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Professor Cathy Barnes, Director of Research and Enterprise

Professor Cathy Barnes

Director of Research and Enterprise

Cathy Barnes is Professor of Retail Innovation and is fascinated by consumer experience. She has researched and published widely on how to build products and experiences that delight consumers.

Professor Cathy Barnes is fascinated by the world of the consumer. She is constantly trying to understand how we, as people, interact with the world around us and what this means to improved products and daily experiences. Her research work has taken her on a journey from novel ideation techniques such as biomimetics (using nature to innovate) to sensory design. She is particularly interested in how we perceive the world through touch and what this means to why we buy products.

As the Professor of Retail Innovation at Leeds Beckett University, Cathy is responsible for leading the Retail Institute. She aims to build a new type of university institute where academic staff and industry work closely together to deliver new knowledge with real and immediate commercial impact.

Originally training as a draughtsperson, Cathy started her diverse career in engineering, working on nuclear submarines. After a first degree in Mechanical Engineering, she started her love affair with consumerism by six years in industry, managing factories making everything from cosmetics to crisp packets. Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University she spent 12 years at the University of Leeds researching the consumer experience and managing outreach departments working closely with industry. During this time she led on many research grants applications and has published widely in both academic journals and the trade press.

Research Interests

  • Built a membership scheme for retail packaging sector including many of the leading FMCG companies
  • Designed new touch experience for computer peripherals
  • Developed new understanding of the consumer perception of freshness in retail environments for global food company
  • Invented a new aerosol experience for global household product company
  • Researched a new marketing and pricing strategy in the condom market
  • Created new consumer perception tools and implemented throughout a global food company
  • Supported global food company to understand consumer perception of biopolymers
  • Advised on innovation strategy for new materials and design for large dairy
  • Developed a novel innovation technique for a large petcare company
Professor Cathy Barnes, Director of Research and Enterprise

Ask Me About

  1. Retail
  2. Innovation
  3. Consumers
  4. Packaging

Selected Outputs

  • Bevan N; Barnes CJ; Liu Z; Wei W (2016) Predicting Purchase Intent Using Pragmatic and Hedonic Kansei Engineering Scales: A Case Study of Kitchen Equipment in China. In: 6th International Kansei Engineering & Emotion Research Conference (KEER 2016), 31 August 2016 - 2 September 2016, Leeds, UK.

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  • Akay D; Chen X; Barnes C; Henson B (2012) ANFIS modeling for predicting affective responses to tactile textures. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries, 22 (3), pp. 269-281.

  • Holt RJ; Barnes CJ (2011) Proactive design for Manufacture through decision analysis. International Journal of Product Development, 13 (1), pp. 67-83.

  • Shao F; Childs THC; Barnes CJ; Henson B (2010) Finite element simulations of static and sliding contact between a human fingertip and textured surfaces. Tribology International, 43 (12), pp. 2308-2316.

  • Shao F; Chen X-J; Barnes CJ; Henson B (2010) A novel tactile sensation measurement system for qualifying touch perception. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine, 224 (1), pp. 97-105.

  • Holt R; Barnes C (2010) Towards an integrated approach to "design for X": An agenda for decision-based DFX research. Research in Engineering Design, 21 (2), pp. 123-136.

  • Barnes C; Lillford SP (2009) Decision support for the design of affective products. Journal of Engineering Design, 20 (5), pp. 477-492.

  • Chen X; Barnes CJ; Childs THC; Henson B; Shao F (2009) Materials' tactile testing and characterisation for consumer products' affective packaging design. Materials and Design, 30 (10), pp. 4299-4310.

  • Barnes C (2012) Retail Innovation: Improving the Consumer Experience.

  • Barnes CJ (2016) Omni-Channel Retail—Challenges and Opportunities for Packaging Innovation. In: Burgess P ed. Integrating the Packaging and Product Experience in Food and Beverages: A Road-Map to Consumer Satisfaction. Woodhead Publishing, pp. 59-76.