Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bath, Dr Kate Cooper, has won this year’s BPS Doctoral Award.

In addition to her work at the University of Bath, Kate Cooper is a HCPC-registered clinical psychologist and BABCP-accredit cognitive behavioural therapist who has worked in a range of clinical settings and neurodevelopmental clinics.

She completed an NIHR-funded clinical doctoral fellowship titled ‘How should health services adapt to meet the needs of autistic people with gender dysphoria?’ in 2022, which led to academic publications, accessible summaries and co-produced training materials for healthcare clinicians.

Kate is also a researcher on the Autism Depression Trial, supporting the development of a psychological treatment for depression in autistic adults. She presents a podcast on cultural diversity in clinical psychology alongside Dr Afsana Faheem - listen to the podcast online.

Commenting, on the recognition Dr Cooper said: “I am hugely honoured to receive this award and I am so pleased that my qualitative work in this complex research area has been well-received.

“The research could not have happened without an amazing group of autistic and transgender people who helped steer the whole project. I am so grateful to all the research participants including autistic people, parents, and busy clinicians who gave up their time in exceptionally difficult circumstances - during the pandemic and a period of intense public scrutiny on gender diverse people in the UK.

"I am also super grateful to my incredible team of supervisors who provided me with such thoughtful and wise support throughout my PhD.”

Professor Greg Maio, Head of the Department of Psychology, added: "Dr Kate Cooper’s PhD was a challenging, multifaceted project. By focusing on how to help health services adapt to meet the needs of autistic people with gender dysphoria, the project required developing a high level of understanding of what we know and do not know about autism and gender dysphoria. At the same time, to help health services adapt, Kate needed to work with the health services and their clients to find potential steps forward.

"This scope encompassed a level of challenge that is exemplary in its breadth and applicability. It is wonderful to see Kate’s hard work and success recognised through this award.”