Board meeting discussing

NIHR announces two new senior appointments

NIHR has appointed two new senior roles - a new Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and a new Research Delivery Director at the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN).

Dr Esther Mukuka joins as NIHR’s new Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, a newly-established role aimed at helping lead ongoing development and implementation of the organisation’s EDI strategy.

In her new role Dr Mukuka will help embed EDI values and principles across all NIHR activities and bring together the wide range of people involved with the organisation.

Dr Mukuka is an EDI practitioner with experience leading diversity and inclusion in higher education, the health sector and the private sector.

Most recently, she worked as the Senior Manager for EDI at the University of Nottingham, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the university’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

Dr Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence at DHSC and co-lead of the NIHR, said: ‘We are delighted that Esther has joined NIHR in this new role created to lead our strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion.

“NIHR aims to be a diverse and inclusive funder, both in terms of the people who lead and run NIHR and the people who lead, deliver and are involved in our research.

“We have some way to go before our aspirations are achieved. I’m looking forward to working with Esther to expedite progress in delivering on our aims.”

The NIHR Clinical Research Network also saw a new face among its senior leadership as Dr Kate Jones was appointed to the position of Research Delivery Director.

Currently serving as Chief Operating Officer of NIHR CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex, Dr Jones’ appointment came following a process of open competitive selection. She will take up the post full time in April 2021.

As the national Research Delivery Director, she will be responsible for shaping and leading the delivery of the portfolio of health and care research studies managed by NIHR CRN.

Dr Jones will work with leaders, staff and stakeholders from across the NIHR in her new role, as well as health and care service providers, research funders and sponsors to create innovative and collaborative strategies to optimise the delivery of health and care research in England.

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Kate Jones as the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s new Research Delivery Director.

“Kate will play an important role in the continued success of our Covid-19 urgent public health research programme, alongside our aim to ensure a balanced portfolio of research - while enabling non Covid-19 studies to get back on track through our programme of recovery, resilience and growth.

“The CRN’s main strength and success to date is largely down to the expertise of our fifteen Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) - covering the length and breadth of England, but coming together as one national network.

“Kate’s insight and wealth of experience of research delivery gained at a local level will prove an invaluable addition to the national team.”

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