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UOA 12 - Allied Health Professions and Studies

Sheffield Hallam University

RA5a: Research environment and esteem


 Within the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, the Biomedical Research Centre (BMRC) and the Centre for Health and Social Care Research (CHSCR) are being returned together in UoA12. In 2001, the two centres were returned separately (UoA11a and b). Since 2001, the Allied Health Professions and Studies research at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) has been radically transformed through a University policy of strategic investment for research and the promotion of interdisciplinary working. SHU has made a further commitment to health related research by the appointment in 2006 of Prof MA Smith (returned in this UoA) as Pro VC for Research, who has a track record in allied health research. 

Major achievements since RAE2001 include: (i) major external grants from BBSRC, EPSRC and Wellcome Trust with a greater than three fold increase in total income (ii) increased numbers of research active staff (13 returned in 11a/b in 2001, compared with 24 FTE in 2008) (iii) increased numbers of PhD students, including externally funded studentships and (iv) increased quality and numbers of outputs. 



2.1 Introduction

Woodroofe  was appointed Head of BMRC in 2005. Currently 17.6FTE academic staff are actively engaged in research together with 9 postdoctoral researchers and 25 PhD students. 33 PhD and 3 MPhil degrees were awarded in the current RAE period. Staff have gained external funding of over £2.2M (2001 -7), compared with £671K in RAE2001 and published over 160 peer reviewed publications since 2001.

Considerable progress against RAE2001 plans has been achieved. There has been an expansion of research in chronic inflammatory diseases and further enhancement of our portfolio and increased research capacity in specific areas of biomedical and analytical science. The new areas of growth reflect eight new academic staff appointments since 2001 as well as increased research activity of existing staff, enhancing opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary work. 

BMRC has worked more closely with the commercial sector to exploit our research capabilities. This has been enhanced by two posts: (i) a business development manager, supported by a 3 year DTI Biotechnology Exploitation Platform grant of £150K and (ii) a commercial, business-focussed postdoctoral researcher funded by SHU’s strategic investment fund. These posts are now funded through income generated by BMRC consultancy contracts.

2.2 Research Infrastructure and Facilities

Funding from the Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) was used to create two floors of laboratory space with designated facilities including: cell culture, microscopy and bioanalytical laboratory. Further SRIF investment supported the acquisition of major instrumentation by the bioanalytical group; Applied Biosystems "Q-Star Pulsar i" hybrid quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometer,  Shimadzu Biotech "Xcise" gel processing and sample preparation proteomics robot and  Horiba Jobin-Yvon Activa inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer. A Zeiss confocal microscope, i cycler real-time PCR machine, DNA microarray scanner, flow cytometer with cell sorting, TECAN liquid handling robot with Genios plus plate reader, an electrophysiology rig, a 5-litre fermentor for bacteria that oxidise gaseous hydrocarbons and a bioinformatics suite including DNA star software for in silico molecular analyses, were funded through SRIF, considerably enhancing our capabilities.

2.3 Research Structure 

Research is focussed into four themes, each lead by an experienced researcher with an international reputation. Five working groups manage specific aspects of the business of the BMRC: Equipment, Ethics, Health and Safety, Business Development and RAE.

There is a stimulating program of weekly meetings with presentations from external speakers and a cycle of presentations by PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. 

Summer studentships to support undergraduate research projects have been obtained from: The Wellcome Trust, Biochemical Society, Society for Applied Microbiology and the Society for General Microbiology. This brings together undergraduate students from SHU and other universities and contributes to the research ethos. 

2.4 BMRC Research Activities.

2.4.1. Disease mechanisms - Woodroofe (lead), Abell, Bunning, Cross, Hadden, Haddock, Laird, Princivalle, Sellers and Stanley

Research areas can be broadly divided into two key themes: (i) Chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases and (ii) Model systems; with a third emerging theme in gut microbiology and disease. 

(i) Research on multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, arthritis and recurrent miscarriage is longstanding in BMRC. In MS, Woodroofe has further developed her work on chemokines in collaboration with international research groups (outputs 1 and 3) and neurologists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STHNHSFT) (2), which has facilitated engagement with MS patients and led to 9 journal articles co-authored with clinicians and two PhD degree completions at Sheffield University, supervised by Woodroofe. A current MS Society funded PhD studentship (£85K) in collaboration with the Open University is a continuation of this research as is a £50K Sheffield Hospitals Charitable Trust award (started 10/07). Woodroofe's expertise in chemokine biology was exploited in a joint PhD studentship with Watson and Weetman, Sheffield University, in identifying their role in autoimmune thyroid disease (4). Woodroofe’s immunology experience has been applied to collaborative research with the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science (UoA46) to understand the immunological basis of the benefits of exercise in three patient groups; breast cancer, heart disease and MS. MS research has been extended to studies on ADAM17 and ADAMTS-1, -4, -5 and -9 with Bunning, (1, 3) Cross (2) and Haddock (1, 2), both appointed 09/06.  A key finding from this work is increased expression of ADAM17 and ADAMTS-4 in MS lesions compared to normal appearing white matter, suggesting a role in disease pathogenesis.  The work on ADAMTSs has been extended by Cross (1) to study stroke, in collaboration with Manchester University using a rat middle cerebral artery occlusion model. This work was funded by the MS Society (£106K) and the Wellcome Trust (£231K). Our research on MS immunopathogenesis is recognised internationally, evidenced by presentations at international conferences. Cross and Haddock have obtained funding (£65K awarded 06/07) from The Ryder Briggs Trust for research on ADAMTS-13 in stroke. 

