Clinical Research Office. A partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield

Academic Directorate of Specialised Medicine

The Academic Directorate of Specialised Medicine is composed of six sub-directorates:

Clinical Immunology
Metabolic Bone
Palliative Care

Key Contacts

Name Role
Prof Eugene McCloskey Academic Director
Josh Wright Clinical Director
Prof Mike Cork
Research Lead for Dermatology
Dr Andrew Chantry
Research Lead for Haematology
Dr W Egner
Research Lead for Immunology
Professor R Eastell
Research Lead for the Bone Research Unit
Ian Scott
Operations Director
Kath Knight
Deputy Operations Director
Julie Senior
Deputy Group Finance Manager
Mrs D Driscoll
Lead Nurse for Research
Sarah Birch
Directorate Research Coordinator
Aimee Card
CRIO Office Coordinator


The Specialised Medicine Academic Directorate is a composite of several disease specialties delivering high quality clinical care and research covering many aspects of:

  • Dermatology
  • Haematology
  • Immunology
  • Metabolic Bone Diseases
  • Rheumatology

The various specialties differ in the relative combinations of clinical care and active programmes of research focused within the particular specialty.  All of the research teams include NHS consultants with or without clinical academics and a range of health-related disciplines including nurse specialists. Across the Academic Directorate, the research programme extends from basic science to clinical trials.   Within most of the specialties, there is a strong partnership with the University of Sheffield.

The Specialised Medicine Academic Directorate’s outputs comprise an accrual of 700 patients a year to research projects, over 150 publications per year and approximately £3 million in active grant support in 2014/15.  There is a healthy pipeline of basic and clinical academic trainees undertaking postgraduate non-clinical training or clinical training programmes.

Across the Academic Directorate, the research involved partnerships not just within STHFT and University of Sheffield but also Sheffield Hallam University, Yorkshire and Humber CRN and the Academic Health Network for Yorkshire and Humber.  The Directorate has also established successful, active partnerships between patients and NHS staff, which aim to enhance clinical research and care excellence by addressing key challenges within each specialty.

Research is conducted in each specialty clinical area and also utilises the Clinical Research Facilities at RHH and NGH. The total CRN RCF allocation for 14/15 was £105K, with 6.97 research PAs with a value of £74.8K available. 

Nursing staff is funded by a combination of RCF funds secured through competition within STH (0.6fte for Dermatology studies, 0.5fte for Rheumatology studies and 0.5 fte for Haematology studies) and SI RCF and grant income for nursing staff supporting metabolic bone studies.

There is a large amount of commitment by NHS staff as reflected by the numbers of research active and research contributing staff but actual involvement is constrained by available time on job plans.

The Directorate supports a research administration team with Sarah Moll (research co-ordinator) and Tracey Sutton (research administrator) both jointly funded with Communicable Diseases with the directorate contributing 0.4FTE of both posts. Directorate management support is provided by Katharine Knight, Acting Deputy Operations Director for Communicable Diseases and Specialised Medicine and the team are supported by the directorate accountant Julia Wagstaffe.

Prof Eugene McCloskey is Academic director with approximately 0.4 PA to support this activity specified in his job plan. We have bi-monthly research executive meetings to review finances and research governance including performance against the NIHR 70 day target and time to target for our commercial studies. Prof McCloskey also attends sub-directorate meetings to speak to the Trust research strategy committee and contributes to the Academic Research Directors meetings chaired by the STHFT research lead Prof Heller. This ensures the research direction is aligned to the Trusts strategic direction. Through his University roles and in his role as Sheffield Director of the MRC/ARUK Centre for Integrated research In Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA;, he also ensures alignment with University research strategy.

Patient and Public Involvement

The Academic Directorate either hosts or interacts with a number of PPI groups.

In March 2011, as part of the NIHR Bone BRU, the Lay Advisory panel for Bone Research was launched; its primary concern is clinical research.  It currently has a core group of six committed members who meet on a monthly basis; the meetings are facilitated by Julie Walker, Clinical Research Nurse.  The panel has worked on a number of local and national studies and routinely reviews research proposals (ethics, feasibility and recruitment), patient information leaflets and consent forms.


Dermatology colleagues have close links with the National Eczema Society which includes a number of patient and carer representatives who support clinicians with grant applications.

Research in Palliative and Supportive Care is well supported by excellent links with a well-established consumer research panel, a forerunner of similar panels now used in many other cancer networks.  Together with the Medical School’s Academic Unit of Supportive Care, the consumer research panel has hosted an annual national conference for professionals and patient representatives on a variety of cancer topics.

Future Directorate Aspirations

The Specialised Medicine Academic Directorate aims to be comprised of national and/or international leading centres for research within each of the participating specialties.  We wish to deliver a programme of work that stems from strong basic science delivered principally from the University of Sheffield translated through to clinical studies involving the Academic Directorate.  We will also work with regional, national and international partners. Importantly, we wish to engage more fully with industrial partners, including where possible local industry to form partnerships to translate our research into new therapies and diagnostic strategies. We wish to further develop our training of future research active health care workers driving local and national research culture and capacity. We will measure our impact through accrual and the meeting of NIHR targets, through research income, through investigators involvement in high impact publications and contributions to national or international treatment guidelines.