PHRADA Who we are
Welcome, we are the PHRADA team and support people applying to the NIHR Public Health Research commissioned calls. We’re here to listen to your research ideas and support you in developing your proposal. As members of NIHR we have access to a range of resources and insight to help you on your journey.
All our team are research advisors and researchers themselves with experience of applying for funding from Research Councils, NIHR, Local Authorities, CCGs and charities. Our role is to act as a critical friend and help you develop the most competitive applications.
Our team members are:
Dr Janine Bestall (PHRADA Co-Lead)
Janine is an experienced health services researcher and public health commissioning manager (population management of patients with long term conditions). Along with the PHRADA role she is also RDS YH Deputy Director and a Senior Research Fellow in Applied Health Research based in Leeds. Her research is focussed on rehabilitation, prehabilitation, patient experience of treatments and decision making in healthcare and trials. She’s been a generic advisor for RDS YH for 7 years. Her specialist expertise is in systematic reviews, qualitative methods and mixed methods research designs.
Dr Erica Cook
Erica is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire and NIHR advisor for the Research Design Service (EoE). She is a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a Registered Health Psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Erica’s research is interdisciplinary in nature, focused on the intersection of public health and Health Psychology with a commitment to improving health outcomes for marginalised and socially disadvantaged communities). Erica has specialist expertise in mixed method research designs with experience of analysing routinely collected secondary data from a range of sources.
Dr Alexis Foster
Alexis has significant experience working with third sector organisations and public health undertaking community development, health promotion activities and establishing support services for carers. She is a mixed methods researcher focussing on topics in housing support services, social prescribing for people at risk of loneliness and community groups for people experiencing bereavement. She has completed an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship on outcomes in third sector, codesigning a toolkit for commissioners and the third sector. Alexis is a generic advisor for RDS and PHRADA and is passionate about putting people at the heart of research. She has specialist experience in undertaking participatory research and ensuring patient and public involvement is integrated into the development and delivery of studies.
Dr Louise Hayes (PHRADA Co-Lead)
Louise has a professional background in epidemiology and public health and is based in Newcastle. She has a specific interest in the prevention and management of obesity and chronic disease through lifestyle intervention. Along with co-leading the PHRADA team she has been an adviser for the RDS NENC for 6 years and is a senior methodological advisor and the hub-lead for North Cumbria. She is a generic advisor for RDS and PHRADA and has specialist expertise in mixed methods research, trials and observational studies.
Dr Sarah Hotham
Sarah is a British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow in applied health research and behavioural psychology and is based at Kent & Medway. Sarah leads a portfolio of projects focused on loneliness and social isolation in older adults including social prescribing programmes, Link Worker referral schemes and whole system approaches to improving health and wellbeing. Sarah is a generic advisor with PHRADA and has specialist experience in participatory approaches, designing evaluations in collaboration with delivery partners and commissioners in Public Health teams.
Professor Toby Prevost
Toby is the Professor of Complex Clinical Trials and Statistics at King’s College London with previous experience as a medical statistician at the Universities of Southampton and Cambridge. With extensive experience of designing trials of complex interventions and lifestyle behaviour change. He has strong interests, and is active, in study design and follow-through. A wider interest in public health research arose from serving on the NIHR Public Health Research Funding Committee (2014-2020) and on NICE Public Health Advisory Committees (2008-2020). Toby leads the Nightingale-Saunders Unit, part of the King’s CTU. He has worked as a statistical advisor with the predecessor of the RDS in the East of England, and the London RDS at King’s and is specialist advisor for complex public health studies.
Professor Gerry Richardson
Gerry is a Professor of Health Economics based in York. He has been with the RDS for 10 years and has been involved in research for over 25 years. Gerry’s area of expertise is health economics and cost-effectiveness analysis, though he also has a broad understanding of quantitative techniques. He is currently a panel member on the Research for Patient Benefit (West Midlands) panel, a sub panel member of the Programme Grants for Applied Research and panel member of a Cancer Research UK funding stream.
Dr Jennifer Lynch
Jenni has a professional background in Local Authority commissioning for social care and is based in Hertfordshire. She is Senior Research Fellow and has completed an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellow (2018-2021) in the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC). Her research focuses on support provided to older people living in the community with complex health and social care needs, with a particular interest in technology enabled care. She is a generic advisor for RDS and PHRADA and has specific expertise in mixed methods research.
Dr Ben Thomas
Ben is an experienced study manager and qualitative researcher working in the commercial sector and Universities to evaluate public health interventions. He has been a study manager on observational studies utilizing routinely collected health data, most notably for the Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage (PRIEST) study. He is a generic advisor for RDS and PHRADA.