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Spotlight: Project Manager Alison Anstead

The NIHR CRN South London’s Project Manager Alison Anstead speaks about her varied role and path into research.

The aim of this monthly spotlight blog series is to celebrate, highlight, educate and inform the public about the diverse range of people who support vital research studies from within our region. We are proud of everyone who plays their part in contributing to improving the health of the population.

What do you do?

I've recently joined CRN South London as a Project Manager. The CRN is involved in many interesting projects, and my role is to provide day-to-day project management support to ensure everything is carefully planned out, progresses according to plan and is delivered on time.

What do you enjoy the most about this role?

I'm still quite new to the role, but what appealed most to me was how varied it is. I have been given a fantastic opportunity to work closely with many different teams, on a wide range of projects.

At the moment, I'm involved in a project to revamp our induction programme in time for this year's ‘Greenshoots’ initiative (which provides funding and support to new principal investigators). There is also a lot of exciting project work going on around facilitating research in non-NHS settings, which is being supported by our brilliant direct delivery team.

How would you describe yourself?

I'm very empathetic and a good listener. I'm also calm, friendly and approachable and enjoy helping others. I would say I'm quite resilient as I tend to focus on the positive side of things.

Why did you join CRN South London?

I first became aware of research networks when I started working for the NIHR in 2010 as a CRN-funded Clinical Trials Administrator in my local hospital in Kent. I then joined CRN North Thames in 2013 and gained a lot of experience over the years in NHS study set-up, research governance and delivery. It's amazing to look back and see how far things have progressed in that time, with more efficient approval processes being introduced, more people being given the opportunity to take part in research and new treatments being developed. I've learnt so much from working across many specialties and in different regions, and I'm very excited to join this friendly team and work for my third CRN!

What are you interested in?

I've always loved music and listen to most genres. Music is definitely my best subject when it comes to quizzes! My dad taught me to play the keyboard when I was young, and I took flute lessons all through school. I've recently started learning about music production, but this is very much a work in progress! I also enjoy trips to the theatre with my mum, cooking, reading and learning languages - I studied French and Law at university and I'm currently teaching myself Korean, having started watching Korean films and dramas during the pandemic.

Why are you involved in research?

I've always been proud to support research in the NHS, and now we have the opportunity to work with non-NHS settings and to give even more people access to vital research. It's inspiring to work in an environment where everyone is focussed on collaboration, thinking outside the box and in making a difference to the lives of south Londoners.

Why is research important?

Research helps us to answer important questions, such as how to diagnose, treat and prevent different conditions. Research brings people together to share their knowledge and ideas to develop new and improved vaccines, medical devices and medicines, as well as to improve overall quality of life for everyone. Our work also gives patients, members of the public and carers a voice and the opportunity to influence how care is provided in the future.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.