Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

  • Food and eating practices
  • Public health nutrition / malnutrition / obesity
  • Children, young people, families, older people 
  • Social inequalities

Teaching specialisms

  • Social science approaches / theories
  • Qualitative and visual research methods
  • Mixed methods
  • Survey design

Commercial and public engagement

Wendy is committed to engaging with a range of research users - from members of the general public, charities and third sector organisations plus local and national NHS and Local Authority Stakeholders, to ensure that research reaches those who can use it to help improve the health and care of the public.  

Wendy’s research contributed to a 3-4* ‘World-Leading’ impact case study for REF 2021, outlining the importance of her research for non-academic stakeholders in relation to food and public health Food and eating across the life-course



Professor Wendy Wills is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Hertfordshire. She takes overall leadership for the strategic delivery of research and research degrees as well as overseeing Business, Enterprise and Innovation. She was previously the Director of the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC) and an Associate Dean (Research) for the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire.

Wendy became the Director of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) for the East of England in October 2022, having previously led their Prevention and Early Detection in Health and Social Care (PEDHSC) theme.

Wendy's own research focuses on the socio-economic determinants of health and wellbeing particularly in relation to obesity, food practices and malnutrition; she has a particular interest in how inequalities are experienced by different population groups.

Wendy has directed many major research grants, including for the NIHR, ESRC and Food Standards Agency. Wendy was previously joint Chief Investigator for an NIHR Public Health Intervention Response Studies Team (PHIRST), which aims to co-produce research and evaluation for local authorities across the UK.


LinkedIn profile


Links to websites, films and an educational board game relating to Wendy’s research and public engagement activities:

https://youtu.be/aCFN0xEMcjg - launched during the UK's first Malnutrition Awareness week this film shows the importance of social interactions when food shopping

http://www.foodinlaterlifegame.co.uk/- this board game was developed with a UH proof of concept grant in collaboration with Focus Games; it is aimed at training people/groups who support older people to remain nourished and well.  



Education/Academic qualification

PhD, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Award Date: 1 Apr 2003

External positions

Director, NIHR - Applied Research Collaboration - East of England (ARC-EoE)

1 Oct 2022 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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