Real life stories

IGC2022 - Showcasing keynotes - Prof. Amanda Roberts

17 June 2022
“You have to be quite resilient to be an academic, especially as a female. You also need to expect the unexpected"
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This is part of a series of blog posts showcasing the keynote speakers for this year’s International Gambling Conference, being co-hosted by PGF Group and AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre in Auckland from June 29 to July 1 2022.More details on the conference (including how you can register) are available by clicking here.

Amanda Roberts is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, UK. She completed her first degree at University College London (BSc Hons Psychology), before moving to Cardiff University to conduct her PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience. Amanda took up her first permanent full-time post at Kings College London, before moving to Queen Mary University, University of East London and then to Lincoln.

It seemed like a career in psychology was inevitable for Amanda.

“When I was a child, I lived next door to two high profile UK Psychologists/ Neuroscientists: Profs Sue and Les Iversen. We used to conduct simple behavioural training with their two cats in their garden (using chicken treats and carboard boxes) and from then on, I was hooked, “she said.

Later on, when Prof. Roberts graduated with her PhD from Cardiff University, her old neighbour Sue Iversen received an honorary award at the same time and stopped the whole academic procession to say hello to her.

“It was a very proud moment for me and my mother,” she said.

Prof. Roberts’ research interests include risk factors for antisocial and maladaptive behaviour, addiction, violence, and problem and pathological gambling.

“Historically, my research interests included antisocial and maladaptive behaviour, but my research has always encompassed elements of risk taking, mental health and addiction,” she said.

Prof. Roberts’ presentation is entitled Disordered Gambling: Harms, Trends, Patterns and Treatment, which could be a mouthful, but as she describes it “the gambling landscape in the UK is quite complicated/ is highly politicized and needs a complete overhaul.”

When Prof. Roberts is asked what she loves about her work, she reflects on her colleagues and collaborators.

“I like inspiring and helping students and early career researchers navigate their academic and personal journeys. I also thrive on carrying out research with colleagues and enjoy seeing my work published- it’s always such a thrill every time and I can never quite believe it’s my name on the page,” she said.

She takes time to note one particular paper, working alongside colleagues based in New Zealand.

“It helped put me on the map and made quite a splash in the press in the UK.”

Despite Prof. Roberts’ success as a researcher, it is not an easy pathway, and she said her biggest challenge is facing rejection.

“You have to be quite resilient to be an academic, especially as a female. You also need to expect the unexpected,” she said.

Prof. Roberts is looking forward to IGC2022 so she can see in person friends and colleagues.

“It has been a while since we have stepped out from behind the computer screen.”

It is her hope after IGC2022 to get a chance to return to her happy place.

“Walking in the countryside when the sun is shining with my Bearded Collie and my family. Sitting in my back garden listening to the bees with my cats.”

More information on Prof. Roberts’ presentation can be found by clicking here.