Research and Innovation

Research in SSSFT is led and managed by Ruth Lambley-Burke supported by a skilled Research and Innovation (R&I) team located at sites across Shropshire, Staffordshire and surrounds.

We deal with all aspects of R&I including NHS permissions, setting up studies, grant applications and offering support and guidance on specific studies that sit on the NIHR portfolio.

We have a team of Clinical Studies Officers (CSOs) and research nurses who are embedded within the R&I team that support specifically NIHR studies, individual researchers and evaluation services.

Below is more information on the SSSFT delivery team and professorial unit.

SSSFT Research and Innovation Team

Ruth started her research journey in 2001. Ruth has worked in a number of research management roles including holding a regional position across West Midlands South as an employee of the National Institute of Research (NIHR) as a Research Manager and regional training lead 2010 to 2014.  Ruth continues to hold an advisory role regionally sitting on the West Midlands steering committee for the ENRICH programme and is also a member of the continuous improvement regional strategy group. Within the Trust Ruth is responsible for leading the Trust’s research strategy, working closely with the Professorial team to support and develop home grown research. Ruth leads on resource management and planning. She is responsible for reporting to Trust Board and other Trust Committees, supporting external funding applications, performance management of open studies and ensuring that all research projects meet national governance standards also providing guidance and support to staff and researchers across the organisation.  Ruth is also a certified leader and applies the Virginia Mason lean methodology approach to all areas of work.

Tel: 01785 783124

Audrey has been involved with the NHS since 1980. She transferred into Research in 2009 as a Governance Administrator and subsequently as Governance Facilitator and is responsible for all governance checks on both Portfolio and Non–Portfolio studies. She represents the department on the research Group with Staffordshire and Keele University.


Tel: 01785 783170


Tel: 01785 783780

Debra is Research Assistant and PA to Prof Athula as part of a secondment programme.  She has a background in laboratory based research and has a PhD in medical science (Neuroscience). She is currently writing proposals to start her own research project. She has an interest in post partum depression.


Tel: 01785 783183

David joined the Trust in 2008; he manages a wide range of evaluation projects and provides support and advice to colleagues who undertake research and evaluation in the context of post-graduate studies of service improvement. His recent interests include the development of new ways of working in mental health care (e.g. non-medical prescribing, functionalisation, assisitive technology) and the involvement of service users in research and in service provision and development (i.e. co-production). David previously worked with the National Children’s Bureau where he focussed on research and evaluation of projects aiming at developing education and health outcomes for Children Looked After.

Tel: 01785 783176

Tina took up her post with the trust following completion of a three year PhD studentship with Staffordshire University in 2013.  In her role as Research Project Lead she is responsible for the delivery of two research projects.  Tina has a BSc (with 1st class hons) in Psychology and counselling from the University of Derby and expects to submit her PhD thesis in November 2014.

She also holds post graduate certificates in Research Methods and Higher and Professional Education. Prior to commencement of her PhD studies she worked for the trust’s CAMHs service in a support worker role.


Liz qualified as a registered general nurse in 1996, and specialised in palliative and end of life care; most recently she has worked for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Alzheimer’s Society. Her research experience involves working as a research nurse within oncology on various clinical trials; she also have a postgraduate certificate in the history of medicine and a postgraduate diploma in end of life care.


Tel: 01785 783179

Suzanne is a Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in clinical research.She has taken a keen interest in training and workforce development for much of her career. During the past 10 she has been instrumental in the establishment of training collaborations within the Network. Her driving force remains that of the patient experience, their choice and safety throughout the research journey. She was a GCP examiner for the RCP Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicines and has worked with the NIHR CRN Coordinating Centre Workforce Development team as an Associate for the past 5 years, contributing as a subject matter expert on the GCP Courses design and delivery models.

She has an enthusiastic and pragmatic approach and sees her role very much an enabler for research teams within the Trust to access quality training though a rolling programme of education. To assist in the sharing and development of systems and processes to support a high standard of research management and delivery within the NHS.


Tim started in the Research and Innovation department in early 2010 having had a variety of research experience and earning various graduate degrees in the United States. His current role includes encouraging service user and carer participation in research & development and seeking volunteers to join our national portfolio of research studies.


Tel: 01785 783174

Leigh has been an experienced Clinical Studies Officer within the network for many years, supporting portfolio studies within the Birmingham area. Since employment with South Staffs she has successfully engaged staff and service users with in the Lichfield and Tamworth areas of the Trust. Leigh has been an important member of the team by cultivating our research culture and guiding individuals within all aspects of research.


