Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr Pykett welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in her areas of interest, including:

Emotional politics and emotional regulation
Behavioural public policy and neuroscience informed public policy
Digital affective governance
Embodied geographies and critical social theories of the body, mind and emotions
Critical neuroscience approaches to urban design, architecture, built environment
Geographies of welfare, wellbeing and mental health
Psychological governance and citizenship
Urban wellbeing and urban stress
Government advertising, communications, social marketing


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Jessica Pykett is a social and political geographer with research interests in citizenship, governance, and political subjectivities.  Her research to date has focused on affective and emotional techniques of governance, and the influence of neuroscience and behavioural science on public policy and economic theory. Current work is on the intersections of neuroscience and geography, concepts of urban stress and urban wellbeing, political geographies of emotional regulation, and tracing the sociodigital futures imagined and deployed in research, applications and governance within these fields.


Before joining the University of Birmingham in September 2012, Jessica was a lecturer in Human Geography at Aberystwyth University. Here she worked on a Leverhulme funded grant on the ‘Time-Spaces of Soft-Paternalism’. Previously she was an ESRC research fellow at The Open University and has held research positions at the University of Bristol and Futurelab Education.


PhD, University of Bristol

MSc Society and Space, University of Bristol

BSc Geography, University of Bristol

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • G Geography (General)
  • governance
  • governmentality
  • emotions
  • mental health
  • wellbeing
  • embodiment
  • welfare
  • social policy
  • sociodigital


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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