Meet the SRA trustees
The SRA can have up to 15 trustees, who serve for at most six years in this voluntary role. They attend six board meetings a year and make decisions about the direction of the SRA, finances, activities and other areas of work.
Co-Chair of the SRA, with Diarmid Campbell Jack. I am Director of Policy at Power to Change, a charitable foundation that supports community business in England. I have 20 years’ experience in research and analysis in policy-relevant fields, having started my career in management consultancy at Accenture. I went on to join the team evaluating policy implementation at the National Audit Office, then a stint at PA Consulting before leaving consultancy to head up the research team at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (now part of Arts Council England) and in my most recent role, at the Design Council where I was Director of Policy and Research. At the SRA I hope to bring in the perspective of those using and commissioning social research for policy and advocacy work, in particular in the third sector.
Co-Chair of the SRA, with Ailbhe McNabola. I’ve worked at Ecorysn for almost four years, following previous jobs at ScotCen and Save the Children. Although my current work is largely focused on young people and quantitative studies, having widespread experience means I try my hand at anything. This is a fascinating time to work in social research given the clear challenges facing society. New situations need a response and open up old questions about the relationship between our work and wider society. Being an SRA trustee offers an opportunity to help support social research, learn from researchers and contribute to an organisation with a reputation for impact that goes well beyond the right-hand tail of any normal distribution…
Nigel Meager (Hon. Treasurer)
Nigel recently retired as 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.
Vicki is Deputy Director for impact and engagement at the Enterprise Research Centre at Warwick University, a research centre specialising in insights into small business growth and performance. Prior to this Vicki was an Assistant Director at the government agency the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), where she directed a range of flagship research projects, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Vicki has over 20 years of experience leading, conducting and communicating research on business, employment and skills issues.
I have been a senior lecturer in sociology at Sheffield Hallam University since January 2016. My own research over the last decade has focused on experiences of chronic illness and disability, often on the personalisation of social care, and most recently exploring online illness narratives. I’m co-chair of SRA North, and a member of the NIHR Research for Social Care committee. Part of my job is teaching qualitative research methods, and having long admired the way the SRA connects researchers in disparate fields and disciplines, I am keen to explore how the SRA can further facilitate the transition to a variety of social research careers.
I lead Newgate Research UK, the social and market research arm of Newgate Communications, one of the UK’s leading communications and PR firms - what better career than one where you get to help solve complex business and societal issues? That said, over 15 years in and my parents still don’t seem to understand what I do! On a personal level, I thrive on leading teams to find creative solutions to conducting and disseminating research, and in working collaboratively with clients from across the public, private and third sectors. I’m delighted to join the SRA board and look forward to bringing energy and a touch of leftfield thinking to help continue expand the membership offer in 2018 and beyond.
I am an independent social researcher with 15 years of qualitative research experience. I work predominantly with research agencies and/or collectives of
other independent researchers on research and evaluation for central government and other public sector bodies and agencies. After a BA in sociology at the University of Birmingham my entry into the profession was at NatCen in 2005. I decided to apply to be a trustee because I felt that, as an independent social researcher based in the north of England, I could provide a different perspective on guiding the strategic approach of the SRA. I have a particular interest in how we open up more opportunities at entry level into the profession to ensure access across socio-economic background, geographical region and minority ethnic groups.
I am an independent qualitative researcher with over 19 years’ experience working with vulnerable and marginalised groups to include their voices and enable their participation. My areas of expertise include: policy relating to disadvantaged children and young people; qualitative research and review methods; participatory methods; research governance and ethics; service evaluation. After completing a PhD in education policy at the UCL Institute of Education in 2007, I worked for nine years at Barnardo’s as a senior policy researcher. I have extensive understanding of ethical practice and currently serve as vice chair of a research ethics committee.
Dr Rachel Hughes
At the heart of my career is a strong commitment to social justice and making a positive difference to people’s lives. I have over 20 years of experience working as a social researcher in Wales in both academia and the public sector, and in 2020, I founded Dotiau. My expertise is in undertaking and applying research and insight to a public policy environment. I am a Visiting Professor at Wrexham Glyndwr University and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. I am also a Parent Governor and Non-Executive Director of the Education Achievement Service for South East Wales. As the Chair of SRA Cymru, I am keen to develop our network in Wales and bring a devolved perspective to the Association.
I lead on the management and delivery of all customer research projects for Skills Development Scotland, the national skills agency in Scotland. This includes commissioned research and projects delivered in-house. Core areas include the Careers Information, Advice and Guidance service, employee engagement and external stakeholder perceptions. All work involves a strong equalities element. I have over 25 years’ research experience, both as a lecturer and practitioner. I find the variety of interesting work the best thing about my job. I am a passionate advocate for research quality, integrity and innovation.
Debbie Lee Chan
I manage a team of researchers who support our advocacy work by providing consumer or market insight. I started out in market research, then stakeholder engagement, before moving into policy research for a local council. I like mixing methods and employing deliberative and participatory approaches, and have an interest in making research inclusive for those taking part and for researchers of different backgrounds. I have been involved with the SRA for as long as I can remember, most recently as a member of the events committee. I want to help the SRA extend its reach to a diverse set of researchers and analysts who would benefit from the networking opportunities we can facilitate and from the knowledge it shares.
I work at a think tank and consultancy for the third sector, helping charities and funders use research and evaluation to increase their impact. I’ve been in social research since university, starting out in participatory action research projects with Somali refugee women. I then became a social policy researcher focused on qualitative and deliberative
In my current role at Ofgem I lead a programme of exciting
and impactful research, helping to ensure better outcomes for energy consumers. My first role at the Office for National Statistics provided me with an excellent foundation in social research methods and over the last 15 years I’ve gained a wealth of experience applying social research within government. I’m also particularly passionate about applying behavioural science to knotty policy challenges. I’m keen to help social researchers develop themselves, their careers and support the industry, and with the challenges that the pandemic has presented for everyone, I can’t think of a better time to do it.
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.
I oversee NatCen’s social surveys inhousehold, longitudinal
and health surveys, with a team of around 50 researchers and data
specialists. I have worked in social research for over 30 years at NatCen, TNS and Kantar, managing surveys in a wide range of policy areas. I first got into social research because it sounded interesting, and that interest has kept me here all these years. I have a strong belief in the value of social research and the insight it gives into people’s lives, bringing the public voice to policymaking and ultimately improving society. As a trustee I especially want to assist the SRA to encourage new researchers into the profession and help them develop rewarding careers
I oversee NatCen’s evaluation work and lead on the design of impact evaluations as well as NatCen’s systematic review and evidence mapping work. I’m experienced in mixed methods evaluation approaches, logic model and theory of change work, and process evaluation methods. I also hold the role of associate editor for the Campbell Collaboration. I started my research career as a systematic reviewer and have always been passionate about applied social research and its importance in informing policy and practice. I am particularly excited about the SRA trustee role as it provides a unique opportunity to continue supporting a large number of high calibre researchers in their professional development.