Residential Research Retreat

13th to 15th September 2022. Dillington House - Somerset.

(Now closed to applications).

Photograph of Dillington House

Meet the team

Gordon Taylor BSc(hons), MSc PhD
Director, RDS SW

Gordon obtained his first degree in Mathematical sciences from the University of Portsmouth, followed by an MSc in Statistics (with applications in Medicine) from the University of Southampton and a PhD in applied Mathematics from the University of Ulster. He then did a 2 year post-doc at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge working on transplantation related research before moving to the South West to work for the Bath Research and Development Support Unit (the forerunner of the current RDS structure) and then subsequently for the RDS SW. Gordon moved to Exeter in April 2018 to take up the role of Professor of Medical Statistics and in October 2018 took over the role of director of the RDS SW.

Gordon provides methodological (especially statistical) support across a wide range of research areas, with grants and publications reflecting this diversity of interests. He is vice-chair of one of the NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship (DRF) panels and has previously been a member of an RfPB committee as well as chair of an NHS research ethics committee. Gordon is one of the expert team at the Retreat. 

Annie Hawton BSc(hons), MSc PhD
Deputy Director, RDS SW

Annie is the Deputy Director of the RDS SW and Senior Research Fellow in Health Economics at the University of Exeter Medical School. From an initial background in Psychology, she has over 25 years’ experience of health/social care research, including posts in NHS, University, and social care settings. She has had the remit of providing support to health/social care staff to facilitate research studies and applications in seven of these positions.

Annie has a significant track record in health/social care research, including being chief investigator for a three year study exploring the psychometric functioning of outcome measures for use in cost-effectiveness analyses and healthcare policy decision-making. She is the lead health economist on a number of live NIHR-funded projects, and has a particular interest in public and patient involvement in health economics research.

Andy Barton BSc MSc
Adviser, RDS SW

Andy has recently retired but has agreed to return temporarily to help organise the Retreat. He has an academic background in psychology but has worked in health services research for over 30 years. He has held lectureships at the Welsh National School of Medicine (Health Care Evaluation) and Newcastle Medical School (Clinical Audit). Andy is part of University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Health and has an honorary appointment at Leicester University Medical School.

His research interests include housing and health, women’s reproductive health, and pre-hospital emergency care where he has held a number of NIHR grants. He was a regular reviewer for a range of scientific journals and is on the referees’ panel for various funding bodies. Andy is one of the advisory team at the Retreat.

Paul Ewings BSc MSc PhD CStat
Adviser, RDS SW

Paul is largely retired but still works part-time for the NIHR Research Design Service for the South West and is based at the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. He was formerly the director of the RDS SW and a visiting professor at the University of Exeter Medical School. A statistician by background, Paul has collaborated on a wide range of health-related research, with a particular emphasis on clinical trials supporting health technology assessment. He was often the study statistician on funded projects and sat on numerous Trial Steering Committees and Data Monitoring Committees. He is a past member of the NIHR HTA Committee and two different Research for Patient Benefit funding panels; the NIHR Strategy Board; the NICE Technology Appraisal Committee; and the MHRA Paediatric Medicines Expert Advisory Group.

Wendy Clyne BA (Hons) PhD
Adviser, RDS SW

Wendy is a psychologist by background, with a career at the intersection of the NHS and University sectors, with research and enterprise funding from charities (e.g. Epilepsy Action), national bodies (e.g. NHS England) and international research funding bodies (e.g., EC FP7 programme, European Union; Erasmus Plus, European Commission). Wendy’s research interests include interventions to support psychological well-being, particularly interventions to support self-management of long-term conditions; behaviour change interventions; person-centred care, patient involvement and co-creation in health; medicines use: research, policy and practice.

Wendy joined RDS SW in 2020 where she leads a small team at University of Plymouth providing methodological and research design support to researchers and clinicians in Devon and Cornwall. She is also Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at Peninsula Medical School. Wendy is one of the advisory team at the Retreat. 

Jo Welsman BSc (Hons), PhD
Adviser, RDS SW

Jo’s first degree was in Social Biology and Sports Science from the University of Surrey, and she obtained a PhD in Education (Paediatric Exercise Physiology) from the University of Exeter. She has held post-doctoral fellowships from the British Heart Foundation and more recently as a Wellcome Trust Engaged Research Fellow. She has published widely in the field of Paediatric Exercise Science with a focus on the longitudinal assessment and interpretation of children’s fitness.

More recently, Jo has pursued a career in patient and public involvement (PPI) both within health services research (NIHR CLAHRC) and more challenging basic research environments (Wellcome Centre for Biomedical Modelling and Analysis). She joined the RDS SW in 2018 and is the Lead for patient and public involvement. She is vice chair of the national RDS public involvement leads community and also leads the RDS National Priority work for PPI.

Lisa Austin PhD
Adviser, RDS SW

Lisa is a research management professional with extensive experience with University, NHS and the Department of Health. She is based in the Humanities Faculty in the University of Bath where she also has roles as the Department for Health Research Manager and NHS R&D Manager to local primary and community care.

Lisa has a Professional Doctorate in Health and studied sleep and dementia. She is the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and industry rep presentative for RDS SW. Lisa is knowledgeable regarding NHS costs, regulatory matters, commercial research and patient and public involvement. She lives in between Bristol and Bath and is a firm fan of country walks and all things vintage. 

Debbie Marsh, BA PgDip
Business Manager, RDS SW

Debbie has worked in the NHS for 30 years and in health services research for 20 years. She was appointed as Business Manager to the newly formed Research Design Service South West in February 2009, a role she has combined since 2019 with her role as Programme Manager for the RDS National Office. Debbie led the administration of the RDS SW Retreat for 10 years and now supports the Retreat as a member of the Steering Group organising the 2022 event. 

Sue Anderson
Peninsula NIHR Submissions Adviser, RDS SW

Sue works as the RDS (Peninsula) NIHR Submissions Adviser. Previously she worked at the Peninsula RDSU for 11 years in a secretarial role. Sue supports the smooth running of the South West Research Design Service, particularly within the Peninsula arm. She organises teams of funding applicants around the Peninsula to ensure they have timely meetings and submit robust grant applications to the NIHR and other funding streams.

Sue provides administrative and secretarial support to the RDS Consultants around the Peninsula. Sue also facilitates the development of public involvement within the Peninsula area. Sue leads on the organisation of the Residential Research Retreat and will also provide administrative support during the Retreat.