SRA trustees

Dr Helen Kara

dr helen kara
Helen Kara has been an independent social researcher in social care and health since 1999, working with statutory and third sector organisations and partnerships.  She is the author of two well-reviewed books on research methods, and teaches research methods to practitioners and postgraduate students.  Helen is a Visiting Fellow at the National Centre for Research Methods.


Faye Gracey

faye gracey

Faye has been both a research commissioner (e.g. Audit Commission, WRAP) and a research consultant for most UK government departments (e.g. Home Office, Department for Education, etc.) and other bodies (e.g. Wellcome Trust, Estyn, etc.). Now working for Welsh Government, Faye is responsible for European funded education and skills programme evaluations, as well as supporting the development of new programmes based on evidence.

Noelle Cotter

noelle cotter

Noelle Cotter has been a Public Health Development Officer (Policy) with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland since 2011. Previously Noelle worked as an independent consultant, and with the Centre for Housing Research and various universities. Noelle has an M.Sc. in Applied Social Research and a PhD, both from Trinity College Dublin. She also has a Diploma in Management at University College Dublin. Noelle is the current chair of SRA Ireland, elected in 2014.

Dr Simon Haslam

dr simon haslam

Simon Haslam is a director of social research and consulting firm FMR Research Ltd, and a double finalist in the UK ‘Consultant of the Year’ awards.  He holds a Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction and is Programme Lead for strategy at the Institute of Directors’.  He is a Visiting Fellow at Durham University Business School and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Ivana La Valle

ivana la valle

Ivana La Valle is Visiting Scholar at the University of East London with 20 years’ experience of conducting research on children and families.  Ivana is a mixed methods researcher with extensive experience of evaluating national and local programmes.  Ivana was the Director of the Research Centre at the National Children’s Bureau in 2009-2013.  Prior to that she directed the Family and Children research group at NatCen.

Patten Smith

patten smith

Patten heads the Research Methods Centre at Ipsos MORI and previously held senior positions in SCPR (now NatCen) and BMRB. He has a special interest in sample design and survey methodology, regularly publishes papers for journals and conferences, and teaches survey research methods to postgraduate students. He is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), and a visiting fellow at Royal Holloway.  He chairs the SRA.

David Johnson

david johnson

David has been a government social researcher since 2003. He has worked on a wide range of areas of social policy, most recently as Head of Home Energy Research and Evaluation at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He was also a member of the Social Policy and Social Work sub-panel in the 2014 REF exercise. David is a visiting policy fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath.

Graham Hughes

graham hughes

Graham is the SRA’s Honorary Treasurer.  He has over 20 years’ experience providing software training and support and is a qualified MAXQDA  trainer having delivered workshops and webinars in the UK and Europe.  In 2005 he completed an MSc in Social Research Methods at the University of Surrey, as a mature student, and worked on research projects in the Department of Sociology at Surrey. Before this, from 1981 to 2004, Graham was an accountant.

Nick Ockenden

nick ockenden
Nick is the Head of Research at the National Council For Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) which he joined in 2005.  Nick's particular research interests are focused on volunteering within small, community-based organisations, and environmental and conservation volunteering.  Previously, Nick worked at GreenSpace, an environmental organisation championing UK parks and green spaces. Nick has an undergraduate degree in Geography and a Masters degree in Environmental Management, both from the University of Nottingham

Isabella Pereira

isabelle pereira photo
Isabella is a Research Director in Ipsos MORI’s dedicated qualitative social research methods team, which she helped found in 2013.  She directs large-scale, complex qualitative and mixed methods research studies for government departments, think tanks and charities.  She also leads Ipsos MORI's qualitative social research training programme and their in-house research ethics committee. Isabella is  a trustee for the refugee and migrants' charity, the Migrants Resource Centre and is a mentee on the Fabian Women’s Network 2016 mentoring programme.

Sophie Ellison

sophie ellison

Sophie Ellison is Senior Research Officer in the Strategy Unit at the Scottish Government and Chair of SRA Scotland.  She graduated in Social Anthropology and her first job in Social Research was in 2008, as a Research Consultant at a Scotland-based consultancy, Blake Stevenson. Sophie became a Senior Consultant for Blake Stevenson and having covered more than 30 varied and fascinating projects she left in 2014 to join the Scottish Government Strategy Unit.

Nigel Meager

nigel meager photo
Nigel is Director of the Institute for Employment Studies. He has a long track record of research on labour market and employment policy topics. Much of his work has an international emphasis and he is especially interested in the identification and transfer of good practice in policy development. He has been a specialist adviser to parliamentary select committees, and he was previously chair of the Association of Research Centres in the Social Sciences (ARCISS). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and of the Royal Society of Arts.

Kieran O’Leary

kieran oleary photo

Kieran is a Director at Ipsos MRBI in Ireland having worked in research for almost 20 years in a range of roles on the client and agency sides. He works with a variety of policy-focussed clients in delivering largescale complex social research projects. He has a range of research qualifications, including a M.Sc. in Applied Social Research (Trinity College Dublin) and a Diploma in Market and Social Research Practice (Market Research Society).

Bob Erens

bob erens photo
Bob is Deputy Director of the Policy Innovation Research Unit at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and has over 30 years’ experience in social and health research. He is currently involved in evaluating complex policy interventions in the NHS, social care and public health. Bob previously worked at NatCen for 20+ years where he was head of the Health Research Group and the Survey Methods Centre. He is an honorary senior research associate at UCL, a member of the Society for Social Medicine and a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Susannah Browne

Susannah is Head of Evaluation in the Home Office. A member of the Government’s Social Research Profession, she was previously Head of Profession for Social Research, Professional Development and Stakeholder Engagement in HMTreasury. Susannah has held analytical, policy and operational roles in government for the last 14 years, spanning a diverse range of policy interest, from national security, to women and economic growth. Before joining the Civil Service, Susannah was an academic Health Psychologist at UCL and St Thomas’ Hospital. Susannah’s philosophical standpoint is firmly rooted in bringing ‘other voices’ into academic and intellectual debate about social policy and intervention.