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Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research interests

Tracey’s areas of interest lie in the evaluation and application of complex interventions to improve family wellbeing such as parent, child, and school programmes. In addition to outcomes or clinical effectiveness of these interventions, she is interested in process, implementation and fidelity, as well as cost effectiveness of such interventions.



  • An independent evaluation of the Plymouth Parent Partnership: Supporting Parents On Kids Education in School (SPOKES) programme. This is a two-group randomised controlled trial (RCT) of Year 1 children, to assess the effects of SPOKES on children’s literacy and behaviour. Funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (2012-2015).
  • Tailoring interventions to populations: Supporting the provision of evidence-based parenting programmes. A project funded by National Institute for Health Research, as part of Yorkshire and Humber’s CLAHRC portfolio of works (2013-2015).
  • The development, implementation and evaluation of complex early intervention health and social services for vulnerable families and children in Ireland. Funded by Collaborative Applied Research Grants in Population Health and Health Service Research, HRB, Ireland (2014-2019).
  • Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub has three themes to support families of children up to age three, 1. Social emotional well-being, 2. Nutrition, 3. Language. Dr Bywater is leading on the social emotional well-being theme. The Hub was funded as part of the £50m Big Lottery Fulfilling Lives: Better Start programme awarded to Bradford Trident.
  • Enhancing Social Emotional Wellbeing in the Early Years (E-SEE). The E-SEE trial is a multi-disciplinary evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of Incredible Years (IY) Parent Programmes for 0-2 year-olds. This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research (NIHR PHR) Programme (project number 13/93/10). The four-year project led by the Department of Health Sciences at York, with colleagues from the University’s Departments of Institute for Effective Education (IEE), Social Work and Social Policy and Centre for Health Economics, is backed by a £1.85 million grant from the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). The study includes co-investigators from the universities of Plymouth, Central Lancashire, Sheffield, and Maynooth. Initial partners include Action for Children, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
  • Co-Production of Policing Evidence, Research and Training: Focus Mental Health aims to find better ways of dealing with mental health issues through increased collaboration, the identification of ‘what works’, the production and sharing of research information, and improved and more systematic training.

Research group(s)


Tracey is able to supervise PhD projects in child behaviour – conduct problems and social and emotional competence; parent, teacher and child cognitive/behavioural interventions; outcomes and process effects; implementation fidelity.

Employment History

Tracey Bywater is Professor of Family Wellbeing in the Dept of Health Sciences, University of York. Prior to coming to the University of York in 2011 Tracey worked in the Psychology Department at Bangor University, Wales, where she was awarded her PhD in Psychology in 2005. Tracey was seconded to the Social Research Unit, Dartington 2007-2009, where she led on three randomised controlled trials as part of Birmingham’s Brighter Future’s Initiative.

Tracey is an Honorary Professor at the School of Psychology, Bangor University, and is also Chair of the Board of Trustees for the charity the Children's Early Intervention Trust, and a Trustee for UK Implementation Society.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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