Liam Hill

Teaching Fellow in Developmental Psychology

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Institute for Education, Community and Society

Contact details



Moray House School of Education and Sport
St John's Land
University of Edinburgh (Holyrood Campus)

Post code


Dr Liam Hill is a Teaching Fellow in Developmental Psychology at Moray House School of Education and Sport. He has taught in Higher Education for over a decade, specialising in cognitive and motor development, neurodiversity, longitudinal birth cohort research, and quantitative research methods. Liam is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Prior to moving to Edinburgh, in 2024, he was a Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Leeds (2014-23).

Following an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters in Public Health, Liam undertook an MRC funded PhD in Child Health at the University of Aberdeen, researching the effects of physically active movement breaks on primary school pupil's cognition in the classroom. With further support from the MRC and The Waterloo Foundation, his postdoctoral research branched out into studying motor skill development within childhood, with this work evolving in two directions:

  1. Liam specialises in working with Education specialists, Occupational Therapists, and Physiotherapists on the co-design and evaluation of school-based programs that aim to help teachers:

    • Track and monitor children's motor skill development more accurately.
    • Support learning of these fundamental skills.
    • Enhance support for those individuals who find learning coordination skills particularly challenging. 
  1. In 2012, Liam also began collaborating closely with the Born in Bradford Longitudinal Birth Cohort (, coordinating repeated assessments of participants' fine motor skills during childhood (see Shire et al., 2020; Hill et al., 2021). His involvement with the cohort further broadened his research interests too. For example, enabling him to work with colleagues on studies of the effects of pre-term birth on School Readiness (Pettinger et al., 2019) and later attainment (Copper et al., 2023).



BSc (Hons) Psychology (2006), University of Aberdeen

MSC Health Services and Public Health Research (2008), University of Aberdeen

PhD Child Health (2012), University of Aberdeen

Responsibilities & affiliations

Centre for Applied Education Research (

Undergraduate teaching

I contribute to the following modules:

  • Cognitive and Social Child Development in Education

Postgraduate teaching

I contribute to the following modules:

  • Children and Young People 1 
  • Conceptualising research: Foundations, assumptions and praxis
  • Psychology of Learning and Teaching
  • Teacher Literacies 
  • Dissertation Supervision (MSc Education)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Past PhD students supervised

Megan Wood (2018-21), Title:  Exploring sociodemographic influences upon sensorimotor control across childhood using kinematic analyses (Lead-supervised) - ESRC funded.*

Lucy Eddy (2018-21), Title: Developing a school-based universal screening tool to identify deficits in fundamental movement skills in children aged 5-11 years (Lead-supervised) - ESRC funded.*

Joyti Panesar (2016-20), Title: The association between genotype and cognitive, motor and behavioural phenotype in children with Copy Number Variant disorders (Co-supervised) -  Bradford Institute of Health Research Funded.*

Katy Shire (2013-16) Title: Motor coordination in children: determinant, screening and intervention (Co-supervised) - Bradford Institute of Health Research Funded.*

*Supervised whilst Dr Hill was a Lecturer at the University of Leeds 

Research summary

Liam’s research seeks to advance our understanding of what can be done within Educational practice to best support children’s cognitive and motor development, and thus learning. He has a particular interest in how these aspects of psychological development interact with other life circumstances (e.g. Premature Birth, Neurodivergence) and how this influences children’s mental health, wellbeing and capacity to flourish. 

Specific Research Topics of interest:

  • Studying neurodiversity in sensorimotor development and exploring ways of removing barriers and enhancing support for neurodivergent individuals who experience particular challenges in their motor skill development.
  • Investigating the relationship between physical and cognitive health in childhood, particularly with respect to role of physical activity and movement within the learning.
  • Improving understanding of the factors that contribute to educational inequality (e.g. premature birth) and evaluating methods of addressing these within education practice and policy.

