Bérengère Digard (PhD, AFHEA)

Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • Patrick Wild Centre, Division of Psychiatry
  • Scottish Autism Research Group

Contact details

Address

Street

Patrick Wild Centre, Kennedy Tower
Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Place

City
Edinburgh
Post code
EH10 5HF
Street

Department of Psychology, 7 George Square

City
Edinburgh
Post code
EH8 9JZ

Background

I come from Lyon (France), where I got a BSc in Biology, specialised in Physiology and Genetic, a Master 1 in Integrative Biology, Physiology and Neurosciences, and a Master 2 in Research in Neurosciences. During the Master 2, I spent 5 months at the University of Cambridge on a research placement, where I studied the degenerescence patterns of subcortical structures in dementia, with Pr Michael Hornberger. It is after this placement that I decided to give academia a go!

I arrived in Edinburgh in September 2016 to start a PhD at the Patrick Wild Centre, researching how bilingualism changed the life, mind, and brain of autistic and neurotypical people. I completed my PhD during the infamous 2020 first lockdown.

I'm passionate about science communication and public engagement. I co-ordinated the Pint of Science festival in Lyon (2016) and Edinburgh (2017), and I worked as Engagment officer for the Patrick Wild Centre for a year after my PhD. I also take part in other science communication projects across the University.

 

In 2021 I have been awarded a 1-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the ESRC and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. I started this Fellowship on the 1st October 2021 in the Department of Psychology, where I will be continuing my reseach in autism and bilingualism under the mentorship of Dr Bonnie Auyeung and Prof Francesca Happé (King's College London).

(In a previous life, during my studies in Lyon, I worked in an underwear shop, Princesse tam.tam. )

Qualifications

Ph.D in Psychiatry (2016-2020), University of Edinburgh

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2019), Higher Education Academy

Master 2 by Research in Neurosciences (2014 - 2015), Université Claude Bernard de Lyon (France)

Master 1 in Integrative Biology, Physiology & Neurosciences (2013 - 2014), Université Claude Bernard de Lyon (France)

BSc in Biology (2010 - 2013), Université Claude Bernard de Lyon (France)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Scottish Autism Research Group Committee member

Undergraduate teaching

IMPORTANT: I have left my teaching role in the Department of Psychology, and as such I do not run Office Hours anymore. To schedule a meeting, please get in touch via email. 

 

Supervisor:

Psychology Mini-Dissertation (2022-current)

Psychology Dissertation (2022-current)  

Lecturer:

Biological Psychology (2021-2022, Queen Margaret University)

Child Development (2021-2022, University of Glasgow)

 

Past:

Psychology 1 (2022-2024, tutor)

Psychology 2 (2017-2024, tutor)

Psychology in Action (2023-2024, course organiser)

Psychology Tutorial Course (2022-2024, tutor)

Research & Evidence-Based Medicine (2020-2021, tutor)

Student Selected Component 2a (2019, tutor)

PPLS Writing Centre (2017-2020, tutor)

Child Bilingualism: Language & Cognition (2018)

Postgraduate teaching

Lecturer:

Neurodevelopmental Disorders (2021-2022)

 

Dissertations:

Ateka Tambawala, MSc in Psychology(2023-current)

Ella Verduyn, MSc in Psychology(2023-current)

Thomas Dale, MSc in Individual Differences (2022-2023)

Ellie Johnson, SSC5a project, MBChB (2021-2022). Co-supervisor: Rachael Davis.

Hanlin Wong, SSC5a project, MBChB (2021-2022). Co-supervisor: Rachael Davis.

Zsofia Blair, SSC5a project, MBChB (2020-2021).

Li Wang, MSc in Education CAP (2019). Co-supervisor: Gale MacLeod.

Kathryn Nolte, MSc in Developmental Linguistics (2018).

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

No

Current PhD students supervised

Psychology Mini-Dissertation (2022-current)

Psychology Dissertation (2022-current)

Ateka Tambawala, MSc in Psychology(2023-current)

Ella Verduyn, MSc in Psychology(2023-current)

Past PhD students supervised

Kiera Schul, Psychology Dissertation (2022-2023)

Thomas Dale, MSc in Individual Differences (2022-2023)

Ellie Johnson, SSC5a project, MBChB (2021-2022). Co-supervisor: Rachael Davis.

Hanlin Wong, SSC5a project, MBChB (2021-2022). Co-supervisor: Rachael Davis.

Zsofia Blair, SSC5a project, MBChB (2020-2021).

Li Wang, MSc in Education CAP (2019). Co-supervisor: Gale MacLeod.

Kathryn Nolte, MSc in Developmental Linguistics (2018).

Research summary

My research focuses on the link between bilingualism and a socio-cognitive process called perspective-taking, in neurotypical and autistic adults.

In 2021 I was awarded a 1-year ESRC Early-Career Fellowship administered by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences. During my fellowship (Oct 2021-Sept 2022) I continued the research started during my PhD, set up new collaborative projects, and expanded the impact-related outputs of my research.

In my previous role as Senior Teaching Coordinator (Sep 2022 - Mar  2024) I supervised 3rd and 4th year BSc and MSc student projects on the topic of autism and/or bilingualism. I am also interested in neurodiversity in general and neurocognitive conditions, and as such I am also supervising an MSc dissertation on Boderline Personality Disorders.

You can visit my Research page here: https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/en/persons/berengere-digard, and my ORCiD page here: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6275-5300.

Current research interests

My current research project with PI Professor Adam Zeman focuses on the cognitive profiles and lived experiences of people with aphantasia or hyperphantasia.

Past research interests

Thesis title: Bilingualism in autism: A neurocognitive investigation of the influence of bilingualism on perspective-taking in autistic adults. PhD Supervisors: Prof Sue Fletcher-Watson, Dr Andrew Stanfield, Prof Antonella Sorace. Fellowship mentors: Dr Bonnie Auyeung and Prof Francesca Happé (King's College London). You can read more about this here: http://dart.ed.ac.uk/research/berengere/ and https://patrickwildcentre.com/autism-bilingualism-and-cognition-mind/

Knowledge exchange

I am passionate about science communication, knowledge exchange, and co-produced projects. I have worked for 1 year as the Engagement Office of the Patrick Wild Centre, and I have also completed several communication-related projects for the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre. I am keen to get involved in knowledge exchange projects of any kind, for example I was city-coordinators for the Pint of Science festival for 2 years, and more recently I was also invited to give a talk at the festival.

My colleague Dr Rachael Davis (Queen Margaret University) and I have developed a battery of resources on the topic of bilingualism and autism, that are listed below:

I also produced a few knowledge exchange outputs independently:

 

If you have questions about the resources listed above, or if you would like to collaborate developing new outputs,  please do feel free to get in touch with me.

Research activities

View all 13 activities on Research Explorer

Project activity

ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship:

During this fellowship I will focus on 

- publishing my PhD research

- communicating and expanding the impact of my PhD research

- acquiring additional skills

- developping new funding proposals

Current project grants

ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship - Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

View all 19 publications on Research Explorer