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Senior Research Leader - Nursing & Midwifery Programme


Published: 24 August 2022

Version: 1.0- August 2022

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Building on the success of the 70@70 programme NIHR’s new Senior Research Leader (SRL) Programme for Nurses and Midwives launched in April 2023.  

Programme purpose

The aim of the three-year SRL programme is to unlock the research potential of many more senior nurses and midwives. The NIHR wants to empower SRL’s to further increase research capacity and capability at a local, regional and national level and to support their development as future research leaders.

The Senior Research Leader Programme: Nursing and Midwifery will ensure nurses and midwives have dedicated time to share their learnings across organisations and the wider NHS.

2023 Cohort

The first cohort of the programme will run from April 2023 until March 2026.

The 36 Senior Research leaders were selected from a range of healthcare settings, specialism and roles across the country with

  • 3% of the new cohort coming from a community or healthcare settings
  • A quarter of cohort members are midwives or work in hybrid roles. 

“I am extremely proud to have been selected to join the 2023 cohort of the NIHR SRL programme. It will enable me to drive forward necessary change to promote, develop and integrate the essential role of the Research Midwife and Nurse. This programme will support me to continue to work as a senior leader within my organisation  by providing me with the necessary time and valuable tools to achieve the ambition of our priorities.” Fiona Yelnoorkar, NENC CRN Lead Midwife

Cohort members 

  • Aderonke Adebiyi, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Associate Director of Nursing Research
  • Alison Finch, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Assistant Chief Nurse
  • Angela Kerrigan, Wirral University Teaching Hospital, Consultant Midwife
  • Ann Muls, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Macmillan Nurse Consultant GI consequences of cancer treatment and applied health researcher
  • Ashfaque Talpur, University of Sheffield and Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Research Fellow
  • Catherine Laven, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lead Research Nurse and Head of Nursing Research
  • Christine Adamson, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Lead Research Nurse & Delivery Manager
  • Darren Savarimuthu, North East London Foundation NHS Trust, Associate Director of Nursing & Quality
  • Diane McCarter, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner /Postgraduate researcher
  • Donna Clements, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, Clinical Research Nurse
  • Dr Alison Cooke, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Assistant Director of NMAHP Research and Academic Development
  • Dr Christina Heaton, Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching NHS Trust, Consultant Nurse & NMAHP Research Lead
  • Eleanore Dring, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Institute of Care Excellence Clinical Lead (Research & Innovation)
  • Evelyn Dolan, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Lead Research Nurse / CRUK Senior Research Nurse
  • Fiona Yelnoorkar, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NENC CRN Lead Midwife - currently on secondment as Research Matron until August 2023
  • Helen Pluess-Hall, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust , Paediatric Research Sister
  • Helen Walthall, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Director of Nursing and Midwifery Research and Innovation
  • Jackie Buck, Barts Health NHS Trust, Associate Director Clinical Research
  • John Smith, Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Lead Nurse ACET Research
  • Karen Palmer, Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, Research Nurse Manager
  • Karl Ward, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Lead Nurse for Research and Innovation Education
  • Katrina Rigby, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Senior Research Midwife/Women & Children's Research Team Leader
  • Kirsty Marshall, University of Salford, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow
  • Lizelle Bernhardt, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Clinical Academic Careers Pathway Lead
  • Maria Joao Cardoso Teixeira, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Nursing Research Lead
  • Mary Alvarez, North Bristol Trust, Senior Research Midwife
  • Paul French, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Clinical Academic
  • Sarah Daniel, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, Head of Research
  • Stephanie Heys, The North West Ambulance Service, Consultant Midwife
  • Tracey Long, Rotherham Doncaster & South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Nurse Consultant
  • Verna Lavender, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS FT, Head of Guy's Cancer Academy UK
  • Yana Richens, Liverpool Womens Hospital, Director of Midwifery
  • Nicola Manning, University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Trust, Research Matron
  • Anne Hunt, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Deputy Director of Nursing and Partnerships

The role of a Senior Research Leader

Our Senior Research leaders:

  • Promote the importance of a vibrant integrated research culture to improve quality of care and health outcomes.
  • Use their strategic experience to drive transformation within the NIHR and wider healthcare landscape.
  • Are proactive champions for developing nurse and midwife research capacity and capability through supporting an integrated research delivery culture in their care setting
  • Encourage research collaborations and the interdisciplinary sharing of research knowledge and skills (dissemination) throughout their care setting
  • Expand national networks in a variety of secondary, community and social care settings to lead and influence changes in nursing and midwifery research practice
  • Actively link in with the wider work of the NIHR, and contribute to its future development
  • Support the development of future research leaders within the NIHR Academy
  • Identify research priorities that relate to frontline nursing and midwifery practice issues
  • Have a strong commitment and drive to promote equitable and inclusive practices within their centres

Future opportunities

The SRL programme will recruit nurses and midwives on an annual basis, through a competitive application process, with nurses and midwives remaining on the programme for three years. Information about applications for the second cohort of SRL’s will be available later in 2023.