Research Design Service: East Midlands

RDS Advisers

Martin Williams - Director of NIHR RDS East Midlands
Martin has considerable expertise in grant writing, quantitative and qualitative research designs and in research management.

Sarah Armstrong - Deputy Director of NIHR RDS East Midlands
Sarah is a Professor of Medical Statistics. She is an established researcher who has contributed to the design and analysis of a wide range of research studies. She has provided advice to experienced and novice researchers on the development of applications for research funding. Sarah has a particular interest in randomised controlled trials and her current areas of research are prescribing in primary care and stroke research in care homes.


Research Advisers
Health Economics

Damilola Olajide - Senior Adviser in Health Economics
Dami has research interests in health economics and applied econometrics, and international development. He has over 13 years’ experience in academic research. Prior to joining RDS, University of Nottingham in November 2019, Dami has worked as a Research Fellow in Health Economics, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; and as a Senior Evaluation Specialist at a research organization in Nigeria. Working across a range of areas of health economics, he has undertaken microeconometric modelling and analysis of large, administratively linked real-world data sets relating to health care utilization and costs; health behaviour, inequalities and health outcomes; health care workforce and organization; and quality of disease management in primary care. Outputs from these analyses have been used to build economic evaluation models for cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, and budget impact analysis for a range of behaviour-related diseases (diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer), and value of information analysis for efficient research design. Using various UK data, he has also undertaken research in resources allocation across NHSScotland Health Boards; GP performance under Quality and Outcomes Framework; and potentially preventable hospitalizations in primary care as a measure of quality in health care. In international development, Dami has examined the impact of health and social care interventions, using randomized control trials in non-clinical setting, and mixed-method approach. His other activities have been teaching postgraduate courses in health care resources allocation, and thesis supervision. Dami holds a PhD in Economics from Monash University, Melbourne Australia.

Lily Yao - Professor in Health Economy

Industry Specialist

Roy Harris - Senior Adviser in Translational Research
He is a Protein Chemist by training with several years of industrial, academic, and NHS experience of innovative scientific research in medical technology in the healthcare sector. After 5 years at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, he became Head of Protein Chemistry at Delta Biotechnology in Nottingham in 1988, Head of Research at Andaris Ltd, 1994 and later Director of IP at Quadrant healthcare Ltd. He set up his own research company in 1999 which became Advanced protein Systems Ltd based at Biocity in Nottingham. He joined NUH NHS Trust in 2011 as Head of IP and Commercialisation with added responsibility for supporting translational research funding and management (he has successfully supported several NIHR i4i grant awards). In 2018 he took up the position of Research Business Manager working jointly with the School of Medicine at Nottingham University working RDS East Midlands to promote and further support translational research.

Information Specialist

Christine Keen - Adviser in Health Research Information
Chris is a chartered librarian and has previously worked in public libraries for many years. She moved into health information after completing an MSc in Health Information Management by distance learning whilst working full time. Christine is particularly interested in public involvement in health and her Masters dissertation looked at Community Involvement in Leicester City Health Action Zone. Christine is a member of the readers panel for INVOLVE commenting on draft publications. She welcomes external contributions for the newsletter and news page of our website.
Her roles include:

  • Identifying content for the website and the newsletter, such as sources of funding, courses and websites specialising in sources for primary care.
  • Literature searching including scoping searches and guiding individuals towards appropriate sources.
  • Critical appraisal.
  • Special projects such as the production of research bulletins using systematic review techniques.