Bunning and Rainsford (category B) (2, 4) investigated effects of cannabinoids on chondrocyte metabolism, in relation to their potential as anti-arthritic therapies and have shown inhibition of collagen and aggrecan breakdown in cartilage explants.  Laird investigated the role of cytokines, leptin receptors, activin and inhibin in endometrial function in relation to recurrent miscarriage in collaboration with TC Li, consultant gynaecologist, STHNHSFT (1-4).

Princivalle (appointed 01/07) has added to neuroscience expertise in BMRC with research on molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of epilepsy (1-4). A strategic investment for this research is the award of an internally funded studentship to Princivalle to work with DNA microarrays in surgically resistant temporal lobe epilepsy in collaboration with Birmingham University. 

(ii) Abell (appointed 01/06) has expertise in protein targeting to cellular compartments (1, 2), in particular targeting of tail anchored proteins, applicable to conditions including heart disease and cancer.  Abell proposed a model for the biogenesis of tail anchored proteins in vivo (3, 4) in collaboration with Manchester and McGill Universities. He was awarded a 3 year BBSRC new investigator grant (£441K, 05/07) to continue this research, which included funding for an ultracentrifuge and plant growth chambers. Abell is collaborating with Hadden on the bacterial expression of membrane proteins and Clench on the application of mass spectrometry to the study of multiprotein complexes. Hadden (appointed 01/05) is extending her research in membrane proteins (1, 2) to the study of Chlamydia Pmp proteins and their role in infection. Hadden has received funding from the Food Processing Faraday and SHU Food Innovation project (£15K) for a study on omega-3 fatty acid measurement and identification of alternative sources.

Research on the role of pathogenic and commensal bacteria in acute infection and chronic disease has recently gained impetus, led by Stanley, who previously investigated the ecology of food borne pathogens (1-3) and their interaction with commensal flora in the GI tract (4). Stanley and Sellers are identifying effects of commensal gut bacteria and microbial fermentation acids on gut motility in a diabetic rat model.

2.4.2  Pharmacology - Strong (lead), Sellers, Wlassoff

The Pharmacology group has a broad range of interests reflecting the varied backgrounds of staff, from medicinal and biochemistry to pharmacology and microbiology.   

Sellers’ expertise is in the physiological and pharmacological function of smooth muscle (1-4). Sellers is investigating the mechanisms underlying pathophysiological changes in overactive bladder, one of the most important disorders of the lower urinary tract in association with Prof Chapple (consultant urologist, STHNHSFT). Specifically, the role of muscarinic, neurokinin and serotonin receptors and their subtypes in the contraction of bladder smooth muscle, using an isolated tissue system. Sellers, in collaboration with Sheffield University (Prof Grundy), has been awarded funding (Pfizer, £65K; NHS £50K, start date 1/09/07) for animal and human in vitro studies investigating mechanisms underlying the use of botulinum toxin as a treatment for overactive bladder. 

Strong is using biochemical, molecular and cell biological approaches to characterise the oligomeric structure of native SKCa channels, with a view to understanding ion channel regulation and assembly. In studies funded by the Wellcome Trust (£126K), Strong (1-3) isolated and characterised several novel toxins from scorpion venom, including a Kv1.6 blocker and tamapin, the first selective KCa 2.2 channel blocker. With Clench, Strong (4) used MALDI-TOF and on-line LC-MS techniques for mass spectrometric fingerprinting of scorpion venoms and showed for the first time, the biotope-specific expression of venom peptides. Strong cloned and characterised a novel chloride channel neurotoxin from scorpion venom. With the Universities of Mumbai, and Singapore, Strong is developing more effective antivenoms against the Indian red scorpion. 

