headshot of Amy

Amy Locke

PhD Medical and Health Care Studies

The best part about undertaking my PhD at Swansea University is the exceptional support and guidance provided within the population data science facility. The staff in my department have enabled me to grow as an independent researcher.

The programme has and continues to, provide valuable opportunities to collaborate with policy makers, including Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government to enhance my research.


I am a PhD Student based in the National Centre for population health and wellbeing research, School of Medicine.

As a Swansea Resident, I was keen on staying local. I completed my MSc at Swansea University in 2021 and was keen to do more. Knowing that the university had a strong research reputation, I knew I wanted to continue my education here.

In light of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, many children and families have limited access to healthy, nutritional meals. I came across the advertisement for the studentship focusing on the evaluation of universal free school meals and knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. It became evident that I could actively contribute to valuable research that could help elevate challenges that children face today.

My research examines the introduction of universal free school meals in primary education, with a focus on children’s health and wellbeing. I will evaluate its impacts on children's health by focusing on common issues linked to poor nutrition, such as respiratory issues, vitamin deficiencies, and gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, the research will explore the benefits of universal free school meals on children’s psychological, emotional, and social health.

I aim to conduct a thorough evaluation of universal free school meals in Wales to inform policy and, address the issue of persistent child poverty, currently affecting 31% of children in Wales. By providing accurate insights, my research seeks to contribute to policies that ensure all children have access to healthy nutritional food, and alleviate the negative implications associated with poor nutrition.

I've always been passionate about using research to enhance lives, especially in health and wellbeing. I aim to make a valuable contribution through my research during my studentship. While I don't have specific plans post-studentship, I'm confident that my experiences at Swansea University will help shape my future endeavours.