Strategy board

Managing the NIHR's strategic direction and priorities

The NIHR Strategy Board advises on strategic issues relating to the management of the NIHR and the implementation of NIHR’s strategic plans. It helps to ensure that the NIHR acts as one entity and communicates effectively both externally and internally.   




As Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health, Professor Chris Whitty has overall responsibility for Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) research and development including the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and supporting the department’s analysis and life sciences. 

He is currently the Professor of Public and International Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Consultant Physician at University College London Hospitals and Visiting Gresham Professor of Public Health at Gresham College.

He was previously Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development.

Chris is an epidemiologist and physician. Prior to joining DHSC he was Chair of the Department of Health National Expert Panel on New and Emerging Infections (NEPNEI) and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).






Frances Beves joined NIHR in November 2017 in the newly created role of Director of Communications. Working across NIHR's distributed structure, she is responsible for raising awareness of the NIHR, its role, value and people, among both internal and external stakeholders. Her role encompasses brand management, media relations, digital communications, events and campaigns, and employee engagement. 
Frances has over 25 years' experience in healthcare communications. She was European Communications Director for Eli Lilly and Company for 10 years and has also worked in-house for GlaxoSmithKline and GE Healthcare. Frances also has experience of leading healthcare communications teams at leading public relations consultancies in both London and New York.

Professor Lucy Chappell is NIHR Research Professor in Obstetrics at King’s College London and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. She runs a research programme investigating prediction and prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes, particularly in women with pre-existing co-morbidities such as chronic hypertension and chronic kidney disease, using randomised controlled trials and observational studies.

Lucy has subspecialty training in maternal-fetal medicine and a Masters in higher education, supervising higher degree students from obstetric, nephrology and general practice backgrounds.

She is President of the Blair Bell Research Society, an academic editor for PLoS Medicine journal, a member of the NIHR HTA Clinical Evaluation and Trials board, the RCOG Maternal Medicine Clinical Studies Group, and the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy council.

Lisa is the Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR Academy and previously the Director of the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre since 2005. The NIHR Academy designs, develops and delivers NIHR’s Training Programmes, career pathways and capacity development initiatives supporting over 4,000 award holders each year. Under Lisa’s direction the NIHR Training Programmes have been been reformed to attract professional groups where research capacity is low, including nurses, pharmacists and social scientists, breaking down barriers to career progression, especially for women. Lisa also leads a range of initiatives to build capacity in under-represented sectors such as primary care, public health and social care, and to upskill the research workforce in disciplines such as bioinformatics and data science.

Lisa’s previous experience includes research management for the Medical Research Council maintaining their portfolio for health services and public health research. Prior to that she trained as a research fellow with a focus on immunotherapy.

Simon Denegri OBE is National Director for Patients, Carers and the Public in Research at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). He was Chair of INVOLVE – the national advisory group for the promotion and support of public involvement in research funded by NIHR – from 2011 until 2017. 

He was Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) from 2006 until 2011 and, prior to this, Director of Corporate Communications at the Royal College of Physicians from 2003.  He also worked in corporate communications for Procter & Gamble in the United States from 1997 to 2000.   

He writes and speaks extensively about community and public involvement in health and social care and blogs in a personal capacity at He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018 for services to NHS, social care and public health research.

Gary Ford is Chief Executive of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, Consultant Stroke Physician at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Professor of Stroke Medicine at Oxford University. Professor Ford graduated from Cambridge University and held a clinical pharmacology fellowship at Stanford University, USA, before returning to the UK and establishing a comprehensive stroke service in Newcastle in the early 1990s.

He held the Jacobson Chair of Clinical Pharmacology at Newcastle University from 2007–2013 and was Director of the NIHR Stroke Research Network from 2005–2014. Professor Ford has been involved in many service innovations in UK stroke care in the last 25 years, including developing the first thrombolysis protocol for acute stroke in England, and developed the Face Arm Speech Test (FAST), now used to increase public and professional awareness of stroke. He chaired the Emergency Response Working Group of the English Stroke Strategy. He was awarded the CBE in 2013 for services to research in stroke medicine. In 2018 he was identified as one of seven key researchers whose work has transformed care in the NHS.

Zoë Gray has been the Director of INVOLVE since 2016 and is based in Southampton. INVOLVE is the lead for the advancement of patient involvement and engagement in health and care research across the NIHR and beyond, and is sought out and admired internationally for its leadership, expertise and resources.