Wlassoff (appointed 2005) has developed novel nucleic acid technologies, including electrochemical and fluorescence detection, nucleotide mimetics and the development of photolabile compounds for studying DNA-protein interactions. Wlassoff has developed a method for the multipotential detection of electrochemical primer extension reactions on DNA self assembled monolayers and described the use of ferrocene and anthraquinone for the enzymatic redox labelling of DNA (1-4).  Wlassoff has developed a method for the targeted delivery of a tumour-activated tamoxifen derivative for the treatment of breast cancer with Professor Salganik, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

2.4.3. Bioanalytical Science - Clench (lead), Carolan, Crowther, Gardiner and RF Smith 

This group focuses on the development and application of analytical measurement and instrumentation to problems in biology, biochemistry, medicinal science and fundamental aspects of analytical techniques and their application. Research areas include: mass spectrometry imaging, measurement of nitric oxide metabolism, trace element speciation and development of analytical methodologies to study disease states.

Since 2001, the work of this group has been supported by grants from EPSRC/RSC, BBSRC, Pfizer Global R&D, GSK, Syngenta, The Royal Society and Health and Safety Laboratory. HPLC and mass spectrometers have been obtained as gifts from industrial partners including: Pfizer Global R&D, Syngenta, GSK and Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex.

Mass spectrometry research is a major activity within the BMRC. Clench has developed an internationally renowned group in mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI), evidenced by numerous external collaborations (1-4) and extensive funding. In the UK all 8 papers published on this technique to date come from the Clench group and output 2 was the second in the world to describe the application of MALDI-MSI to drug distribution in biological tissues. Initial funding from Pfizer Global R&D was followed by a collaborative project with Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex (Ontario, Canada) to further develop the instrumentation/software. This was supported by the award of two EPSRC/RSC Analytical Science studentships and extended loan of equipment from ABI/MDS Sciex. The award of BBSRC/CASE studentships by GSK and Syngenta for study of pharmaceutical distribution and agrochemical absorption respectively, has kept the group at the forefront in the UK (studentship income > £375K, 2001-7). Collaborative projects are ongoing with Universities of York (Oates) and Sheffield (Burrell) on the application of MALDI-MSI to study metabolite distribution in plant tissue; Bradford (Loadman) on distribution of novel anticancer drugs in solid tumours (1); Münster, Germany (Dreisewerd) on use of an infrared laser for imaging mass spectrometry; Florence, Italy (Francese) on small molecule imaging in skin (3), the latter collaboration was supported by a Royal Society funded 3 month visit to BMRC in 2007 by Francese. 

Crowther developed methodology based on ion chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry for detection of nitric oxide metabolites (patent, output 1) and worked in collaboration with AstraZeneca to study nitric oxide turnover in pulmonary and liver disease states, particularly those associated with alcohol abuse, (EPSRC/RSC Analytical studentship), and also developed ICP-MS for metabolomics applications with AstraZeneca.

Gardiner used a combination of instrumental techniques to study metal uptake in the bacterium, Azospirillum brasilense Sp7 in collaboration with the Russian Academy of Sciences (funded by NATO), and the Agricultural University, Athens, Greece. Gardiner developed methods for the study of essential trace elements in biological tissues important in diseases including osteoarthritis, cancer and cardiomyopathy in collaboration with University del Zulia, Venezuela (1-4).  

RF Smith has collaborated with Cozart PLC to develop immunological methods for the study of cocaine and methamphetamine (3). He developed a simple and rapid colorimetric method for assessment of smoking status. Hewson (category B) performed the organic syntheses for RF Smith (4). Carolan has applied modern surface analytical techniques to the characterisation of the status of bioprosthetic heart valves (1), in collaboration with Sheffield University and characterisation of chromatographic stationary phases (2) in collaboration with Nottingham University. Carolan and Gardiner have developed methodology for the study of heavy metals in hair (3, 4). 

2.4.4. Biocatalysis and Bioremediation - T Smith (lead), Bricklebank and Gardiner

The Biocatalysis and Bioremediation group aims to unite microbiological, analytical and genetic methods to further ‘green’ technology for remediation of diverse pollutants. It strives to investigate a range of technologies to replace traditional, polluting chemical methods and improve health.  The group’s international lead comes from development of genetic systems to engineer and express mutant monoxygenases that cannot easily be expressed using conventional technologies.

Research in bioremediation includes use of plant material to absorb metal pollutants and development of bacterial systems, particularly hydrocarbon-oxidising bacteria, for remediation of organic and heavy-metal pollutants.  Research into heavy metals in the environment, led by Gardiner, includes bioremediation and bioprecipitation of heavy metals and incorporates collaboration with Saratov, Russia.  Gardiner and T Smith recently performed the first study of heavy metal (chromium VI) remediation by a methane-oxidising bacterium, which opens new possibilities for bioremediation using this ubiquitous group of environmental microorganisms.  The group’s work on metal speciation analysis has been facilitated by collaboration with X-ray spectroscopists at Leicester and Bangor Universities and grants from CCLRC.  Work on bioremediation of hydrocarbons, led by T Smith, has included collaboration with Corus PLC to develop a biological system to remove oil contamination from iron oxide waste to permit recycling.

