Staff profile

Dr Ruth Sims

Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Ergonomics

 Ruth Simms with laptop


Ergonomics, Psychology


College of Science and Engineering


School of Psychology, University of Derby Online Learning

Research centre

Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



In my previous role I worked on a succession of projects including:

  • collection of physical/capability data from older/disabled people with relation to activities of daily life and public transport usage;
  • kitchen usage through the life course and the place of the kitchen in daily life;
  • co-design to develop innovative solutions to reducing single-occupancy car travel;
  • user considerations in the design of a toilet for developing countries;
  • transferability of European road safety measures to emerging economies;
  • assessment of comfort in wheelchair, airline and car seating, and vacuum cleaner manoeuvrability.

I have extensive experience of data collection trials (design, recruitment, implementation, data input and analysis) as well as literature review, interview and questionnaire development, implementation, data input and analysis, particularly with older/disabled people and design professionals. I have significant experience of working in a consortium and in teams globally, presenting findings to industry, the public and academia both throughout the UK and also in India and Brazil.  I have been an invited keynote speaker at ErgoDesign 2012 held in Natal, Brazil.

I am currently focussed on my teaching, including module and programme development, accreditation and validation. I have recently conducted research into reduction of musculoskeletal disorders through postural behaviour change, and currently working on a project involving behaviour change of train drivers.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, member of the British Psychological Society, and am a Chartered Ergonomist and Human Factors Specialist.

Teaching responsibilities

In my research post I developed materials and taught aspects of psychology and inclusive design to design students, and research methods to postgraduate students. I also developed, wrote and ran a 20-credit module on psychology for ergonomics students.

In my current role I have previously been Acting programme lead for the MSc Ergonomics (online) programme and currently teach on undergraduate Psychology (on campus), Masters Behaviour Change (blended learning) and Masters Ergonomics (online) programmes. I am currently the pathway lead for the MSc Behaviour Change Ergonomics and Human Factors pathway (accredited with the CIEHF).

I am module leader on:

  • Level 4 Introduction to Social and Cognitive Psychology (also run through MED College in Greece)
  • MSc Behaviour Change Research Project
  • Level 7 Ergonomics and Human Factors (Behaviour Change)
  • Level 7 Psychology and Human Performance (Ergonomics)
  • Level 7 Ergonomics and Design (Ergonomics)

I also teach Level 4 Developmental Psychology, and Level 4 Qualitative Psychology, and contribute to various MSc Behaviour Change modules. I supervise independent project students at all levels and on all programmes that I contribute to. I am a PhD supervisor.


Research interests

  • Ageing
  • Disability
  • Design ergonomics
  • Behaviour change
  • Social inclusion
  • Mutual grooming

Membership of professional bodies

  • Chartered Registered Member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • Graduate member of the British Psychological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Undergraduate qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Exeter, 2:1 (1998)

Postgraduate qualifications

  • MSc Ergonomics, Loughborough University, pass (1999)

Research qualifications

  • PhD ‘Design for All: methods and data to support designers’, Loughborough University (2003)

Other qualifications

  • Institute of Leadership and Management Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team Skills
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Early Years Practice (Open University)
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Health and Social Care (Open University)

Recent conferences

Presented on behaviour change to reduce musculoskeletal disorders at Measuring Behavior, Manchester 6-8th June 2018.

On the organising committee of UCD (User Centred Design) conference 2012-2015.

On the organising committee of Ergonomics and Human Factors, the annual conference for the CIEHF, 2014-2017. On the editorial board for the Proceedings of the conference 2016-2017.

Experience in industry

  • Loughborough University - Research Associate (October 1999 - March 2013)

Recent publications

Journal papers

  • Underwood, D. & Sims, R. (2019) Do office workers adjust their chairs? End-user knowledge, use and barriers to chair adjustment, Applied Ergonomics, 77, pp100-106
  • Marshall, R., Summerskill, S., Case, K., Hussain, A., Gyi, D.E., Sims, R., Morris, A. & Barnes, J. (2016) Supporting a design driven approach to social inclusion and accessibility in transport, Social Inclusion, 4(3).
  • Sims, R.E., Marshall, R., Summerskill, S.J. Gyi, D.E., and Case, K., “Involving older and disabled people in assessment of product, environment and service design”, Journal of Human Development, Disability and Social Change19(3), 2011
  • Sims, R. E., Maguire, M. C., Nicolle, C., Marshall, R., Lawton, C., Peace, S., and Percival, J., “Older peoples’ experiences of their kitchens: 2000 to 2010”, Housing, Care and Support, 15(1), April 2012, pp6-15
  • Sims, R.E., Marshall, R., Gyi, D.E., Summerskill, S.J. and Case, K.“Collection of anthropometry from older and physically impaired persons: traditional methods versus TC2 3-D body scanner”, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 42 (1), January 2012, pp65-72

Peer-reviewed conference papers 

  • Ferrarini, C., Eriksson, E., Montanari, R. & Sims, R. (2013) The DEVICE project: Development of educational programs with a specific focus on design for children, 12th International Conference on Interaction Design & Children, New York
  • Quigley, C., Sims, R., Hill, J., Tripodi, A., Persia, L., Pietrantonio, H. and Kharat, M., “Transport Planning Guidelines for Vulnerable Road User Safety in Emerging Economies”, Proceedings of Transport Research Arena – Europe 2012 conference, Athens, April 2012
  • Sims, R.E., Marshall, R., Maguire, M.C., Nicolle, C.A., Lawton, C., Pearce, S. and Percival, J., “Design of kitchens for independence: lessons from history for the future'', Contemporary Ergonomics 2012, Anderson,M. (Ed), Taylor & Francis, Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors: Proceedings of the International Conference on Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors, 16-19 April 2012, Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, UK., 2012, p39-46
  • Sims, R.E., Marshall, R., Maguire, M.C., Nicolle, C.A., Lawton, C., Pearce, S. and Percival, J., ''Older people's experiences of their kitchens: dishes and wishes'', Contemporary Ergonomics 2011, Anderson,M. (Ed), Taylor & Francis, Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors: Proceedings of the International Conference on Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors, 12-14, April 2011, Stoke Rochford Hall, Lincolnshire, UK., 2011, p387-393, ISBN-13: 978-0415675734


Two women sitting opposite each other on a settee having a conversation

Ruth Sims, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby, gives parents and carers some advice on how to navigate results day, especially if things don't go exactly as your child planned.

Ruth Sims, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby, looks at the psychology behind the Game of Thrones phenomenom.