An avid champion of public involvement, and coproduction, across research and service delivery, before joining INVOLVE, Zoë was Chief Executive of a charity which improved the health, work and wellbeing of over 5000 individuals and families per year, who were facing signficant life challenges. Prior to this, Zoë was responsible for the strategic allocation and use of multi-million programmes of European Structural Invstment Funding (ESIF) across the South East region, building on previous work securing and delivering economic regeneration programmes through local authorities and cross-sectoral (as well as transnational) partnerships. Recently, Zoë has been a Board member of a Local Economic partnership and the Chair of their ESIF Committee, reporting to the National Growth Board.


Professor Ian Hall is currently the Boots’ Professor of Therapeutics at the University of Nottingham and Director of the NIHR-Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre.  His main clinical interest is in respiratory medicine. He completed his clinical studies at the University of Oxford before moving to Nottingham in 1986. Subsequently he was an MRC travelling fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and National Asthma Campaign Senior Research Fellow back in Nottingham.  

From 2009-2015 he was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Projects in his laboratory focus upon genetic approaches to the study of airway diseases with a special emphasis on asthma and COPD, and studies on cell signalling mechanisms in cells relevant to airway pathology. He was a member of the MRC PSMB board (2006-2010), Chair of the MRC Clinical Fellowship panel (2011-2015), and a clinical medicine panel member in both the 2008 RAE and REF 2014.


Dr Matthew Hallsworth is Head of External Relations for the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI). He leads on external stakeholder relations, including engagement with the pharmaceutical industry.

NOCRI works with companies and other research partners to support collaboration with the UK’s expert investigators and research facilities funded by the UK Department of Health, from early-phase translational medicine through to later-phase clinical trials.

Prior to NOCRI Matthew was Head of Communications at the UK Clinical Research Collaboration – a partnership of government, charities, industry, the NHS, academia, regulators and patients focused on improving the clinical research environment in the UK.

Professor Elaine Hay is Professor of Community Rheumatology and the Director, Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University. Elaine obtained a degree in medicine from University of Sheffield. She undertook her postgraduate training in the Manchester region and, whilst an Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) Research Fellow at the ARC Epidemiology Unit Manchester, completed her MD in 1992. She joined the Haywood Rheumatology Centre, Stoke on Trent and Keele University as a Senior Lecturer / Honorary Consultant in 1994 and was awarded a personal Chair in 2003.

Her research focuses on investigating the efficacy and clinical effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatments for musculoskeletal pain and arthritis presenting in primary care. The research has contributed to national policies and international guidelines, and has influenced service redesign. Elaine's leadership roles include board membership of the NIHR School for Primary Care, UoA2 panel membership REF 2014, and Chair of Arthritis Research UK's Pain Clinical Studies Group. In recognition of her contribution to primary care research, she was awarded Distinguished Membership of the British Society for Rheumatology in 2016 and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of General Practice in 2017. Elaine is a NIHR Senior Investigator.

Martin is Programme Director of NIHR Invention for Innovation, a translational funding programme. i4i aims to support and advance the research and development of innovative healthcare technologies and their translation into the clinical environment for the benefit of patients. Martin has over 30 years’ experience in the life science industry, with executive and NED roles in large multi-nationals, SMEs and public companies.

He was Chief Executive of Tissue Science Laboratories plc and led the company from angel funding as a start-up, a listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2001 through to the sale to Covidien in 2008. Since then, in addition to his Programme Director role for the NIHR, he has been Chair or NED on the Boards of nine early stage Medtech and Biotech companies. He is currently active on the boards of three companies, chairing two of these.


Professor Dave Jones is Dean for the NIHR Academy and is responsible for assisting NIHR and universities in the leadership training and career management of all trainees funded through NIHR Integrated Academic Training Schemes and NIHR Personal Awards Schemes. NIHR Academy Members are likely to be the next generation of health researchers and show the potential to become leaders in their particular field and whose research is people or patient-focused and relevant to the NHS.

David Jones is Professor of Liver Immunology at Newcastle University and the PI for the UK-PBC Research Consortium developing stratified therapies in autoimmune liver disease. He is also an Honorary Consultant Hepatologist in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


Lynn Kerridge has been the Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) since it was established in April 2008. Lynn manages the identifying, prioritising, funding, delivery, publication, and dissemination of high-quality research and leads other NIHR initiatives to meet the needs of the public, patients and the health and care system.

Prior to that,  Lynn was the Executive Director of the NHS R&D National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment and has worked in the University of Southampton for over 20 years. Lynn did a science degree and has a MSc in health promotion and trained as a manager through British Telecommunications direct graduate entrant management scheme. Lynn has a particular interest in public health.


Dr David King is the Director of the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility based in Twickenham, which means that he is responsible for a team of more than 120 people managing more than £370m pa of research programme and infrastructure funding for NIHR, including the NIHR i4i, Policy Research, Programme Grants for Applied Research and Research for Patient Benefit programmes, and NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, CLAHRCs and Research Schools.  David also has overall management responsibility for the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) and represents it on the NIHR Strategy Board.

