, Janet; Lee, Clare; Kendall, Joe; Green, Penny; Sharp, Damien; Bullivant, Mike; Devine, Peter and Hawthorne, Val
The Open University and the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance, Milton Keynes.
MAZI Deliverable Report D2.5: – Design, progress and evaluation of the Deptford CreekNet pilot (version 2) (2018-01-31)
Gaved, Mark; Stevens, James; Davies, Gareth and Clayton, Paul
The MAZI Consortium
D3.8 Comparative evaluation of the MAZI pilots (version 1) (2017-03-06)
Davies, Gareth; Gaved, Mark; Adams, Anne; Antoniadis, Panayotis; Apostol, Ileana; Lüning, Elizabeth Calderon; Hausel, Katalin; Helgason, Ingi; Klaus, Philipp; Smyth, Michael; Stevens, James and Unteidig, Andreas
The MAZI consortium
MAZI Deliverable Report D2.4: Design, progress and evaluation of the Deptford CreekNet pilot (version 1) (2016-12-31)
Davies, Gareth; Stevens, James; Gaved, Mark; Clayton, Paul and Adams, Anne
MAZI Consortium, Volos, Greece.
D2.1 Design, progress and evaluation of the Prinzessinnengarten pilot (version 1) (2016-09-29)
Unteidig, Andreas; Dominguez-Cobreros, Blanca; Calderon-Lünig, Elizabeth; Heilgemeir, Anna; Clausen, Marco and Davies, Gareth
The MAZI Consortium
xDelia final report: emotion-centred financial decision making and learning (2012-09-25)
Peffer, Gilbert; Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Adam, Marc; Astor, Philipp; Cederholm, Henrik; Clough, Gill; Conole, Gráinne; Davies, Gareth; Eriksson, Jeanette; Gaved, Mark; Heuer, Stephan; Jerčić, Petar; Lindley, Craig; Todd Lins, Jeffrey; van Overveld, Mark; Scanlon, Eileen; Schaaff, Kristina and Smidts, Ale
Open University, CIMNE, Milton Keynes UK.
xDelia: D18-2.4.2 Learning Intervention Package - Development and Evaluation (Year 3) (2012-05-31)
Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Gaved, Mark; Astor, Philipp; Cederholm, Henrik; Davies, Gareth; Eriksson, Jeanette; Jerčić, Petar; Lins, Jeffrey Todd; van Overveld, Marc; Schaaff, Kristina and Smidts, Ale
xDelia Consortium, Milton Keynes, UK.
xDelia: emotion-centred financial decision making and learning (final report) (2012)
Peffer, Gilbert; Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Adam, Marc; Astor, Philip; Cederholm, Henrik; Clough, Gill; Conole, Grainne; Davies, Gareth; Eriksson, Jeanette; Gaved, Mark; Heuer, Stephan; Jercic, Petar; Lindley, Craig; Lins, Jeffrey Todd; van Overveld, Marc; Scanlon, Eileen; Schaaff, Kristina and Smidts, Ale
xDelia Consortium, Milton Keynes, UK.
Dataset for paper "Mapping public engagement with research in a UK university" ()
Grand, Ann; Davies, Gareth; Holliman, Richard and Adams, Anne

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