I have spent more than 20 years exploring the relationship between research, policy and practice in the UK and internationally. With Kathryn Oliver, I have co-founded Transforming Evidence.
I am a Founding Editor of the international journal ‘Evidence & Policy’. I have conducted research for a range of funders including the UK National Institute for Health Research, the Medical Research Council and the European Commission. I support a number of national initiatives aimed at increasing capacity for research use.
Increasing capacity for research use
I am Vice-Chair of the UK Implementation Society. In 2018, I was a member of the panel for the Irish Health Research Board Impact Award and I serve on the NIHR Health Services Research and Delivery Funding Committee. I also completed a secondment to the Policy Research Programme at the UK Department of Health. I am a member of the World Health Organisation European Advisory Committee on Health Research.
Developing interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral research into the generation, sharing and use of evidence.
The Transforming Evidence collaboration, founded in 2018, is a group of colleagues with a shared interest in how to produce and use evidence more effectively to address societal challenges. There is a lot of expertise and research evidence about how evidence is made and used, but this often stays in disciplinary and sectoral silos. We want to help the community of scholars, funders and practitioners/policymakers share their knowledge and expertise more effectively. We want to improve debates about, and research into what evidence is, how it is used, and the different meanings attached to these processes and outcomes.
Building experiences of users into healthcare research
I am co-author of the ‘Handbook of Service User Involvement in Nursing and Healthcare Research’ which provides practical expert advice on the involvement of service users - patients, carers and the public - in nursing and healthcare research.
The politics of social research
I graduated with a degree in Politics from the University of Durham in 1993. I went on to complete a Masters in Social Research at the University of Oxford and a doctorate in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London. My work is very much focused on connecting research with the outside world and its application. In 2019, I was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Engagement between researchers and decision-makers
Since February 2020, I have been a ARI Research Engagement Fellow. The one year fellowship is a partnership between the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the Government Office for Science. This commitment by ESRC and the Government Office for Science is a timely and important step towards making better use of research evidence in policy in the UK. As the ARI Research Fellow, I am working with Kathryn Oliver to build on what we know about the importance of engagement, and recognise good practice around the existing ARI work. The next step is to reach out to the UK research community, to develop innovative and effective research engagement mechanisms, and to create opportunities for policy-relevant research and engagement activities.