Before joining CCF in 2008, David was a member of the Department of Health’s R&D Directorate, where he worked on the implementation of a number of NIHR funding schemes, including Biomedical Research Centres and Units, the School for Primary Care Research, CLAHRCs and Programme Grants for Applied Research. Prior to that, David was an R&D Manager in an NHS Trust for five years and also spent eleven years at the Medical Research Council's Head Office, including one year on secondment to the Wellcome Trust.


Professor Nick Lemoine is the Medical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, having joined the Executive Team in May 2014. His primary role is to direct the Specialty Cluster Leads and Specialty National Leads in the development of strategic and implementation plans to support the delivery of high quality research studies by a well trained workforce. His senior team will also be working on the implications of emerging technologies and innovations for the Network, exploiting the wealth of intelligence and experience in the five universities that constitute the Alliance Partnership (Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Imperial College and King’s College London).

Nick trained in physiology and medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, graduating with the University of London Gold Medal. He subsequently undertook both a PhD at the University of Wales and then an MD degree at the University of London. His clinical training in pathology and molecular oncology was completed at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital. In 1996 he was made a professor at Imperial College where he directed the CR-UK Molecular Oncology Unit focusing on biological therapies including vaccines for cancer, and then in 2004 moved to become Director of the Barts Cancer Institute in London which has recently been ranked as one of the world’s top ten university departments of cancer research. He is also presently Director of Research & Development for Cancer & Surgery at Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest NHS Trust in the country.



Stuart Logan is Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology and Director of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for the South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC) and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Foundation Trust. PenCLAHRC aims to bring together service users, clinicians, managers and academics to promote the explicit use of research evidence in practice and achieve health gain by conducting patient-focussed research which addresses key issues for practice and policy and by developing effective methods for the implementation of evidence.  

Stuart’s own research is primarily in child health, with a focus on childhood disability and mental health, public health and the effective organisation of services. He has a particular interest in the effective engagement of children and families in the design, conduct and implementation of research.

Professor Danny McAuley became Director of the NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme in 2019. He is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University of Belfast, and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

A key aim of his research work is to translate early research findings to improve patient outcomes. His major interest is the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). His other current research interests include nosocomial infection, sepsis diagnostics, delirium in critical illness and interventions to enhance recovery from critical illness. His other roles include Co-Director of Research for the UK Intensive Care Society.

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone is Programme Director, and Chair of the HS&DR Funding Committee. She is Professor of Health Services and Implementation Research, and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Impact at Bangor University. Jo is also the Chair of the National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (NICE) Implementation Strategy Group, and is a Senior Research Leader for Health and Care Research Wales.

Jo has established an international reputation for mixed methods research that helps to both explain and bridge the evidence – practice gap. Funding for her research has come from a variety of competitive sources including the EU’s FP7 Programme, NIHR, Economic & Social Research Council, Medical Research Council and Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Jo has accumulated a body of research that resulted in her being listed by Thomson Reuters one of the world’s highly cited researchers ( Jo has been appointed as a sub-panel member for unit of assessment 3 – allied health professions, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy for REF2021.


Jonathan Sheffield is Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health Research, Clinical Research Network. This organisation is funded by the Department of Health to support the practical delivery of both academic and commercial clinical research in the NHS, and was responsible for recruiting more than half a million patients into clinical studies last year.

Jonathan trained as a doctor at Dundee University, before following a career as a histopathologist at Yeovil District Hospital, where he was instrumental in developing its research capabilities. In 2003 he became Medical Director for the Trust, before moving on to University Hospitals Bristol – again as Medical Director.




Professor Martin White is Director of Research at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research in the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, where he leads a programme of research on food systems and public health. Martin moved to Cambridge in 2014 from Newcastle University, where he was Professor of Public Health and Director of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health at Newcastle University, one of the five UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence co-funded by NIHR.

Martin trained in Medicine at Birmingham University, from which he was also awarded an MD. He undertook specialist training in public health in the north east of England, gaining and MSc from Newcastle University, and Membership and Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health. From 2012-14, Martin was President of the UK Society for Social Medicine and from 2017-18 President of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine. He has been a member of the NIHR School for Public Health Research since 2012 and a co-investigator in the Department of Health’s Public Health Research Consortium, and more recently Policy Research Unit for Public Health since 2005. He is an NIHR Senior Investigator.


Professor Hywel Williams became Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme in 2016. He chaired the HTA commissioning board from 2010-15. Hywel cares passionately about research that is directly relevant to the NHS and is a champion of public and patient involvement in research. His research interests include randomised clinical trials and systematic reviews of interventions to prevent and treat skin diseases.

