Clinical Operational Research Unit



Our academic team from University College London comprises experts in:

  • systems engineering; health services research applied to children in underserved populations;
  • data linkage & analysis; design & evaluation of health services improvements;
  • health psychology

Our team is completed by expertise from:

  • lived experience (our parent applicant);
  • three charity partners (MENCAP, WellChild, The Mighty Creatives);
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital;
  • a health innovation partnership; and a service commissioner.

Together, we will use the development phase to build a truly transformative Hub centred around CYP and their families. 

Leadership team

Prof Christina Pagel and Prof Sonya Crowe, Operational Research (OR) Leads

Christina Pagel

Prof Christina Pagel

Sonya Crowe

Prof Sonya Crowe

Prof Christina Pagel and Prof Sonya Crowe (UCL Clinical Operational Research Unit, CORU), both have expertise in mathematics and systems design in health services, using large linked datasets and working in partnership with clinicians, commissioners and service users. 

Dr Jenny Shand, Implementation and Evaluation Lead

Dr Jenny Shand

Dr Jenny Shand (UCL Clinical, Education & Health Psychology) is an Associate Professor in Health Services and Population Research. She is also Non-Executive Director at Care City, an innovation centre for healthy ageing and regeneration in East London. Jenny spent many years leading innovation at UCL Partners (UCLP) and is expert in working across many different services to implement and evaluate service improvements. UCLP is the largest academic science partnership in the world spanning 21 NHS Trusts, 8 Universities and a population >6 million. 

Prof Monica Lakhanpaul, Health Services Research and Families Engagement Lead

Monica Lakhanpaul

Prof Monica Lakhanpaul (UCL Institute of Child Health), expert in health services research for children and young people (CYP) with complex health needs, particularly the burden experienced by underserved and underrepresented families and those facing inequalities. She is also a community paediatrician, and works directly with children and their families to co-develop interventions and understand their health challenges. 

Ashley Yonga, project coordination 

Ashley Yonga

Ashley Yonga is an Implementation Coordinator at UCL Partners (UCLP), where she works with teams and organisations across their region (North Central London, North East London and Mid and South Essex) to support developing the capability and capacity to improve quality of care, patient outcomes and experience, alongside increasing efficiency. 

Julie Taylor, project coordination 

Julie Taylor

A trained epidemiologist and an expert research, ethics and governance coordinator, Julie currently works as Senior Research Coordinator at the UCL Clinical Operational Research Unit(CORU), working on projects in Congenital Heart Disease (LAUNCHES, CHAMPION), the CHIMERA hub (Collaborative Healthcare Innovation through Mathematics, EngineeRing and AI), and now, SPROCKET.

Academic team

Prof Martin Utley, OR (systems level approaches) 

Martin Utley

Prof Martin Utley (UCL Clinical Operational Research Unit), expert in taking systems level approach to improve local and national health policy. 

Prof Rebecca Shipley, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering

Rebecca Shipley

Prof Rebecca Shipley (Institute of Healthcare Engineering (IHE), UCL). Becky is Director of UCL IHE and UCL Vice Dean for Health. She has extensive expertise of leadership and delivery of collaborative research grants, including running IHE’s Age Innovation Hub which includes innovative and extensive public involvement. 

Prof Jo Wray, Great Ormond Street, health psychologist. Expert in family and child interviews & surveys 

Prof Jo Wray

Prof Jo Wray, Professor of Child Health Psychology - Cardiology, Critical Care and Transplantation, expert in serveys and interview studies of families, children, and service providers. Also expert in developing new evaluation tools for measuring development and wellbeing. 

Dr Kate Oulton, Great Ormond Street, working with children and young people with neurodisability

Kate Oulton

Dr Kate Oulton is Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Academic Programme Lead at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) specialising in research focused on CYP with neurodisability and those whose condition is rare.   

Charity partners


Amy Mitchell

Lead: Amy Mitchell

WellChild is the national charity for sick children. Thousands of children and young people are living across the UK with serious health needs. Many spend months, even years in hospital because there is no support enabling them to leave. WellChild exists to give these children the best chance to thrive: at home, with their families.   


Raksha Patel

Lead: Raksha Patel

Mencap is the leading charity for the 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK, as well as their families and carers. Mencap operates over 700 services and provides personal support to around 4,000 people each year. Mencap also works with thousands more people and families through co-producing research, specialist information and advice services, targeted community programmes, advocacy and digital services.  

The Mighty Creatives

Nick Owen

Lead: Dr Nick Owen MBE

Dr. Nick Owen is CEO of one of the UK’s foremost charities for children and young people, The Mighty Creatives, a national charity which fights for social justice for young people by empowering the most unheard young people in society to find their sense of self, purpose and belonging through creative experiences.  He is also currently Visiting Professor of the School of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield.

Nick was awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses in 2012 and is an expert in developing international, inclusive cultural education.  As the first Head of Community Arts at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), he led the development of the B.A. in Community Arts and ‘Solid Foundations’: the UK's first Certificate in H.E. for Disabled People. He then established the Aspire Trust in Merseyside; a social enterprise which provided creative and innovative support for schools. He completed his PhD in creativity and learning at the University of Hull funded by a unique scholarship from Creative Partnerships.

Parent co-applicant

Meaghan Kall

Meaghan Kall

Meaghan Kall is lead Epidemiologist in COVID-19 Vaccines and Epidemiology Division at UK Health Security Agency. Prior to her current position, she work in the national HIV surveillance team for 10 years, developing and implementing the national HIV patient survey ‘Positive Voices’. In her spare time she explains epidemiological data on Twitter using @kallmemeg and in 2021, the journal Nature named her in Nature's 10, their global top ten list of people who helped shape science that year. She is a parent of two children, including a 6-year-old son who was born with a rare genetic condition called ATR-X Syndrome. He lives with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), physical disability including being a full-time wheelchair user, and other heath challenges which require frequent attendance at primary, secondary and specialist care. As a result, Meaghan has first-hand experience of the challenges of navigating the paediatric health and social care system for a child with complex needs.   

Provider partners

Prof Neil Sabire, Chief Information Officer, Great Ormond Street Hospital 

Neil Sebire

Prof Neil Sebire (UCL/GOSH), Professor of Pathology at GOSH but also Chief Research Information Officer at GOSH and Director of the GOSH Digital Research, Informatics and Virtual Environment (DRIVE), which is an invaluable data resource on children who are treated at Great Ormond Street. He is very interested in how to reduce burden on children and families in receiving specialist care (e.g. through remote monitoring and/or telehealth). 

Dr Chris Caldwell, North Central London, Integrated Care Board

Chris Caldwell

Dr Chris Caldwell joined North Central London Integrated Care Board (ICB) as Chief Nurse in May 2022, after senior roles at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Health Education England, and NHS England. Chris is also a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University. She is a registered nurse in adult and children’s nursing and a registered nurse teacher. She has postgraduate degrees in Health Psychology and Nurse Education and gained her Doctorate from Ashridge Business School focusing on organisational change. Chris is passionate about applying relational and creative approaches to system leadership to achieve sustainable transformation through collective action systems leadership and integrated working to drive improvements in health and care to reduce inequalities and improve population health.