Dr Amy Irwin

Dr Amy Irwin
Dr Amy Irwin

Dr Amy Irwin

MA, MPhil, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer


School of Psychology William Guild Building Room T8 Kings College Old Aberdeen AB24 3FX


  • PhD Psychology 
    2008 - University of Nottingham 

Internal Memberships

Research groups

  • Lead of the Applied Psychology and Human Factors research group
  • Lead of the Non-technical skills in agriculture research group
  • Co-lead Qualitative research group

Internal groups / committees

  • Psychology impact & industry committee
  • Employability and entrepreneurship committee
  • Marketing committee

Administration / course co-ordination

  • L4 Human Factors course co-ordinator
  • Ondemand Human Factors in Industrial Practice course co-ordinator
  • Ondemand Safety Critical Skills in Industry course co-ordinator
  • Ondemand Organisational Culture and Conflict course co-ordinator

Latest Publications

View My Publications

Prizes and Awards

Winner Principal's Prize for Public Engagement with Research. 2021.

Nominated for Principal’s Prize for successful industry engagement. 2020.

Runner-up Principal's Prize for Public Engagement with Research. 2019.

Best thesis supervisor. University of Aberdeen Student-led Teaching Awards. 2016.


Research Overview


  • The examination of Non-Technical Skills (teamwork, communication, situation wareness, cognitive readiness etc) and factors influencing non-technical skills (such as mission type, performance limitations, context etc) in industries including:
    • Agriculture
    • Aviation (helicopters, commercial and general aviation fixed-wing)
    • Healthcare
    • Forestry
    • Mountain guiding
  • The experience of rudeness and incivility at work including:
    • The impact of status (both instigator and victim) on the perception of, and response to, incivility.
    • The utility of different coping mechanisms to mitigate the impact of incivility.
    • How context might influence the incivility experience.
    • I am particularly interested in the impact of incivility in veterinary practice.
  • Student employability and graduate attributes:
    • Work experience type and employability - are some types of work experience better than others?
    • Identification of graduate attributes necessary for employability and investigation of attribute assessment.
  • Risk normalisation and cognitive bias in high-risk industry settings.
  • Resilience - both student and worker.



Research Areas



Knowledge Exchange

Irwin, A., Perkins,J., Branigan,H.& Trevethan, C. (2022). Supporting student resilience is about moving from surviving to thriving. https://wonkhe.com/blogs/supporting-student-resilience-is-about-moving-from-surviving-to-thriving/

Irwin A. & Perkins, J. (2021). Are online internships the future of work experience, or just a pandemic remedy for student employability? https://wonkhe.com/blogs/are-online-internships-the-future-of-work-experience-or-just-a-pandemic-remedy-for-student-employability/ 

Guest blog for the National Farmers Union (2020): https://www.nfus.org.uk/news/blog/farm-safety-week-guest-blog-dr-amy-irwin-ntsag-research-group-university-of-aberdeen 

Article for Press & Journal discussing email communication (2020): https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/opinion/2239097/dr-amy-irwin-dr-alexandra-cleland-simple-steps-to-get-it-right-when-you-write/ 

Irwin, A. (2020). Tackling rudeness in Higher Education. WonkHE. https://wonkhe.com/blogs/tackling-rudeness-in-higher-education/

Appearance on BBC News Scotland, based on Landward episode (Nov, 2019). https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-50318921

Appearance on Landward (Nov, 2019). https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b4gy

Article for Press & Journal discussing Applied Psychology (Oct, 2019): https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/opinion/columnists/1857252/dr-amy-irwin-moving-out-of-the-lab-and-into-the-real-world/

Irwin, A. & Trevethan, C. (Oct, 2019). Five ways rudeness can actually be a positive experience. The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/five-ways-rudeness-can-actually-be-a-positive-experience-125447

Irwin, A. & Lipan, G. (March, 2019). Students this is how you can stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/students-this-is-how-you-can-stand-out-from-the-crowd-in-a-very-competitive-job-market-112541 

Irwin, A. (August, 2018). Does rudeness have a legitimate place in politics? The case for and against. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/does-rudeness-have-a-legitimate-place-in-politics-the-case-for-and-against-99420

Appearance on STV Aberdeen, North and Tayside (June, 2018). Financial pressure may lead to farmer risk taking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqBj2s-FQdM&feature=share 

Irwin, A. & Hamlet, O. (May, 2018). How situation awareness could save your life. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/how-situation-awareness-could-save-your-life-96032

Irwin, A. (April, 2018). Risky Business? Guest blog, Farm Safety Foundation. https://www.yellowwellies.org/risky-business/

Irwin, A. (March, 2018). That's just rude: Why being polite might not be a universal concept. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/thats-just-rude-why-being-polite-may-not-be-a-universal-concept-94187 

Irwin, A. (October, 2017). Non-technical skills in farming. Guest blog, Farm Safety Foundation. https://www.yellowwellies.org/guest-blog-dr-amy-irwin-school-of-psychology-university-of-aberdeen/


Industrial collaborations (both current and past)

  • Bristow helicopters
  • CHC helicopters
  • Forestry and Land Scotland
  • Sodexo
  • Farm Safety Foundation
  • Creed consultancy
  • Teagasc
  • VetLed
  • Mountain Assurance Ltd

Academic collaborations (current and past)

  • Dr Anita Weidmann (RGU)
  • Dr Joy Perkins (CAD)
  • Dr Ceri Trevethan (UoA)
  • Dr Heather Branigan (UoA)
  • Dr Oliver Hamlet (UoA)
  • Dr Ruby Roberts (RGU)
  • Prof Rhona Flin (UoA)
  • Dr Doug Martin (UoA)
  • Prof Amelia Hunt(UoA)
  • Prof Liz Mossop (University of Lincoln)
  • Dr Luiz Santos (University of Glasgow)



My current supervision areas are: Psychology.