Kim has worked for the trust in its various forms since 1992. Kim moved across to research in 2004, initially in a Research Governance role before becoming a Clinical Studies Officer in 2009. Kim has a postgraduate certificate in research methods.


Tel: 01785 783173

Paula has worked as a staff nurse for the Trust since 1997. Paula worked on the drug and alcohol detox ward for 10 years before beginning a part-time secondment with Research and Innovation in 2012. Paula now works full-time as a Research Nurse.


Tel: 01743 210000

Andy has worked for the Trust since 2000, initially as a nursing assistant before qualifying as a staff nurse in 2004. Andy worked on the drug and alcohol detox ward for 8 years before starting a secondment with Research and Innovation in 2012. Andy now works as a Research Nurse and is studying for a Masters in Clinical Research with the University of Manchester.


Associated Professors and Academic Staff

We work closely with a number of academics at Keele University as well our Associate Director of Research and Innovation, Professor Eleanor Bradley from the University of Worcester.

Eleanor Bradley smlProfessor of Health Psychology
Institute of Health & Society, University of Worcester

Associate Director of Research and Innovation
South Staffordshire & Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Eleanor Bradley is a Professor of Health Psychology. Her research interests focus on the experiences of people diagnosed with serious mental illness and she has a particular interest in communication about treatment options, admission to acute care and the impact of non-medical prescribing in practice.

She is an experienced qualitative researcher and has spent the last 10 years working closely with clinicians to develop their research skills. She is currently engaged in a number of collaborative research projects and advises on research design and methodological approaches.

She also works closely with colleagues to develop their publication and writing skills, with a view to enhancing dissemination of research. At the University of Worcester, she jointly leads a post-graduate certificate in professional practice (leadership and organisational research) and is the course leader for a professional doctorate in health science, in addition to supervising 7 PhD students.

Tel: Please contact the Stafford office on 01785 783183

Prof Athula smlProfessor of Psychiatry
Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences, Keele University

Athula Sumathipala is Professor of Psychiatry at Keele University. His research interests are centred on inter-connected disciplines. These are the epidemiology of chronic disease and multi-morbidity, especially physical and mental illness combinations; evaluation and implementation of complex interventions, using twin methods in the study of illness aetiology and ethics related to research.


Tel: Please contact the Stafford office on 01785 783175

Dr Farooq smlSenior Clinical Lecturer
Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences, Keele University

Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist
South Staffordshire & Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust

Visiting Professor
University of Chester

Saeed Farooq established an academic department of psychiatry in Pakistan which is well reputed for research on treatment of mental illness in developing countries.

He developed a Research Methodology and Medical Writing Workshop for the College of Physicians and Surgeons which later became a mandatory requirement of the Fellowship programme of the College

He developed an innovative approach for treatment of Schizophrenia in developing countries, termed as STOPS (Supervised Treatment for Schizophrenia in Outpatients) and developed a CPD module on how to work effectively through interpreters for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK. He is a member of the WHO Working group on classification of Psychosis in the ICD -11.

Tel: Please contact the Stafford office on 01785 783175

Carolyn Chew Graham smlGP Principal
Central Manchester

Professor of General Practice Research
Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences, Keele University

Honorary Professor of Primary Care Mental Health
South Staffs and Shropshire Foundation Trust

My main areas of interest and expertise include the primary care management of patients with depression, multimorbidity and unexplained symptoms. I have qualitative research methods expertise, drawing on theories from both social sciences and psychology, but always with a focus on clinical practice.

I am Royal College of General Practitioners ‘Curriculum Advisor, Mental Health’, a member of a number of National Institute for Health Research funding panels, and currently a member of the NICE Clinical Guideline Groups Depression (update) and Multimorbidity - work which directly impacts on commissioning decisions and patient care.

I am Editor of the journal Health Expectations and Associate Editor of BMC Family Practice.

Kingstone Tom smlResearch Associate
Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences, Keele University

I am a Research Associate in Mental Health at the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences at Keele University (Staffordshire). My role is supported by South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust. I am also currently studying for a Ph.D. at Keele.

My research interests include exploring experiences of mental and/or physical chronic conditions, ageing, and the role of the environment in health and well-being. My expertise lies in applying qualitative and mixed methods. I also actively encourage patient and public involvement throughout the research process.

I enjoy collaborating on research with external organisations. I have worked with various third sector organisations and also with Staffordshire Country Council as part of their work on Healthy Ageing.
And when I am not busy with research you can usually find me walking my dog, Mo.