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Headshot of Fran Pilkington-Cheney

Fran Pilkington-Cheney



Staff Group(s)


Fran Pilkington-Cheney is a Lecturer of Psychology and Sleep in the department of Psychology at NTU. Her research and research interests focus on the role of sleepiness and fatigue within safety critical tasks, for example during shift work and within transport safety. Fran teaches on the final year module Psychology of Sleep (PSY3100), as well as several first and second year undergraduate research modules. In addition, Fran supervises sleep and fatigue based undergraduate projects.

Career overview

Fran completed her Undergraduate degree in Psychology at Loughborough University in 2010. She then worked for several years as a researcher in industry, focusing on fatigue risk management particularly within aviation. In 2018, she joined the Transport Safety Research Centre at Loughborough University, UK and was involved in numerous projects exploring sleepiness and fatigue in real-world settings, for example in tunnelling and construction, London city bus drivers, and in the context of driver state monitoring, fatigue detection and intervention, and fitness-to-drive. Alongside this, Fran completed her PhD part time, under the supervision of Prof. Ashleigh Filtness, exploring the management of sleepiness within the applied context of bus driving, with a specific focus on the use of sugar.  Fran began her Lectureship at  NTU in 2022.

Research areas

Fran's primary research interests are in the measurement, management and mitigation of sleepiness and fatigue during safety critical tasks (e.g., when driving, during shift work). Fran is also interested in the effect of sleep on cognitive functioning and day-to-day life (including women's health), transport safety, human behaviour and both applied and experimental research.

Fran is currently the Co-I and project manager on a three-year grant funded by the Road Safety Trust, exploring sleepiness and driving risk in shift workers.

External activity

Fran is chair of the Early Career Researcher Network (ECRN) of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) and a member of the Gender Equality Forum (GEF).

Fran acts as a reviewer for several journals including the Journal of Sleep Research, and enjoys presenting her work at talks, national and international conferences.

Press expertise

  • Sleepiness/fatigue and shift work
  • Sleepy driving
  • Fatigue risk management
  • Counteracting sleepiness