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 Paul Woolnough

Paul Woolnough

Cluster Lead/Senior Research Development Manager


 +44 (0) 1392 726204

 Hope Hall 


Hope Hall, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PL

 Office hours:



Paul is an experienced research and development professional, having been active in the university research management environment at four universities since 2004. Paul joined Exeter in 2010 and having been a Research Development Manager and Assistant College Manager for Research at University of Exeter Business School, he became Senior Research Development Manager and Cluster Lead for the Social Sciences in July 2017. Paul leads a talented and growing team of 16 expert team members homed within the Social Sciences Cluster.

Paul has an additional leadership role regionally as the non-executive Chair of the Torbay Culture Board (see External Responsibilities for more information) and also serves our professional body, the Association of Research Managers & Administrators (ARMA).


- Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management from University of Portsmouth Business School (2000)

- BA in Modern History, Economic History & Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London (1999)


Research interests

Paul has developed and overseen research activity with the social sciences community funded by the ESRC, AHRC, Nuffield Foundation and many others. He co-developed the proposal for the RCUK-funded Exeter Catalyst project with Professor Nick Talbot, Prof Katrina Wyatt and Dr Robin Durie in 2012-15 (£300,000 match-funded) to help further embed and grow the University's capacity and knowledge in engaging the public with research. Paul also led on the development of the University's business plan for our ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) in 2014 (initial £727,000). Paul believes strongly in the potential of engaged world class research to change the fortunes of communities (see External Responsibilities).

Successful projects have also been developed in the areas of the outdoors and wellbeing, medicalisation of social issues (http://destressproject.org.uk/), safer use of less and non-lethal weapons by the Police, re-contacting guidelines for patients with genetic conditions and the influence on security elites from public opinion on their decision-making.

External Engagement and Impact

Committee/panel activities

Paul has been Chair and a founder member of the Torbay Culture Board since 2015. The Board's core innovative activities have been supported by Arts Council England in order to create a step change in the Bay's socio-cultural and economic regeneration. These have included 'Test & Learn' interventions to help residents with multiple long-term health conditions through community singing and falls prevention. The NHS in Torbay was granted additional funding through the Health Foundation to extend our partnership in person-centred cultural interventions: https://www.health.org.uk/programmes/innovating-improvement/projects/person-centred-arts-and-culture-improve-wellbeing

Paul has brought considerable experience of; public engagement with research findings and design; proposal development; and his relationship management skills with community groups, public and health agencies, policy-makers and funding bodies.

The Board has worked with a diverse range of partners to generate over £2m into the Torbay economy. This has included our Great Place Scheme award 'Torbay; A Place to Feel Great' of £1.2m 2017-20, funded by HLF, Arts Council England and Historic England. We are helping re-connect residents with 22 miles of coastline, co-develop new business models for the Bay's unique and internationally-significant heritage attractions and expand the year-round cultural programme: http://www.torbaydevelopmentagency.co.uk/latest-news/2017/5/3/how-the-arts-could-make-torbay-a-great-place-a796

Paul has ensured evidence and engagement with research has been at the core of the Bay's socio-cultural regeneration. For example, we have worked with the University's Medical School on our and Torbay Public Health's Just Ask project to help improve male mental health in Torbay. Just Ask was featured on BBC Radio 4: https://healthwatchtorbay.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Just-Ask-The-Project-description.pdf

In addition to this, Paul is also working for the Association of Research Managers & Administrators (ARMA) to deliver the qualifications framework which is driving forward the skills and professionalism of research managers and administrators nationally and internationally.



Supervision / Group

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