Dr John Leach

Man standing in front of high grasslands with snow-topped mountains in the distance

Dr John Leach is visiting Senior Research Fellow in survival psychology with the Extreme Environmental Research Group (University of Portsmouth). He holds a B.Sc (hons) in psychology (University of London) and a Ph.D in applied neurocognition (University of Lancaster) where he became lecturer and later director of studies for cognitive psychology.

His scientific research is into the cognitive and neurocognitive aspects of survival, human performance in extremis and particularly the process in which people perish under duress without reason. His research has been published in scientific and medical journals and his theory on dysexecutive survivor syndrome won the International Aerospace Medical Association Collins Award for 2013.

John Leach is also a qualified military SERE instructor (survival, evasion, resistance & extraction) undergoing practical training in forest, desert, jungle, arctic, polar and sea survival as well as escape, evasion and extraction. He qualified as a military instructor in conduct-after-capture and hostage survival in which he specialised for a number of years. In 2003 he was recalled from university and posted to Iraq on active military service.

Following his return he worked for six years with the Norwegian Armed Forces where he was able to combine his academic and military backgrounds as a SERE psychologist also holding visiting fellowship at both the Center for the Study of Human Cognition (University of Oslo) and the Royal Norwegian Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine.

John Leach is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was a pioneer in the development of high altitude diving techniques. This included leading an expedition to dive lakes above 18,000 ft in the Khumbu glacier area of Everest. He qualified as both a military diver and a mixed-gas saturation diver. He has climbed in the Himalaya, Tien Shan region and South American Andes and was recently part of a team conducting scientific studies in north west Mongolia with the University of Ulaan Bataar.

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