Tom Thompson

Academic profile

Dr Tom Thompson

Senior Research Fellow
Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Tom's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 03: SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-beingGoal 10: SDG 10 - Reduced InequalitiesGoal 12: SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and ProductionGoal 16: SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

About Tom

I am a Senior Research Fellow within the Community and Primary care Research group in the Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health). I am also currently serving as an advisor for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service, offering specialist advice in the areas of research methodology, complex interventions, behaviour change, grantsmanship, and health inequalities.
I began my career in academia as the trial manager for the NIHR HTA funded research project EARS (Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop smoking). This project, aimed at supporting those from disadvantaged communities with an adapted Health Trainer role, brought all my interests together in one role within the rigorous setting of a pilot randomised controlled trial. It was during this time, under the tutelage of Professor Adrian Taylor, that I completed my PhD.

I am now involved in several successful grants covering various aspects of addiction and health behaviour research.
I was the Principal Investigator on an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit grant conducting a systematic review with stakeholder engagement of physical activity and alcohol and substance use disorders. I am now working towards original research in this area, to look at physical activity (in all forms) as a way to support reduction, overcome addiction, and prevent relapse associated with drug and alcohol use.
I was a Co-Applicant and Intervention Lead on an NIHR Public Health Research grant examining a Health Trainer led intervention for improving the physical health and mental wellbeing of those under community supervision (The STRENGTHEN project). The pilot phase has been successfully delivered, with good engagement levels, across two sites, one in the Southwest and one in the Northeast. I am now working at furthering this research area seeking funding for programme of work as co-Chief Investigator to examine the role of health and wellbeing interventions within the recently restructured Criminal Justice System.
I was a Co-Applicant and Intervention lead on an NIHR HTA funded definitive trial examining a Health Trainer led intervention to support increases in physical activity and smoking reduction among those not initially willing to quit (TARS). The trial was successfully delivered across four sites (Plymouth, London, Oxford, and Nottingham), and my main role was training and supervising the Health Trainers across all sites. The main findings are in preparation for publication.
I am currently a co-applicant on a fellowship (Dr Leah Jayes, Nottingham University) with Cancer Research UK. It will examine the impact on smoking of smoke free legislation in prisons, and how best to maintain smoking abstinence post release. 

I am leading a three year evaluation for Exeter Drugs Project of a program called 'Flourish in Nature' which is a volunteer/mentor training programme aimed at helping people struggling with addiction to engage in outdoor activities. Currently exploring future options for continuation of this project and associated rigorous research.
I am a co-applicant on a Torbay Medical Research Foundation funded feasibility trial, exploring the feasibility of a peer coaching intervention for those with long term conditions (chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis).
I have also recently been involved in work for the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise developing a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of complex inequalities (individual, group, and system) in oral health.
I am a guest editor for a virtual special issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity focussed on extending the evidence for the role of physical activity in preventing, reducing, and treating addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
I am also a member of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction group, and co-author the systematic review on Motivational Interviewing for Smoking Cessation.
I also serve as the co-lead for the developing and evaluating complex interventions (DECI) group within the University.
I currently supervise one PhD student examining fidelity of complex interventions using the five domains of fidelity (Design, Training, Delivery, Receipt, and Enactment) as outlined by the Behaviour Change Consortium.


I currently serve as an Academic Tutor to students on the BMBS in the Medical School.

Contact Tom

N9, ITTC, Plymouth Science Park, Davy Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BX
+44 7976 416473