Public Involvement
Raksha Pandya-Wood - Senior Adviser in Public Involvement, Regional Public Involvement Lead 
Raksha is RDS East Midlands’  lead for public involvement. She has expertise in participatory research methods and extensive experience in the involvement of community members in health and social care research.
Raksha has worked with the Research Design Service since 2008, overseeing all public involvement work, including PPI strategy. Prior to joining the RDS, Raksha worked for the third sector in various researcher and community worker roles including HIV family support, black and minority ethnic community substance misuse and supporting children and young people living with disabilities to live independently.
Raksha completed her PhD in September 2018. This work evaluated the impact of patient and public involvement on cancer research outcomes. Raksha used qualitative research methods and consensus forming techniques in her studies. The PhD forms an original contribution to evaluation processes and implementation science with a focus on co-production.
Raksha gives advice to research teams on public involvement, organises public involvement events for researchers and the public, and works collaboratively with local and regional organisations to promote effective public involvement. Raksha also works closely with RDS East Midlands’ Public Contributors group and manages a public involvement fund for researchers.
Raksha, leads several national public involvement projects, including projects considering the implications of involving public members as co-applicants and in ethical issues for public involvement at research design stage.
Raksha has taught undergraduate and post-graduate level modules in global health and women’s health at De Montfort University (2006-2012) and health research at the University of Leicester (2011- present).  She also peer reviews for journals and research funders.


Statisticians and other Quantitative Methodologists
Shaun Barber - Senior Adviser in Medical Statistics
Shaun is a medical statistician with a background in clinical trials. He has worked at the Leicester Clinical Trials Unit since 2016, where he has gained experience as the trial statistician for trials in a wide range of medical areas as well as giving statistical input into grant applications. Prior to his work in clinical trials, Shaun completed a PhD on the development and validation of risk tools for identifying those at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Doyo Enki - Senior Adviser in Medical Statistics
Doyo is a medical statistician with interest and experience in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of different types of studies, including clinical trials and observational studies. Before joining University of Nottingham in Sep 2019, he worked as Research Fellow in Medical Statistics at University of Plymouth for six years where he was involved in different areas of research and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate medical students (such as study designs, clinical trials, diagnostic test accuracy studies, systematic reviews and meta-analysis). As part of his duties at University of Plymouth, he gave statistical consultancy services to hundreds of researchers working for the NHS on their research projects. He has collaborated in a number of successful research funding applications and co-authored a number of publications. Doyo is also interested in big data. His PhD (completed in 2011) was on interpretable dimensionality reduction for data with high-dimension, where he used a number of health related data sets for the application.

Zoe Morgan - Adviser in Medical Statistics
Zoe has a background in medical statistics and psychology with experience in clinical trials, study design, reporting and statistical analyses, some specialized to survey methods. Special interest and expertise lie in neurodevelopmental psychology and epidemiology fieldwork. Zoe is currently studying a PhD in the epidemiology of adult Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Caroline Mulvaney - Senior Adviser in Health Services Research
Caroline joined the University of Nottingham in 2002 working in the Division of Primary Care before moving to Health Sciences. She has experience in quantitative research including the analysis of surveys and large datasets, managing multi-centre RCTs and carrying out systematic reviews including several Cochrane reviews. Her research has been both in primary and secondary care, and including schools and Children's Centres. She has undertaken work for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minster and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Her current research interests are injury prevention and public health, but she has worked on a wide range of topics including pre-school wheeze and asthma, acoustic neuromas, home fire injury risks, GP prescribing, parenting programmes, child injury prevention and cycling infrastructure. As a PI, she has successfully applied for funding from NIHR. She is a Registered General Nurse.

Chistopher Newby - Senior Adviser in Medical Statistics
Chris is a medical statistician with interest and experience in cluster randomised trials and the analysis of large cohorts. He has worked at the Pragmatic Clinical Trial Unit (PCTU) and the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUK CAR) at Queen Mary, University of London for 4 years prior to working at RDS East Midlands. This was mainly working on an implementation trial using routine electronic healthcare records and a public health project looking at children lung growth in London and Luton, both funded through the NIHR. Before this he worked for 5 years at the University of Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit. He has expertise in respiratory statistics and cluster and factor analysis amongst other quantitative methods.  

