Dr Amy Irwin

Dr Amy Irwin
Dr Amy Irwin
Dr Amy Irwin

MA, MPhil, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 273003
Office Address

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

School of Psychology


  • 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 group.
  • Education committee.
  • Research steering group.

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
  • Ondemand Organisational safety and risk co-ordinator.
  • Psychology impact 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 awareness, 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
    • Fishing
    • 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.
  • Risk normalisation and cognitive bias in high-risk industrial and sport settings:
    • Normalisation of deviance (shortcuts and workarounds) within the energy industry.
    • Habituation to risk in extreme sport settings.
    • Risk normalisation in high risk workplace settings e.g. farming, fishing.



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
  • Being Human Consulting 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 three 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
  • Non-technical skills in the veterinary context

Funding and Grants

Research grants

  • 2023 Trinity House maritime grant
    • Safety at sea: exploring the safety critical skills used by commercial fishermen.

PhD Studentships

  • 2024 ESRC SGSSS DTP Collaborative studentship award
    • Is double checking twice as safe? Investigating peer checking with the nuclear industry.
    • First supervisor (Second supervisor: Dr Oliver Hamlet, Third supervisor: Prof Amelia Hunt).
  • 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

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