smiling people in a meadow holding yoga poses

Centre for Improvement of Health and Wellbeing

Centre for Improvement of Health and Wellbeing

Welcome to the Centre for Improvement of Health and Wellbeing (CIHW).

CIHW brings together a wide range of multidisciplinary researchers, especially in the fields of psychology, sport and physical activity, health, and social care. Our centre is dedicated to applied, impactful research, which benefits industry and the local and regional communities.

Featured Project

The role of the human-horse relationship on performance and welfare outcomes in equestrian sport and activities.

Lauren Tufton’s highly original and potentially very significant research aims to extend our understanding of the human-horse relationship for improved performances in equestrian sport and also for the wellbeing of the horse. The majority of existing literature in equitation science focuses on learning theory and a behavioural approach to working with horses, whereas Lauren’s research explores the influence of all of the relational constructs (feelings, thoughts, and behaviours), which underpin our interactions with the horse. Lauren has explored how elite riders understand their relationships with the horse and the importance that they place on it and she is now researching the coach’s role in developing human-horse relationships, aiming to provide a working framework for use in equestrian sport.

profile of a horse photographed by Lauren Tufton

Publications relating the project:

Tufton, L. R., & Jowett, S. (2021). The elusive “feel”: exploring the quality of the rider–horse relationship. Anthrozoös34(2), 233-250.

Tufton, L. R., Kentzer, N., & Kingsley, B. E. (2023). The Human–Horse Relationship: Human Direct and Meta Perceptions of Its Importance for Performance and Welfare in Equestrian Sport. Anthrozoös, 1-18.

For more information about this project, please contact Lauren Tufton ( 

Research Groups

The Centre for Improvement of Health and Wellbeing (CIHW) is comprised of four primary research groups whose remit is to develop a sustainable thread of impactful research, which is driven by the end-user to provide real-world benefits for industry and the community. Click on the links for more information about each research group, including their members, contact details, current and past projects, and list of research outputs.

sunflowers and sunlight in a meadow
Centre for Positive Psychology
glass of whiskey, ashtray, cigarettes, pills and drug paraphernalia on a table
Drug and Alcohol Research Group
A student on a treadmill whilst two Sports Therapy students monitor his heart rate
Sports Coaching and Performance Research Group
Three women from the BNU football team celebrating on the football pitch, wearing their red and blue kit
Women in Sport Research Group
Students sat around a table
Neurodiversity Research Group
Nursing and Midwifery simulation suites
Clinical Healthcare Practice Research Group

PhD Opportunities

CIHW welcomes applications from PhD candidates with an interest in carrying out original research, which reflects the mission and values of any of its Research Groups. Fee waivers or Vice Chancellor’s Studentships may be available for exceptional projects that have the potential to enhance the reputation of CIHW and its Research Groups and to make significant contributions to industry or the community.

For more information about postgraduate study at BNU, including the Vice Chancellor’s Studentships and the application process, visit our Graduate School page.

Contact Us

For more information about the Centre for Improvement of Health and Wellbeing, please contact Dr Ben Clayton (