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Case study: CRN Wessex’s new Research Delivery Manager

Within her remit, Zoë manages four workstreams: public health, social care, patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) and under-served communities.

I trained in demography at the University of Southampton and went onto teach demography and research methods. This included as Courses Coordinator and Lecturer for the Economic and Social Research Council’s Centre for Applied Social Surveys.  

As Research Associate at Loughborough University, I collaborated on a Medical Research Council funded project investigating health inequalities in South Africa, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.  

At Bournemouth University, I provided research methods support for people doing health research, advising on the design, conduct, analysis, and dissemination of projects. This included supporting funding applications as part of the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s Research Design Service.

I then went onto further build capacity in quantitative research methods as Senior Lecturer in quantitative research methods. I also led the impact agenda within the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, facilitating making sure research made a difference.

In an attempt to do this more, I moved into the NHS as Head of Research at Dorset County Hospital. I grew a more collaborative research culture involving patient research ambassadors, clinical academic careers and research led by the hospital.

I therefore bring a background in demography and socio-economics/health inequalities to the role. Having worked on many research projects (including in public health and social care) both in academia and the NHS, I bring an understanding of the challenges that researchers face as well as networks and experience of publishing and applying for funding. I am passionate about patient and public involvement and engagement and making a difference.  

About my role

I am excited to build on this experience in my role at CRN Wessex and have the privilege of working with experts in the field, Professor Julie Parkes, CRN Wessex Specialty Lead for Public Health, and Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, CRN Wessex Specialty Lead for Social Care, to build capacity and grow research in these areas.  In particular, we are working with researchers embedded within local authorities to facilitate this and hope to Enable Research in Care Homes.  

With oversight from the Steering Group, we will be managing a specific budget to target communities under-served by research (please see INCLUDE guidance for more details) as well as a Small Grant Scheme.

Related to this we will be working with community champions as part of the Research Ready Communities initiative to better understand perceptions and barriers to research and co-produce an action plan to implement in order to address and increase ‘research readiness’.  

Similarly, Dr Damian Jenkinson, CRN Wessex Division 2 Lead and Specialty Lead for Stroke and Consultant Physician at University Hospitals Dorset, and I will be working with our public contributors to ensure the research we do is relevant and accountable, with the patient perspective importantly central to everything we do.  

With this in mind, we will also be delivering the Participant in Research Experience Survey to obtain valuable feedback from research participants and establish improvement projects to address the findings. 

Please do get in touch with me at if you’re interested in any of these workstreams. I look forward to working with you.