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Dr Helen Macdonald appointed Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR CRN Eastern

Dr Helen Macdonald appointed Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR CRN Eastern

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has appointed Dr Helen Macdonald as Chief Operating Officer of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network for Eastern, which is hosted regionally by the Trust. 

The NIHR is the largest funder of health research in the country and it helps patients to take part in research studies that contribute towards improving treatments for the future. The NIHR’s Clinical Research Network is its delivery arm, supporting teams in the NHS and social care to carry out high quality research, as well as funding training and facilities.

As Chief Operating Officer, Helen will ensure that the Network's activities across the Eastern area continue to be carried out effectively, and that funding of approximately £19 million per year is allocated to local providers of NHS and social care services to support their involvement in clinical research.

Helen will take up the role in June, bringing a wealth of experience to the post having worked in research management for over 15 yearsHelen is currently a Research Delivery Manager for the NIHR in the region, heading up the Network’s Primary Care division and leading its Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement programme.

She said: “I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to help CRN Eastern continue to grow and, by working with all our partners, to offer an excellent service to our research teams so patients and the public can benefit from taking part in research. I am determined that the NIHR's drive to encourage every person to Be Part of Research will continue to underpin the work of our teams with my support.”

Mark Davies, Chief Executive at NNUH, said: “The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as host of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for Eastern, is very grateful to Fiona Robertson for her role in enabling NHS research to flourish across region. Helen MacDonald is an excellent appointment and am sure will continue, and build on her predecessor’s achievements.”

John Sitzia, National Chief Operating Officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network nationally said: "The NIHR is indebted to Fiona Robertson for her excellent operational leadership of the network over the past five years, and we are very pleased to welcome Helen Macdonald as the network's new Chief Operating Officer. Helen has an outstanding track record in NIHR networks over many years and unparalleled local knowledge, and we are delighted that she will be joining the CRN Eastern senior leadership team."