Methodological Expertise:

I have specific expertise and interest in both experimental and observational quantitative research methods and their applications to studying childhood development. For example, I have a background in: 

  • Longitudinal birth cohort studies.
  • Developing ecological valid assessments for use in community settings.
  • Evaluating school-based educational interventions using Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs).

View Liam's publications here: Hill, Liam J.B. - Author details - Scopus

Knowledge exchange

Project activity

Liam has considerable experience of coordinating and contributing to the delivery of large-scale, education-based, quantitative research studies.

This  includes, both regional and national Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) evaluations of teacher-led educational interventions. Since 2012, Liam has also worked with a large longitudinal birth cohort study (Born in Bradford, One of his key contributions to the cohort has been to help organise the repeated assessment of consenting participant's cognitive and motor skills throughout primary school and into early secondary education.   

In total, since obtaining his PhD, Liam has been involved in 15 successful applications for research funding, as either a PI or Co-I (Total Value: £3.966m + 7 PhD Scholarships). This has included winning support from the following organisations for his research: The Medical Research Council (MRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF), and The Waterloo Foundation.

Past project grants

2020-23. The Waterloo Foundation (£62,000). Investigating the effects of Movement Breaks and Active Learning on attention, behaviour, and learning in the classroom.

2018. University of Leeds: Researcher Mobility Award (£3,000). Exploring sensorimotor development's relationship with childhood psychopathology.
2012-13. MRC Centenary Early Career Award (£51,000). Intervening to support Physical Activity and Motoric Development in Childhood.

2018-19. NIHR: Research Capability Funding (£85,000). Developing a research infrastructure for studying linked health and education data.

2018-19. The Education Endowment Foundation (£350,000). A RCT to examine the impact of a motor skill intervention on educational attainment.

2014. The Waterloo Foundation (£47,000). Paying attention to attention in co-occurring neuro-developmental disorders.

2023-26. ESRC Whiterose Doctoral Training Partnership Pathway Award. (1x PhD Scholarship). Improving Support for Children’s Fundamental Movement Skill Development in the Early Years. In collaboration with Lucy Eddy (University of Bradford) and Lucy Taylor (University of Leeds)

2020-23. Whiterose University Consortium Studentship Network (3x PhD Scholarships). Listen and Learn: A studentship network for innovative involvement in early years prevention research. In collaboration with Kate Pickett, Kirsty Pringle, Cheti Nicoletti (all University of York), Amy Barnes (University of Sheffield), Rosie McEachan and Sally Bridge (both Bradford Institute of Health Research).

2017-21 ESRC Whiterose Doctoral Training Partnership Pathway Award. (1x PhD Scholarship). The impact of socio-economic factors on psychological development and child mental health. In collaboration with Amanda Daniel Bingham (University of Bradford) and Mark Mon-Williams (University of Leeds).

2017-21. ESRC Whiterose Doctoral Training Partnership Network Award (3x PhD Scholarships). Inequalities in Cognitive Development. In collaboration with Kate Pickett, Paul Wakeling (both University of York), Emma Blakey, Dan Carroll (both University of Sheffield), Mark Mon-Williams and Amanda Waterman (both University of Leeds).

2016-21. The ESRC and MRC (£2,300,000). Born in Bradford 2nd Wave. (Named collaborator)

Invited speaker

“Can increased collaboration across Health anad Education drive improvement in support for children with coordination difficulties?” (2021) @ Developmental Coordination Disorder UK Biennial Conference (Keynote, Online)

“Visual development, family circumstances and academic learning: Findings from the Born in Bradford Cohort” (2018) @ School of Optometry Seminar Series, UC Berkeley, USA (In person)

“Movement Matters: Investigating the role movement plays in children’s psychological and academic development” (2018) @ Centre for Population Health Sciences Research Seminar, Stanford University, USA (In person). 


BiBFest 2019 (2019), Member of the Organising Committee - Primary School Engagement Lead (In-person, >500 attendees)

Developmental Coordination Disorder UK Biennial Conference (2016), Chair of the Organising Committee (In-person, 101 attendees)