A Sheffield Hallam University behavioural science professor whose research has supported the response to Covid-19 has been conferred as a fellow of the prestigious Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor of Health Psychology, Madelynne Arden, is one of 37 leading social scientists who have received the award for the excellence and impact of their work and their wider contributions to the social sciences for public benefit.

Professor Arden, who is Director of the University’s Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology, has conducted numerous pieces of work and research to support the public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the last year, she has led work for the British Psychological Society Covid-19 disease prevention and behavioural science taskforce on integrating behavioural science into the Covid test and trace app and support for self-isolation. She is currently working on two studies on vaccine hesitancy, that will result in recommendations on how to overcome barriers to uptake in different populations.

Professor Arden has also worked with Sheffield City Council to support their public messaging and encourage people to adhere to lockdown restrictions.

On receiving the fellowship Professor Arden said: “I feel very honoured to have been conferred the award of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

“I feel particularly privileged to receive this award in 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of behavioural and social science research and health psychology practice to inform our response to the crisis in terms of prevention, understanding the impact on our lives and behaviours, and supporting our longer-term recovery.”

Professor Arden was nominated by colleagues from the British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology (DHP) and the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network (BSPHN) for her contribution to health psychology and behavioural science research and leadership.

The Academy’s Fellowship is made up of distinguished individuals from academic, public and private sectors, across the full breadth of the social sciences.

Through leadership, scholarship, applied research, policymaking and practice, they have helped to deepen the understanding of, and address, some of the toughest challenges facing our society and the world.

Professor Roger Goodman, President of the Academy of Social Sciences, said: “We are delighted to welcome 37 talented fellows to the Academy this Spring. Our new Fellows have been selected for the excellence of their research, impact, thought leadership, and the practical application of social science to real world problems.

“I congratulate them all and look forward to collaborating with them in promoting high quality social science in the UK and across the world.”