Nick Taub - Senior Adviser in Medical Statistics
Nick Taub is a medical statistician, responsible for collaboration between the RDS and the Leicester Clinical Trials Unit, and is statistical expert on the Trent Research Ethics Committee. Nick has a background of collaboration on studies covering a wide range of medical specialties, with an emphasis on applications in psychiatric medicine, diabetes and related endocrine conditions, and disease registers. Nick has been a reviewer for various medical and statistical journals, including: Psychological Medicine, Applied Statistics, Diabetic Medicine, Age and Ageing, and Stroke. Nick teaches on i) a range of short courses for the RDS, ii) the University’s MRes course in Applied Health Research, and iii) teaches and supervises students on the MSc course in Medical statistics. In 2006 Nick completed a PhD thesis on methods for estimating prevalence using disease register data.

Freya Tyrer - Senior Adviser in Epidemiology
Freya Tyrer has been based at the University of Leicester since 2004. She specialises in observational studies and has a particular interest in mental health and intellectual disability research.


Qualitative Researchers
Rebecca Barnes - Senior Research Adviser in Qualitative and Social Research Methods
Rebecca joined the RDS in November 2019, having previously been Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Leicester. Rebecca is a social scientist with a background in both Sociology and Criminology, and she completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2007. Her research expertise lies in the field of domestic violence and gender-based violence, with a particular interest in domestic violence and abuse primarily in lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT+) populations and latterly in Christian communities. Her monograph, Queering Narratives of Domestic Abuse, is soon to be published by Palgrave Pivot (Donovan and Barnes, forthcoming). Rebecca is also currently leading a mixed-methods study about improving the mental health outcomes of Nottingham’s LGBT+ population, funded by NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group. Rebecca has extensive experience of qualitative research, especially qualitative interviewing; survey design; and outcome measurement in evaluation research. She has particular interests in research on sensitive or stigmatised topics; equality, diversity and inclusion in research; participatory and creative methodologies; and working with marginalised and/or ‘vulnerable’ populations.

Brian Crosbie - Senior Research Adviser in Qualitative Research Methods
Brian’s background is in sociology with over 12 years’ experience in academic research. He has worked across a number of studies including team working in health setting; patients’ experience in stroke rehabilitation (NIHR CLAHRC); dementia research (RfPB), health technology studies, and arts in health project evaluation. More recently, he has worked on a realist synthesis, systematic review, on hearing loss and dementia among residents living in care homes. His Ph.D. (2013), from the University of Sheffield, looked at clinicians’ socio-cultural framing of technology in the intensive care environment.
Along with experience and skills in delivering applied health research, Brian has particular interests in theoretically informed methodologies including realist methodology, discourse analysis, ethnography, and implementation science. Brian also advocates for patients and public informed research with his connections to a PPI dementia group. Brian teaches qualitative methods included grounded theory and realist evaluation, on postgraduate courses and has experience of supervising MSc and Ph.D. candidates undertaking qualitative methods.

Rachel Evley - Senior Research Adviser in Qualitative Research Methods
Rachel is a Qualitative researcher and Registered Nurse and has worked in Anaesthesia & Critical Care research since 2000. Rachel has worked on mixed methods research funded by NIHR RfPB, as well as PI on several NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies.
Rachel completed her PhD thesis on safety in anaesthesia and the role of systems, technology and culture, this led to a greater awareness of drug errors within the UK anaesthetic community and a report published by the National Patient Safety Agency.
Rachel has been a reviewer for various medical journals including the British Journal of Anaesthesia and BMJ Open, she has also reviewed grant applications to the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia.
Rachel continues her research activity with the University of Nottingham and the Royal College of Anaesthetists focused on the Perioperative pathway; she also provides research methodology expertise to inform national standard setting guidelines for anaesthesia service provision. Rachel teaches on the University of Nottingham N-Trans training programme and the University of Leicester MSc Quality and Safety in Healthcare and supervises students up to PhD level.