T Smith (appointed 2001) established the group with the aim of being a centre of excellence for genetic methods to study and exploit monooxygenase enzymes from hydrocarbon-oxidising bacteria.  Since 2003, work has been funded by two BBSRC grants (one a new investigator award, total funding £328K). The work has led to discoveries about determinants of enantioselectivity in alkene monooxygenase (2), relevant to biocatalytic synthesis of chiral epoxides (valuable starting materials for fine chemical synthesis) as well as genetic engineering of methane monooxygenase towards bioremediation of recalcitrant aromatic pollutants (1). T Smith’s work on methane monooxygenase (1, 3, 4) is a collaboration with Warwick University (Murrell) and includes investigation of the molecular mechanism of bacterial methane oxidation, which is a globally important reaction in controlling the greenhouse effect. Collaborative projects in biocatalysis are ongoing with the Universities of Montreal, Canada and, Guangzhou, China. The latter involves Warwick University (Murrell) and is supported by a BBSRC China partnering award (£15.1K), the first such grant made to a post-1992 university. T Smith collaborates with the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (UOA 29) supported by an MRC discipline hopping award (£84.5K) and in 08/07, a three year EPSRC grant (£355K) for work on immobilised bacteria to inhibit corrosion was awarded.

The group’s expertise in exploitation of nanoparticles has been led by Bricklebank and Allen (category B), and aims to develop metal nanoparticles functionalised with novel bipolar phosphonium thiosulfate ligands for use as biosensors (e.g. for DNA) and as therapeutic agents. Bricklebank and Gardiner are exploring the use of biological agents (bacteria, plants, alginate) for formation of gold nanoparticles for detection of drugs and environmental pollutants (1).  Bricklebank also investigates electronically active materials and molecular self-assembly, in particular the role that intermolecular halogen interactions and charge-transfer processes play in biological processes, which includes collaborations with Universities of Zaragoza, Spain (2, 4), Strathclyde (2, 4) and Southampton (1 -4). 

2.5 Five Year Strategy

Research will focus on the four thematic areas, which have proven successful in stimulating research synergies and generating external income. The objectives for BMRC are to:

  • Continue to develop the quality and volume of research in the four thematic areas and build upon current collaborations in the UK and overseas, through external funding from research councils, industry, charity and FP7.
  • Ensure completion rates in excess of 70% within 4 years for current PhD students, with the aim of obtaining a BBSRC studentship quota.
  • Increase the international profile and enhance research activity through the secondment of international researchers into BMRC.
  • Build upon our successes in applied research to increase our engagement with industry and double our income from research consultancy.
  • Exploit the opportunities for multidisciplinary research within SHU, as exemplified by several ongoing research projects with Centre for Sport and Exercise Science and Materials and Engineering Research Institute.

2.6 Category B staff

On retirement, Rainsford (2005) and Allen (2001) were appointed Emeritus professors and Hewson (2006) an honorary research fellow. Since retirement, Allen has published 15 research papers in peer reviewed journals, 8 are co-authored with either Bricklebank or Gardiner and 11 book chapters. Rainsford continues as editor for Inflammopharmacology and is supervisor to two BMRC PhD students; Hewson contributes to research consultancy in BMRC through his expertise in organic synthesis. Through collaboration with current staff, Bunning, Bricklebank, Gardiner and R Smith, BMRC continues to benefit from category B staff expertise.



3.1 Introduction

Under the Leadership of Mountain, appointed 2001, the Centre has gained an international reputation for high quality research in allied health, nursing and social care. CHSRC includes a multidisciplinary team of allied health professionals with nurses, social workers and social scientists. In addition to existing research staff, secondments are offered to staff in the Faculty, supported by HEFCE Capability Funding. Grant income has more than doubled from £409K in RAE2001 to £1.02M in RAE2008. Since RAE2001 (UoA11a) when no research assistants were returned, there are now two research assistants.

Strategic alliances with the NHS are central to the work of CHSCR. In 2003, Mawson was appointed to a jointly funded post as a Reader in the Centre and Head of Allied Health Research at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STHNHSFT). This unique appointment has facilitated the Centre's ability to support NHS research in generating income from pharmaceutical industry and charitable organisations (£62K).

3.2 Research Infrastructure and Facilities

All research staff are co-located in a large villa (opened in 2007), where external partners can be hosted. The Faculty boasts one of the UK's largest and best-equipped biomechanics laboratories, featuring: (i) a 12-Digital eight camera online Motion Capture and Analysis System Motion Analysis, fully synchronised for use with force platforms and EMG equipment, (ii) three Kistler floor-mounted force platforms, a portable Kistler force platform and a Kistler Gaitway force measuring treadmill, and iii) the latest digital movement data analysis and display software. 

