Management Team

Meet our Management Team

Prof Chris Newman - CRF Director

The NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility was established in 2006 as a joint initiative between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the University of Sheffield, created to further enhance the capacity and quality of our experimental medicine research, support colleagues in the delivery of later phase studies, exemplify and disseminate good practice and support capacity building in clinical research.  I have had the privilege of being Director throughout this period, bringing my training and experience in Clinical Pharmacology and research to help design and manage the facilities and lead our wonderful team, working closely with colleagues across the Trust and University, and with external funders and partners. 

We were delighted to become the NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility in 2012 and also support the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre established in 2017.  All of our accumulated experience and expertise has been invaluable over the last 18 months as the CRF has been a focal point for delivering outstanding recruitment to national and international vaccine and other COVID-related studies.  Our capability to support cutting edge experimental medicine research has recently taken an exciting and major step forward through the establishment of the Sheffield PET-MRI facility on the Royal Hallamshire Hospital site, which complements the research-focused MRI scanner immediately adjacent to the NGH unit of the CRF. 

At a national level, I was delighted to be host director for the UKCRF Network Annual Conference held here in Sheffield in 2014.  I currently represent the CRF Directors on the UKCRF Network Senior Management Team and Advisory Board and for the last two years have been Chair of the NIHR CRF Directors Forum.  Clinically I am Professor of Clinical Cardiology and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at STH. 

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Karen French - Head of Operations

As Head of Operations I provide leadership, management and strategic direction for the development of the NIHR Sheffield Clinical research Facility (CRF).  I have forged close links with other CRFs and BRCs across the UK and Ireland and actively contribute to strategic advisory groups to enable links for sharing knowledge and expertise across the national clinical research and experimental medicine infrastructure space.  I have a long career working within admin and management roles within the NHS and University of Sheffield, and completed a MBA to further develop my knowledge in operational and people management. 


As Deputy Lead for one of the UKCRF Network’s strategic themes, I provide support and advice to other CRFs to ensure the highest quality resource is available for conducting clinical research.  I first joined the Network as Chair of the Managers’ Association prior to being appointed as Deputy Lead for Theme 1 in 2017.


It is a real privilege to work alongside such an amazing team of people within Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the University of Sheffield to support the delivery of life-changing clinical research, in particular over this past year in our response to the global emergency.  Through our collaborations with colleagues across the organisation our CRF played a leading role in delivering major flagship COVID-19 trials, resulting in medicines being repurposed and adopted into NHS care, and driving down the effects of the pandemic.


I have always been extremely passionate about the world of research and the difference this important work makes to the lives of real people.  I have never felt more proud of being part of such a fantastic team, all of whom have gone above and beyond what is expected of them to ensure clinical research across multiple health conditions, has continued to be supported this past year.

Gail Mills - Lead Nurse R&D

As Lead Nurse R&D I am employed through the STH Clinical Research and Innovation Office and have professional responsibility for all Clinical Research Nurses (CRNs) and non-medical research delivery staff (such as Clinical Trials Assistants) across STH. This includes staff who work within the directorates across STH, managed by the Trust Research Matron as well as those within the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre (CCTC) and the NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility (CRF) through their Matrons / Lead Research Nurses.  I am also involved in representing CRNs on a national level as Co-Chair of the UKCRF Network Nurses and Practitioners group and as Secretary for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Research Society Clinical Research Nurse Sub-committee.


Clinical Research Nurses deliver high quality care to patients who are involved in clinical research trials. They develop expert knowledge of the research process alongside specialist and advanced clinical skills and ensure the safety and wellbeing of research participants. They are patient advocates and through the breadth of cutting-edge clinical trials running within STH; from early phase experimental medicine through to large scale later phase trials, they contribute to improved understanding of health conditions, better patient outcomes and access to new treatments and interventions.


The role of a CRN is varied and rewarding, and we have an excellent workforce of CRNs within our Trust making a real difference to the care our patients receive. Never has this been more evident than in the last year where the CRF team have worked with colleagues form across the Trust to manage and deliver Department of Health designated Urgent Public Health research studies to identify treatments for patients with Covid-19  and support the development of vaccines for the virus.


It is privilege to lead such a fantastic team of Clinical Research Nurses within STH. 

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Rikki Titheridge - Operations Manager

As Operations Manager I lead the CRF Operations Team to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the department, enabling successful delivery of clinical trials and a great patient experience. Working alongside colleagues from across the Trust, I work to embed systems and processes which make sure that appropriate governance and excellent quality is maintained in everything that we do. This also involves ongoing review and evaluation of our activity to identify and deliver any service improvement projects required to meet evolving demands and ensure the strategic aims of the CRF are being met.


Research is a fundamental component of the work undertaken in the NHS to ensure we continue to advance healthcare, expanding on our current knowledge to develop better diagnosis, treatments, and outcomes for everyone.


I feel incredibly privileged to work alongside fantastic colleagues who bring their expertise and passion every day and to collaborate with the inspirational patients who take part in the research, without whom this vital work to improve services and transform people’s lives would not be possible.

Jo Kadziola - CRF Matron

As CRF Matron I manage a large team of clinical staff to support the delivery of a range of clinical trials from early phase experimental medicine through to later phase studies. This involves working closely with colleagues within the NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility (CRF) and across the Trust to determine priority studies, allocate studies to the appropriate CRF team and ensure we have adequate staff and skill mix to ensure research is conducted safely to the highest standards to provide research participants with excellent quality of care.

The CRF team works with Investigators from every Directorate within the Trust and has been a significant contributor to the Local and National response to the COVID-19 pandemic supporting multiple COVID -19 trials including the development of a number of COVID-19 vaccines; interventional trials to determine best treatment pathways for patients and long-term studies to understand disease progression and patient outcomes.

I have never been more proud to work in clinical research and see the immediate benefits to patient care and long-term outcomes that are possible through the hard work and dedication of my fantastic team and their collaboration with colleagues across the Trust.

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