I am currently first supervisor on four PhD projects, and second supervisor on one further project. Current areas of PhD supervision include:

  • Non-technical skills and factors influencing performance within forestry operations.
  • The impact of culture (national and professional) variation in aviation
  • Risk normalisation and cognitive bias in the energy industry
  • Situation awareness in agriculture
  • Non-technical skills in the veterinary context

Funding and Grants

PhD Studentships

  • 2021 ESRC SGSSS DTP Collaborative studentship award
    • Staying safe in the forest: Evaluating forestry worker non-technical skills and associated influencing factors.
    • First supervisor (second supervisor: Dr Ceri Trevethan, third supervisor: Prof Rhona Flin, industrial supervisor: Dr Jason Liggins)
    • Student: Sofia Johansson
  • 2020 Energy Institute PhD studentship award
    • Combating bias on the frontline: Investigating cognitive bias and risk normalisation within the energy industry
    • First supervisor (second supervisor: Dr Doug Martin, third supervisor: Dr Ruby Roberts)
    • Student: Nejc Sedlar
  • 2019 ESRC SGSSS DTP Collaborative Studentship award
    • Considering culture in the cockpit: Cultural influences on crew resource management.
    • First supervisor (second supervisor: Dr Devin Ray, third supervisor: Prof Rhona Flin)
    • Student: Anna Kaminska
  • 2017 ESRC SGSSS DTP Collaborative Studentship award (+3)
    • Its all about the mission: An assessment of factors influencing non-technical skills in offshore and emergency helicopter teams.
    • First supervisor (second supervisor: Prof Rhona Flin)
    • Student: Oliver Hamlet
  • 2016 ESRC SGSSS SDS Studentship award (1+3)
    • Mind the gap: An investigation into the factors influencing student, academic and employer perceptions of required graduate attributes.
    • Joint first supervisor with Dr Emily Nordmann (second supervisors: Dr Joy Perkins & Prof Louise Phillips)
    • Student: Gabi Lipan
  • 2014 ESRC SGSSS DTP Collaborative Studentship award (+3)
    • Product Safety Culture: A new variant of safety culture
    • Second supervisor (First supervisor: Prof Rhona Flin)
    • Student: Lucia Suhanyiova

Impact Grants

  • 2023 Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation grant:
    • Lead applicant (industrial collaborator: VetLed, Post-doc: Ilinca-Ruxandra Tone).
    • Funding to develop on incivility toolkit for veterinary practice.
  • 2022 Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation grant
    • Lead applicant (industrial collaborator: Forestry Land Scotland)
    • Funding to develop a behavioural change technique toolkit for Forestry Land Scotland.
  • 2022 Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation grant
    • Co-applicant (Lead applicant: Prof Amelia Hunt)
    • Funding to examine visual search patterns on helicopter landing approaches.
  • 2021 Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation grant
    • Lead applicant (co-investigator: Ilinca-Ruxandra Tone, Industrial collaborator: Kura Human Factors).
    • Funding to develop CRM-style training for farmers.
  • 2020 Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation grant
    • Lead applicant (co-investigator: Oliver Hamlet)
    • Funding to develop practical tools associated with non-technical skills in helicopter flight.
  • 2019 REF 2021 Impact Support Award
    • Lead investigator (Co-investigators: Oliver Hamlet, Ilinca Ruxandra-Tone, Gabi Lipan)
    • Funding to produce a Farm Safety Roadshow, attend Human Factors events and support three student internships.
  • 2018 ESRC Business Boost award
    • Lead investigator (Co-investigators: Oliver Hamlet, Ilinca Ruxandra-Tone, Gabi Lipan)
    • Funding to develop a website for the Applied Psychology and Human Factors group and produce three webinars.
  • 2017 Impact, Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Award
    • The Human Factor in Agriculture: Introducing non-technical skills (NTS) to UK Agriculture.
    • Lead Investigator (Co-investigator: Dr Emily Nordmann)
    • Funding provided to support NTS awareness event and the creation of a website

Teaching and Learning based grants

  • 2022 Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme
    • Steps to resilience
    • Co-investigator (Lead investigator: Dr Ceri Treventhan, Co-investigators: Dr Joy Perkins, Dr Heather Branigan)
  • 2021 Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme
    • Building student resilience through course development - moving from surviving to thriving
    • Lead investigator (Co-investigators: Dr Joy Perkins, Dr Heather Branigan, Dr Ceri Trevethan)
  • 2017 Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme
    • Telling tales: Using student narratives to aid transition
    • Co-investigator (Primary investigator: Dr Emily Nordmann)
    • Student: Aletta Boerkoel
  • 2015 Curriculum Development Studentship, University Aberdeen
    • Putting the 'I' in employability: Development of interactive class materials to enhance provision of L3 Psychology employability workshops
    • Lead Investigator
    • Student: Oliver Hamlet

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach on undergraduate, postgraduate and ondemand courses:

  • Level 3: Psychological Assessment Tutorials
  • Level 4: Human Factors 
  • Level 4: Thesis supervision
  • MRes: Public engagement 
  • MRes: Thesis Supervision
  • PhD Supervision
  • Human Factors in Industrial Practice online course
  • Safety Critical Skills in Industry online course
  • Organisational Culture and Conflict online course
  • Organisational Safety and Risk online course



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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications

Working Papers