Searle, Beverley


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Personal profile


My main research interest is in subjective wellbeing. In particular, positive wellbeing rather than a focus on negative aspects of mental ill-health.  Wellbeing may be considered as an outcome (how events/circumstances impact wellbeing) or as a precursor (how wellbeing impacts ability to function in society or care for the environment).  Wellbeing can also be considered as an alternative narrative in the drive towards sustainable futures. This interest is motivated by questioning and challenging dominant ideas and social norms about what contributes to human and planetary wellbeing.  This has been explored through a critical analysis of asset-based welfare and the implications for intergenerational justice; sustainability and community resilience; and the transformational changes needed to address global environmental challenges.  My approach to research is interdisciplinary, cutting across geography and environment, education, psychology, social policy, sociology and economics.  I have equal interest in both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Key Research Areas

  • Understanding the role of wellbeing in individual decisions, motivations and behaviours.
  • Developing a greater understanding of the links between wellbeing, behaviour, and nature.
  • Exploring wellbeing as a system and narrative of transformational change.

PhD Candidates

I can support PhD research in both quantitative and qualitative methods.  I would welcome applications to do postgraduate research on the following topics:

  • Subjective wellbeing as a precursor to attitudes/behaviour
  • Subjective wellbeing benefits of nature/environmental connection
  • Subjective wellbeing and transformation (ie fundamentally changing what we think, what we do, and how we do it in order to move towards more sustainable, regenerative, futures).  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development 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. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Understanding Subjective Well-being: A study of British adults age 25 years and over, University of York

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

Bachelor of Arts, University of York

Award Date: 1 Jan 2001

External positions


1 Jun 2020 → …

External Examiner, University of Nottingham

3 Feb 2020 → …

Wellbeing Advisor

1 Feb 2020 → …

Steering Group Member

Sept 2018 → …

Pathway Lead

May 2018 → …

Executive Committee Member

1 Jul 2017 → …


Jul 2017 → …

External Examiner, Glasgow Caledonian University

Apr 2017Oct 2020

Peer Reviewer, Economic and Social Research Council, UK

1 Sept 2009 → …


  • G Geography (General)
  • subjective wellbeing
  • environmental attitudes
  • transformation


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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