Hywel co-directs the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology at the University of Nottingham and is consultant paediatric dermatologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Hywel is an NIHR senior investigator and fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.



Martin is Director of the National Office of the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) and Chair of the RDS Strategy Group.

In these roles, he provides strategic direction and oversight to the RDS nationally and is responsible for developing and strengthening relationships between the Research Design Service and other key groups and individuals.

Martin has over 20 years’ experience of leading research support and delivery organisations and is currently Director of Research Design Service in the East Midlands.

The Research Design Service is a national network that supports researchers to develop and design high quality research proposals for submission to NIHR funding programmes and other open, national, peer reviewed funding competitions for health or social care research. The RDS represents a key contribution to the NIHR’s commitment to delivery of high quality health and social care research. 


Sue Ziebland is Professor of Medical Sociology and Director of the Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford, and has been an NIHR Senior Investigator since 2013.

Professor Ziebland is one of the founding members of the team that collects and analyses patient narratives for the public-facing website Her research interests include how patient narratives can stimulate service improvements and better clinical training; and how the internet is changing healthcare and relationships with health professionals.

Inspired by patients and practice, the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme generates research evidence for the benefit of users of the NHS in England, so that the huge potential for improving, expanding and strengthening the way that healthcare is delivered for patients, the public and the NHS is realised.

The Programme Director works with Chairs from across the eight RfPB Regional Advisory Panels to assess and fund research applications.


Dr Louise Wood is accountable to the Department’s Chief Scientific Adviser (Professor Chris Whitty) for policy and NIHR’s budget  to ensure it delivers ground-breaking research to improve patient care and population health, and cements the UK’s reputation as a leading international centre for healthcare research and science. As the Department of Health and Social Care's Director of Science, Research and Evidence, she also has responsibility for science policy and research to support evidence-based policy making.

She previously held a variety of posts in the Department’s Science, Research and Evidence Directorate and at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, where she served on the Agency’s Board as founding Director for the General Practice Research Database, forerunner to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. She recently spent a year on secondment as Director of Policy and Public Affairs at  the Association of Medical Research Charities.

Louise has an honours degree in physiology from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in biomedical science from the University of London.

Mike is accountable for the NIHR Programmes, including the:

  • Policy Research Programme
  • Global Health Research Programme
  • NIHR translational and applied research programmes including HTA, HS&DR, EME, PHR, i4i, RfPB, PGfAR
  • NIHR Schools for Public Health, Primary Care and Social Care
  • Research Design Service

In addition to his NIHR-facing accountabilities, Mike is part of the Department of Health and Social Care analytical team leadership.

Mike has held a number of policy, strategy and delivery roles within DHSC and other Government Departments. Prior to his time in the civil service, Mike undertook research in medical statistics and quantitative genetics.




Dr Tony Soteriou is accountable for a number of areas of NIHR, including:


  • The NIHR Faculty which is the collective term for the people we support to lead and deliver health research, and to train as the next generation of health researchers. This is a diverse group of people – including academic researchers, operational delivery professionals and those training as future applied health researchers.
  • NIHR research infrastructure provides world-class facilities in the health and care system to undertake and support research. This encompasses NIHR Clinical Research Network, Clinical Research Facilities, Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (co-funded with Cancer Research UK), Biomedical Research Centres, Patient Safety Translational Research Centres, Medtech and In-Vitro Diagnostics Cooperatives, and Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care.
  • Collaborations with Industry, and supporting the Government’s life sciences industrial strategy and maximising NIHR’s contribution to wider economic growth.


Prior to working at the Department of Health and Social Care, Tony has held research leadership and management roles in the NHS, the NHS Executive and the UK Medical Research Council. Tony has a BSc (Hons) and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cardiff, Wales, and undertook postdoctoral research funded by the British Heart Foundation, at the University of Bristol.


Mark is accountable for a number of aspects of NIHR systems, including:

  • Overall NIHR financial monitoring and planning, including NIHR policy on Research Capability Funding and Excess Treatment Costs
  • The NIHR contract and elements of NIHR procurement, including procurement of the NIHR Co-ordinating Centres
  • Cross-NIHR Information Systems and data policy
  • Analysis of NIHR research impact
  • NIHR communications policy
  • Supporting NIHR Strategy Board

In addition to his NIHR-facing accountabilities, Mark is responsible for sponsorship of the Health Research Authority.

Mark has held a number of policy, strategy and delivery roles within DHSC and other Government Departments. Prior to his time in the civil service, Mark was a research scientist at the Natural Environment Research Council and has a PhD in Environmental Biology from the University of Liverpool.