Clare Jackson - Senior Research Adviser in Qualitative Research Methods
Clare has worked on applied health and healthcare research projects since 1996. Using predominantly qualitative and mixed research methods to explore the experiences and views of patients, professionals and research participants, her work has covering a diverse range of sensitive areas including obstetrics and gynaecology, consenting to surgery, primary care, paediatric intensive care, tumour banking and childhood cancer. Most recently, her work has focused on the recruitment of patients to various types of research, including clinical trials in childhood cancer. She is particular interested in the ethical issues associated with clinical trials and research involving children.

Jane Stewart - Senior Research Adviser in Qualitative Research Methods
Jane has worked as an applied health services researcher since 1996. Before joining RDS EM in March 2015 she had held both University of Nottingham and NHS Trust (Nottinghamshire) research contracts. This work covered a broad spectrum of clinical settings – acute and primary/community care and a diverse range of clinical areas, including maternal mental health, serious mental health, type 2 diabetes, child and adult injury prevention, and maternity services with a focus on mental and emotional wellbeing. Primarily considering herself as a qualitative researcher, Jane also has experience of a variety of quantitative approaches – including randomised controlled trials (RCTs), case control and other observational studies. She has managed and acted as programme coordinator for a 5 year multi-centre, multi-method NIHR programme grant. Jane also developed a worked with a successful patient and public involvement in primary care research group and therefore contributes to the RDS EM patient and public involvement support to researchers. Prior to her research career Jane qualified and practised as a nurse, midwife and health visitor. 

Laura Venn - Senior Research Adviser in Qualitative Research Methods, Deputy Site Lead
Laura is a qualitative research methodologist. As well as working as a Senior Research Advisor in Qualitative Methods in the East Midlands Research Design Service she is also an Honorary Research Fellow at Durham University working on two national evaluations of social work qualifying programmes. The ‘Step Up to Social Work Evaluation’, commissioned by the Department for Education, focuses on retention and progression of social workers and ‘Think Ahead External Evaluation’, is a longitudinal evaluation of a fast-track mental health social work qualification programme. Methodologically, Laura’s strengths lie in applied qualitative research methods, embedding qualitative methods in mixed methodology studies and qualitative data analysis. Laura has experience of working on European funded research and prior to joining the RDS in January 2017 she was an SME partner on an FP7 project (FOODMETRES 2012-2016). Laura’s PhD, which she completed in 2004, investigated quality assurance and environmental management in the Agro-Food industry. Laura teaches qualitative research methods on Postgraduate courses at both Coventry and DeMontfort Universities.

Della Cohen - Regional Finance Lead
Della works alongside the Director, managing the financial organisation and contractual administration of RDS East Midlands. Della is happy to answer any finance-related queries about RDS East Midlands and our regional schemes.

Louise Halbert- Business Manager
Louise has an MSc in Marketing Management with specialism in digital and social media channels. In addition to leading the marketing of RDSEM services she is also responsible for the design, maintenance and development of the RDSEM website and data collection systems. Louise advises researchers on their project dissemination plans and teams wanting to use social media to engage with their public involvement groups. She is a member of the national RDS comms community which is responsible for identifying communication and marketing requirements on a national level. Follow Louise on Twitter for RDS EM updates @NIHR_RDSEM.

Janet Jones - Administrator
Janet provides part time administrative support within the Leicester Unit. She manages the public involvement fund along with administrative matters regarding the regional public contributor group.

Karen Taylor - Administrator
Karen provides administrative support within the Nottingham Unit. The work has a mainly organisational content responding to general issues and administrative matters primarily providing administration to the Regional Advisory Board, Regional Operations Group, Project Review meetings and Learning Events. 

Joanne Wood - Administrator
Joanne provides financial support to the Nottingham Unit, including budget, income and expenditure monitoring. She also oversees the management and co-ordination of personnel records and procedures.