3.3 Research structure

Since RAE2001 there has been a significant increase in research income and doctorate degree students with 14 currently enrolled, including two recently appointed EPSRC-funded students commenced in 10/07, six PhD and one MPhil students having completed between 2004-7. There is a vibrant, responsive research culture in which the involvement of industrialists, health and social care practitioners and end users of services is embedded. Allied Health Research in CHSCR is concentrated within an overarching theme of rehabilitation, defined as research into the diagnosis, prevention, adaptation and recovery from illness or adverse life events.  Within this theme there are four main areas of activity.

3.4 CHSCR Research Activities

3.4.1. Innovations in assistive technology for rehabilitation - Mountain (co-lead), Mawson (co-lead), May and Ware

The pioneering work undertaken in this group has capitalised on new innovations in sensor and digital technologies. It involves groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, integrating clinical rehabilitation researchers with engineering, design, mecatronics, informatics and digital media specialists. Mountain (2) was PI for a multidisciplinary multicentre EPSRC consortium project under the EQUAL4 (Extending Quality of Life of older and disabled people) initiative to investigate use of technology for upper limb stroke rehabilitation, which included Mawson and Ware.  This project ('SMART') commenced in 2003 and received £670K funding, has led to a formal collaboration with Philips Electronics, Aachen, Germany, and a further project 'Target' led by Mountain to further develop SMART prototypes, for clinical testing. Philips has identified the clinical and research expertise in rehabilitation at SHU as being unique across Europe (Expert Workshop, June 2007, Eindhoven).

Mountain, awarded a personal Chair in Occupational Therapy Research in 2007, the first research chair in this discipline in the UK, obtained EPSRC funding for facilitation of a multi-disciplinary workshop in 2005 to explore how the EQUAL consortia could progress, particularly in the areas of user involvement and older people. The workshop was attended by the EPSRC and has contributed to their strategy.   

Mawson collaborated with Abertay Dundee University on a proof of concept study to develop a robot for lower limb rehabilitation of spinal cord injury patients (1). The NEXOS remote rehabilitation project using an intelligent Exoskeleton with web-based control was funded by the NEAT DoH R&D programme (£237K). Further enhancing our work on innovation technologies in rehabilitation, Mawson obtained funding in 2007 with another EPSRC consortium, 'Motivating Mobility' (£578K), to develop and test the effectiveness of computer games, virtual reality and web-cam in motivating people with long-term conditions to undertake upper limb activities, during rehabilitation. This interdisciplinary project links researchers from partner Universities of Nottingham, Oxford, Dundee, Sussex and Southampton, commenced in July 07.

In June 2007, Mountain with Mawson (4), Ware and partners from the Universities of Bath, Sheffield and Ulster, were awarded further funding from EPSRC to explore how innovations in sensor and computer technologies can facilitate the ability of people with long-term health problems to self manage their rehabilitation. Mountain leads this project, which has been awarded approximately £2.98M funding across the four universities, with £800K being allocated to researchers in CHSCR from December 2007.  

May is involved in musculoskeletal rehabilitation research and is an internationally recognised expert in the Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy method of rehabilitation (1-4).  

3.4.2. Self-management in rehabilitation for people with long term conditions -Mountain (lead), Mawson and Cook 

Self-management of both long-term conditions and the consequences of the ageing process is an area where CHSCR commands international recognition. Mountain’s contribution to research in the field of participation and self-management for older people has received national and international recognition. Mawson’s (2, 3) work on falls and upper limb fracture management in older people has led to a change in the way upper limb rehabilitation is delivered. 

Mountain’s work (£66K, NHS and British Council) includes a National and European project on occupation and lifestyle, the results of which led to the stimulation of further research and practice initiatives in the UK and Europe and a manual for practice, published in 2007. It involved a range of academic staff from the teaching faculty and practitioners. Recent work on rehabilitation and self-management for people with dementia has high profile interest and has led to invitations to be involved in FP7 projects and publications (1,3), which have commanded global recognition and collaboration with the UK Expert Patient Programme.

Self-management and recovery for people with mental health problems is a further substantial and innovative strand of activity.  In 2003, Cook (2, 3) was the first Occupational Therapist in the UK to be awarded a DoH postdoctoral award (£232K) to undertake a randomized controlled trial, economic evaluation and qualitative study of occupational therapy for people with severe and enduring mental health problems, living in the community (1).  This is the first study of its type in the UK.

3.4.3. Technology for diagnosis, treatment and recovery - Probst (lead), and MA Smith

Probst, a research leader in the UK, in her profession, co-ordinates research in radiotherapy. The first radiation therapist in the country to gain a PhD, Probst’s group commenced in 2002 with three members of the team studying at doctoral level. Probst’s research work in the therapeutic management of breast cancer has made a significant impact on practice with publications in leading journals (1-3). 

The research of MA Smith (appointed 09/06) focuses on quantitative measurement, utilising medical imaging techniques, for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. More recently he has extended his research using MRI to radiation dosimetry and also phamacokinetic measurements. Since RAE2001 he has explored the potential of THz radiation for medical applications. He has been engaged in a programme of evidence based imaging research. The considerable external funding which supported this research is being returned by Leeds University. 

