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Stephanie Smits

Dr Stephanie Smits

Research Fellow

School of Medicine

+44 29206 87156
Neuadd Meirionnydd, Room 6th Floor, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS


I am a Health and Care Research Wales Research Fellow. In October 2018 I started my fellowship which allows me to continue my important research in bowel screening. During the fellowship I will apply my behavioural science expertise to explore what bowel cancer screening is like for people with multi-morbidity.

Through my position I play a leading role in developing a behavioural science research programme in screening, prevention and early diagnosis. In this post I contribute to the overall research record of the School and University, carrying out research leading to publications in high quality academic journals, pursuing excellence in research and inspiring others to do the same.














My research experience is in the area of behavioural science in the context of cancer early diagnosis.I have developed knowledge in areas such as cancer awareness, behaviour change, psychological theory and engaging hard to reach groups in research. I have experience in both quantitative and qualitative methods.

The work conducted during my PhD focused on early diagnosis of ovarian cancer in the absence of routine screening for women at high risk. During my PhD, I developed skills in systematic searches, critical appraisal, questionnaire design, advanced statistical analysis methods, interview methods,user testing, and intervention development.

As a Research Associate on the NAEDI funded ABACus (Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer) project I enhanced my qualitative skilles by conducting focus groups and cognitive testing interviews. This project involved raising awareness of common cancer symptoms in deprived communities and afforded me further experience of behavioural science, in particular behaviour change methodology. Specifically, this project developed my understanding and provided practical experience of applying the Behaviour Change Wheel to aid intervention development.

My previous role as a Research Associate in the Primary and Emergency Care Research Centre for Wales (PRIME) and Wales Cancer Research Centre (WCRC) centres focused on consolidating research and building capacity in the area of screening, prevention and early diagnosis.


  • PhD: "Development of an ovarian cancer symptom awareness tool with tailored content for women at increased genetic risk of developing ovarian cancer". Cardiff University, 2014.
  • BSc Psychology (Class 2.1), Cardiff University, 2011.

Honours and awards

  • Identified as Future Leader in Cancer Research (FLiCR)
  • Early career researcher bursary to attend Cancer Research UK, Early Diagnosis Initiative conference (2017)
  • Early career researcher bursary to attend 3rd National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) conference (2015)
  • Awarded a place and travel grant to attend NAEDI complex intervention methodology workshop (2014)

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol): Chartered Member of British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology

  • Graduate member of UK Society of Behavioural Medicine

Academic positions

October 2015-2018: Primary and Emergency Care Research Centre for Wales (PRIME) and Wales Cancer Research Centre (WCRC) Research Associate

October 2014-October 2015: Research Associate, Cardiff University. Worked on the ABACus (Awareness and Beliefs About Cancer) project which involved the development and evaluation of a targeted cancer awareness intervention for people from deprived communities in Wales.