Centre for Inflammation Research

Professor Steven Yule

I lead international innovations in surgical research, human factors and patient safety in order to contribute significantly to the betterment of society.

Professor Steven Yule

Chair of Behavioural Sciences

  • Centre for Inflammation Research

Contact details

Group Members

  • Dr Eilidh Gunn – PhD candidate in Surgical Coaching
  • Dr Fiona Kerry – Clinical Fellow in Digital Surgical Education and Human Factors (from August 2021)
  • Dr Mayaba Maimbo – MSc Student
  • Dr Domenica Coxon – eAcademic Facilitator
  • Dr Emma Howie - Clinical Research Fellow in Surgical Sabermetrics (from August 2021)

  • PhD candidate in Autonomous Clinical Guidance (from Sept 2021)


I am an academic psychologist with 20 years’ experience studying team performance and non-technical skills in high risk/high reliability industries (surgery, healthcare, energy, transportation, space exploration). I returned to Scotland in January 2020 after 8 years on faculty at Harvard Medical School.

Research Overview

The culture of healthcare is shifting to one that embraces non-technical skills as a central driver to make surgery a high reliability industry, reduce avoidable adverse events, and save lives. Our multidisciplinary research program provides a scientific platform for advances in behavioral sciences, non-technical skills, human factors and patient safety. Please email steven.yule@ed.ac.uk to inquire about current fellowships, research positions, faculty opportunities, and new ideas for collaboration in the following core areas:

Surgical Sabermetrics: These are advanced analytics of digitally recorded surgical training and operative procedures targeted at enhancing insight, supporting professional development, and optimising clinical and safety outcomes. Current research is implementing peer assessment, vision science, and smart checklists to objectively measure and improve the technical and non-technical practices that characterize surgical team behavior. Funded by National Institutes for Health R01HL146619 and R01HL126896.

Coaching: Peer coaching has substantial potential for lifelong learning in technical, non-technical and teaching skills for established surgeons. We developed the Surgical Coaching for Operative Performance Enhancement (SCOPE) program and have implemented it at four Harvard hospitals since 2018. Future directions include scalability, involving all operating theatre team members, and optimizing the use of video coaching.

Global Surgery: Resource level has a fundamental impact on team performance and non-technical skills, and with funding from Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Johnson & Johnson, we have been implementing a non-technical skills (NOTSS) curriculum in Rwanda and measuring barriers to implementing non-technical skills in clinical practice. Future work is to scale this program within sub-Saharan Africa, enhance faculty development and support, and develop digital tools for training, monitoring and evaluating impact.

Space Medicine: Long duration spaceflight is a fixed low medical resource setting. To support astronaut crews manage medical events in space, we have developed full scale simulations and behavioral training tools. Current work is developing mixed reality digital training and real time guidance for management of potential medical and surgical events in preparation for future deep space missions. These tools also have applications for telemedical support on earth. Funded by Translational Research Institute for Space Health and NASA 80JSC017N0001.

The following PDF provides a brief visual summary of this group’s current research.


You can view a full catalogue of graphical research summaries for each group in the Centre for Inflammation Research by visiting our Research page.

Visit CIR’s Research page

Other Responsibilities

  • Programme Director, MSc Patient Safety & Clinical Human Factors, Edinburgh Surgery Online
  • Director of Non-Technical Skills, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School