3.4.4. Design of the workforce - Nancarrow (lead), Mountain, Probst, and Ware

This theme examines the impact and implications of workforce change in health and social care settings from several perspectives including the sociology of workforce change; the economic implications; the organisation context and the impact of workforce change on patient and staff outcomes. 

Nancarrow is leading a study on the impact of workforce flexibility on the costs and outcomes of workforce change in older people’s services (NHS R&D £300K) in partnership with Sheffield University. Nancarrow was involved in research around changing workforce boundaries in intermediate care (IC) services in Barnsley (2,4); evaluation of the Modernisation Agency Leadership Development Framework (£45K); evaluation of the effectiveness of IC services in Wakefield (£20K), research into the changing podiatry workforce (Trent Focus, £45K) and evaluation of the introduction of assistant occupational therapy practitioners (£15K).

The impact of new developments on the workforce also impacts upon the work of other submitted researchers, reflected by three outputs of Ware (1-3), one of Mountain (4) and by the current work undertaken by Probst (4) into the study of recruitment and retention of radiographers. 

Ware (4) and Nancarrow were involved in two national evaluations of intermediate care services funded by DoH and MRC which explored the effects, costs and outcomes of intermediate care provision and considered policy implications for the wider health and social care system.

3.5 Five year strategy

  • CHSCR will continue to grow both external funding and the PhD programme. Specific components of the strategy are:  
  • Work with EU networks in novel research into self-management and dementia care.
  • Continue to lead the multidisciplinary EPSRC-funded research consortia (SMART) ensuring the development of high quality user driven technology solutions for long term conditions such as stroke and dementia.
  • Foster a creative approach to our technological research, capitalising on the benefits of interdisciplinary projects (e.g. working with design researchers in  Lab4living).
  • Promote the benefits of involving end users in research through project work, associated publications and a programme of education to support lay involvement in research. 
  • Work with the NHS, health providers, national and international industry and other partners to exploit the outputs of research of value to clinical practice and end users.

3.6 Category B staff

The Centre benefits from Parry’s and Dean's expertise, the former being appointed as Emeritus professor on her retirement. Since then Parry and Dean have continued to be active contributors to CHSCR. 


4.1 Staffing policy  

In this RAE period, promotion of existing staff has provided strong leadership for the two Centres; Mountain, Woodroofe and Clench were awarded personal chairs; Mawson was promoted to Reader. Recruitment of talented research active academics has ensured a growing and sustainable research culture.

University-wide training courses provide development opportunities for researchers at each stage of their career. These range from the Leadership and Management Development Programme, which is designed to equip senior staff with leadership and management skills, to 'Writing a Successful Research Grant Application', aimed at early career researchers. Staff have been supported financially to attend national and international conferences to present their work. 

The CHSCR has supported joint appointments to develop strategic alliances with the NHS ensuring symbiosis between the research programmes within the two organisations.  

4.2 Support for Postgraduate Research

Management and development of the University's framework for research degrees and research students is undertaken by the University Research Degrees Sub-Committee. Full-time research students have their own desks with computing facilities in communal offices. Research students attend a University induction and training activities throughout their course, providing the skills necessary to successfully undertake a sustained period of research. Training in laboratory techniques is provided by experienced technical staff and academic supervisors. SHU is a member of the Yorkshire Collaboration for Postgraduate Education, which provides research training for students. 

Results of the QAA 'Institutional audit' in 2005, and the QAA 'Special review of research degree programmes' in 2005/6, confirmed compliance with all QAA precepts. Students are encouraged to attend seminar series internally and externally, join an appropriate professional body and are encouraged and financially assisted to present their data at national and international conferences. In BMRC, research students presented their work at national (22 students) and international (12) conferences.

The growth in research students has occurred in both Centres. BMRC currently has 20 full time, 1 part time and 3 split PhD students and 1 DProf student. Eight further PhD students are writing up and will complete in 07/08. CHSCR currently has 6 full time and 8 part time research students.  Current students are funded from sources including: research councils (6FTE), overseas governments (7.5), NHS (3.5) as well as self funded and University funded through RAE2001 income. BMRC and CHSCR have worked together to deliver a multi-professional Doctorate in Professional Studies which commenced in 2003 (currently 30 students enrolled part-time).  

4.3 Relationship with research users

In 2004, a researcher was appointed specifically to support development of the involvement of users in health and social care research and in associated educational initiatives. This resulted in a programme of user engagement within research, as well as research on the user engagement process. The Faculty has two panels of users; one for those using acute services and one for users of mental health services. 

