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Senior Research Leader - Nursing & Midwifery Programme


Published: 03 April 2023

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 three-year SRL programme aims 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.

Professor Catherine Henshall, SRL Programme Director and Associate Director of Nursing and Midwifery has said:

“Our new NIHR Senior Research Leader programme for nurses and midwives will build on the success of the NIHR Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leader or '70@70' programme. It will provide time and create opportunities for SRL's to fully utilise their senior research leadership capabilities to drive forward meaningful changes within their own organisations and beyond. The programme places nurses and midwives at the heart of healthcare research, increasing their profile as established research leaders and highlighting their sustained value and contribution to the NIHR and the wider research community.”

Echoing this one of our new SRLs, Fiona Yelnoorkar has shared their thoughts on being awarded a place on the programme:

“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, North East North Cumbria (NENC) Clinical Research Nurse (CRN) Lead Midwife.

2024 Cohort applications 

Applications are now closed for the 2024 cohort of the Senior Research Leader Programme and we will share details of the new cohort in the new year.

2023 Cohort

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

The 35 Senior Research leaders were selected from a range of healthcare settings, specialism and roles across the country with

  • 33% of the new cohort coming from a community or healthcare settings
  • A quarter of cohort members are midwives or are dual-trained. 

Senior Research Leaders 

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

The role of a Senior Research Leader

Our Senior Research leaders will:

  • 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.
  • Be 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