Dr Mark Hoelterhoff (PhD)

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

  • Edinburgh Futures Institute
  • Curriculum Transformation Board

Contact details



School of Health in Social Science
Medical School, Doorway 6
Teviot Place

Post code


  • Please contact via email


My clinical, teaching and research focus is on positive psychology.  I have been in the field of promoting positive mental wellbeing for over 25 years. As a counselling psychologist, I’ve provided psychoeducation and positive psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families in private practise along with third-sector organisations worldwide. In addition to healthcare settings, I worked at several higher education institutions before coming to the University of Edinburgh.


PhD Psychology at University of Plymouth

MA Psychology at Alliant University

MA Counselling Psychology at Trinity International University

BA Psychology at University of Dayton

Responsibilities & affiliations

British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist

Health and Care Professioal Council Registered Practitioner Psychologist (Counselling Psychology)

Higher Education Academy Senior Fellow

Postgraduate teaching

Learning and Resilience for Edinburgh Futures Institute

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am unable to accept any new PhD students due to a secondment. However, there is information/application guidance here https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&id=397 

Research summary

My research is focused on positive psychology; specifically by fostering transdisciplinary collaboration to support transformative learning in higher education, and empowering university communities globally by developing data-driven, asset-based strategies that prioritise positive well-being and drive societal transformation.

Current research interests

I founded and am leading a research cluster for Edinburgh Futures Institute called Pioneering Analytics for Transformative HigherEd (PATH). My research interests lie at the intersection of piloting future-facing strategies and transformative higher education. I am committed to exploring innovative approaches that transcend disciplinary boundaries, aiming to address the complex challenges within the higher education landscape while prioritising the cultivation of positive well-being across diverse fields of study. With a focus on analytics, I'm interested in creative and post-qualitative methodologies to delve into the dynamic interplay between positive well-being and transformative learning. Through collaborative research initiatives, I aim to develop comprehensive metrics that shed light on the pathways to holistic student development and societal impact. Furthermore, I am passionate about forging pathways of educational transformation that integrate intrapersonal strengths with real-world challenges. By fostering critical thinking and empowering change agents, my transdisciplinary approach seeks to catalyse meaningful change at individual, institutional, and societal levels.

Knowledge exchange

As founder of the THRIVE network, we seek to unite academics, practitioners, student support staff, and leaders in advancing evidence-based strategies for positive well-being in higher education. Through collaboration, knowledge exchange, and collective action, we aim to cultivate resilience and holistic student development.



Affiliated research centres

Past project grants

2020-2021 Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme (£14,931) – Regular Grant Award (PI)
Project Title: Personal Values in Postgraduate University Student Engagement: a Creative Participatory Action Research Project

2020 (£15,000) Cara Syria Programme Larger Grant
Project title: The effect of electricity shortage on social well-being in people living in northern Syria (Principal Investigator).

2018-2020. Erasmus+ KA2 – Strategic partnership for innovation in the adult field
Project: Support well-being among potential entrepreneurs with a migrant/refugee background to start and develop business initiatives in the Blue Growth economy on behalf of the Scottish Islands Federation (Consultant).

2019 (£80,500) College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences SFC Official Development Assistance Global Challenges Internal Fund
Project Title: Leadership in Ethics, Integrity and Research Conduct in Complex LMIC-UK partnership projects (Co-Investigator).

2019 (£50,000) College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences SFC Official Development Assistance Global Challenges Internal Fund
Project Title: Strong minds, strong lives: Building enduring partnerships through co-design of a rural mental health service and research strategy in Malawi (Co-Investigator).

2018 (£14,981) The Global Academies and Edinburgh Global Research and Partnership Fund (LMIC).
Project: Growing strong kids in Malawi: A collaborative needs analysis between a Scottish research team and MamaLita School in Namwera, Malawi (Co-Investigator).

2018 (£9123). The College of Radiographers
Project: Studying resilience among newly qualified radiographers (Co-Investigator).

2016 (£5,000) University of Cumbria Research and Development Funding
Project: Exploring the role of social capital in the Storm Desmond flood (Co-Investigator).

2012 (£1200) University of Cumbria Research and Development Funding
Project: The impact of sustainable development activities on health and well-being in a Senegalese population (Principal Investigator).

2005-2010 (£21,075) University of Plymouth PhD Scholarship funding

2006 ($25,000) Lions Club International Start Up Grant
Project: Lions Quest well-being pilot programme for Lithuanian primary school children (Co-Investigator).

View all 30 publications on Research Explorer

Invited speaker