BMRC was part of a pilot scheme from 2002-5 in which, people with MS, ‘buddies’, visited the laboratories on an annual basis to learn more about the research undertaken. Cook has led user researchers to design, implement and publish research (4). She has developed effective methods to involve service users from a diversity of backgrounds in all aspects of research and also acts as a consultant user researcher to other projects.

Other user involvement includes collaboration with industry: Mountain’s EPSRC EQUAL project receives support from Phillips; Clench’s engagement with the pharmaceutical industry and the Health and Safety Laboratories to introduce new techniques and applications of MALDI-MSI has enhanced their capabilities. T Smith has established research initiatives with Corus Steel to exploit his microbiological expertise. Bricklebank acts as consultant to Aquaculture Ltd, assisting with technological aspects of product development. From 2001-2005, SHU hosted the South Yorkshire Bioenterprise Network (SYBEN), which promoted collaboration between biotech industry and the universities in the region, supported by Yorkshire Forward (£217K).

The CHSCR works closely with, and responds to, initiatives from a range of partners to facilitate innovations in medical devices across the NHS. Through joint appointments it is anticipated that staff within the centre will gain NIHR Faculty membership. 

4.4 External collaboration 

International university collaborations include: University of McGill, Canada (Abell) Zaragoza, Spain (Bricklebank), Florence, Italy and Muenster, Germany (Clench); Russian Academy of Sciences and Agricultural University, Athens, Greece (Gardiner); Kumamoto and Fukui in Japan (Sellers); National University of Singapore and Mumbai, India (Strong); Montreal, Canada and Guangzhou, China (T Smith); Canberra (Nancarrow). BMRC and CHSCRC staff have active collaborations with the following UK universities: Abertay Dundee, Bath, Bangor, Birmingham, Bradford, Dundee, Imperial College, London, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Open University, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Strathclyde, Sussex, UCL, Ulster, Warwick and York. 

BMRC and CHSCR staff have established links with clinical consultants at STH NHSFT, which significantly enhances biomedical and health research and has lead to numerous joint publications. Through the recent appointment of a number of honorary professors the Faculty has jointly funded six PhD studentships to enhance clinical research. 

Mountain and Mawson collaborate with Philips R&D, Germany, on technology for stroke rehabilitation. Mountain is the invited occupational therapy member of a multi disciplinary group; Interdem, a European wide network of practitioners and high level researchers concerned with psychosocial interventions for people with dementia.  Mountain was also coordinator of a British Council funded European project with Slovenia and Italy, which involved examining how older people can become involved in partnership working. The study by Nancarrow has been supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council in collaboration with Canberra University.  

4.5 Interdisciplinary research within Sheffield Hallam University

BMRC and CHSCR are working across the University to deliver novel cross-discipline research.  For the BMRC this includes: joint projects with the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science; e.g. Woodroofe and Saxton (AICR grant to examine the benefits of exercise in patients with breast cancer and BHF funded project, UoA46); T Smith with Akid of the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (microbiology applied to novel coatings to prevent corrosion and in biosensors, MRC discipline hopping grants, £84,500, UoA29). In 2006, CHSCR formed a group with the Art and Design Research Centre at SHU called 'Lab4living', to deliver research that spans health, iterative user centred design and human computer interaction and is relevant across the lifespan (UoA63).  

4.6 Support for commercialisation of research

The Enterprise Centre has a central role in driving forward SHU's research, business development and knowledge transfer activities. One of its key functions is to maximise the University's research potential through external funding, by providing support for new and existing research.  Specialist teams offer advice on funding opportunities and the application process, the protection and commercialisation of Intellectual Property and creating technology transfer relationships with external organisations, as well as providing staff development training courses in these areas. SHU has a number of Knowledge Champions (including Woodroofe) who are key individuals involved in networking and promoting research to the business community, regionally, nationally and internationally. 


5.1 BMRC


invited speaker at: (i) McGill University, Montreal, Canada 2005, (ii) Cellular protein translocation: experiment and theory meeting, Warwick University, 2005,  (iii) BioScience 2004, Glasgow, UK and  (iv) MEMPROT/SRP network meetings in Manchester (2004, Grenoble, France (2003) and Heidelberg, Germany (2002), Gothenberg, Sweden (2001).


(i) Member of Peer Review College, EPSRC, (ii) Holds an allocation for structure determinations at EPSRC crystallography service, Southampton University, (iii) Consultant to Aquaculture PLC, (iv) Invited to collaborate with University of Zaragoza, Spain and in UK with Strathclyde and Southampton Universities.


Invited speaker at: (i) XVIIIth Federation of European Connective Tissue Societies meeting, Brighton 2002; (ii) International Conference on Inflammopharmacology, Edinburgh, 2003 and (iii) XIXth Federation of European Connective Tissue Societies meeting, Sicily, Italy 2004. (iv) PhD external examiner at UK universities. 


(i) Invited speaker at Royal Society of Chemistry meeting on MALDI-MS Imaging, Cambridge 2006 and (ii)  Swiss Chemical Society ‘Imaging Xenobiotics in Biological Tissues by MALDI-MSI) Yverdon-Les-Bains, Switzerland 2005, (iii) Lead scientist of the MALDI and Mass Spectrometric Imaging Special interest Group of British Mass Spectrometry Society (iv) awarded British Mass Spectrometry Society Lectureship 2006-7. 


(i) Invited speaker at the European Society of Reproduction and Infertility (ESHRE) meeting in Copenhagen, 2002 and (ii) at ESHRE pre congress meeting on early pregnancy failure, 2005. (iii) Associate editor, International Journal Human Reproduction 2004 to present (iv) Part of a multi-disciplinary team with Sheffield University researching stem cells and reproduction.


Invited lectures at: (i) University of Calabria (Cosenza, Italy), 2003 (ii) British Pharmacological Society, Bath, 2004 (iii) MRC Anatomical and Pharmacology Institute, Oxford 2006 and (iv) Department of Biomedical Science, University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy, 2007.


Prizes for: (i) Best Research Paper by European Association of Urology, (ii) Best Oral Communication, International Continence Society, 2002, (iii) Best Poster Communication, European Association of Urology, 2003 and (iv) Invited to join FP7 bid on 'Bench to Bedside approach to the management of urinary incontinence'.

Smith T: 

Invited speaker at: (i) Gordon Research Conference on the Molecular Basis of Microbial One-Carbon Metabolism, Connecticut, USA 2002 and (ii) Bergen Technology Centre, Coupling between academics and Industry II, 2006, (iii) Editor, Journal of Applied Microbiology and Letters in Applied Microbiology (iv) Research consultant for Corus steel in bioremediation. 


( i) Committee member of Society for Applied Microbiology (SFAM) (ii) Organised SFAM annual summer (Edinburgh 2006) and (iii) winter meeting (London 2006) and chaired sessions, (iv) Invited speaker at 9th Conference of the International Society of Microbial Ecology, Amsterdam, 2001.


(i)  Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore (ii) Editor (Reviews) Toxicon, (iii) Co-organiser International Conference - Channelopathies, Sheffield 2001, (iv) External PhD examiner at UK and international universities.


(i) Invited speaker at the International Society for Neuroimmunology meeting, Edinburgh, 2002 (ii) Council member of the British Society for Immunology (2001-2006), (iii) Organising committee member for the European Glia meetings in 2005 (Amsterdam) and  2007 (London) and chaired plenary session, (iv) Member of grant review panel Multiple Sclerosis Society, UK.




Cook: (i) Guest lecture at the Achieving Mental Health through Participation' conference organised by the College of Occupational Therapists and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, (ii) Invited speaker at the Strategies for Living II Report and England Projects Launch by the Mental Health Foundation, (iii) Member of the UKCRN (Mental Health, recovery and rehabilitation group)  (iv) Editorial board member, British Journal of Occupational Therapy.


(i) Editorial board member, of the World Federation of Neurological Rehabilitation, (ii) President of the Association of Physiotherapists with an Interest in Neurology (ACPIN), (iii) Member of the Yorkshire and Humber commissioning group of the NHS`R&D ‘Research for Patient Benefit programme’, (iv) Lead for the Sheffield component of the National Physiotherapy Research Network.


(i) Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Guideline Development for persistent back pain - 2004-2006, (ii) Secretary of the Board of Directors International Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy Research Foundation from 2005, (iii) Associate of the Faculty McKenzie Institute International from 2001, (iv) Editorial board member, International Journal of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy


(i) Delivered the Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture at the UK College of Occupational Therapists annual conference (2005), (ii) Member of Peer Review College, EPSRC (2006 onwards), (iii) Member of the advisory group to the UK Enquiry into Mental Health and Wellbeing in Older Age 2005-2007 (iv) Member of the 4th CUWAAT organising committee conference 2008.


(i)  Member of the New NHS New Workforce: Steering committee member 2001-2002 and (ii) currently a steering group member of the Accelerated Development Programme – a new intermediate care practitioner for the NHS Modernisation Agency. (iii) Member of the Sheffield R&D Consortium Management Board: 2004 – 2006, (iv) Trent focus / Trent Institute Regional Management Board member.


i) Awarded article of the year 2005 by the editorial board of Journal of Radiography, (ii)  Member of the College of Radiographers Research Group, (iii) member of the Research Radiographers working party for the Academic Clinical Oncology Radiobiology Research Network (ACORRN), (iv) Editorial board member, Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice.

Smith MA:

(i) Member of MRC Medical Advisory Board, (ii) External advisor for CLRC national research facility at Daresbury (CASIM-part of North West Science Initiative) (iii) Member of the NHS R&D Advisory Board New and Emerging Applications of Technology (NEAT), (iv) Invited speaker UK Radiology Congress 2007.