Graeme Chapman


Graeme is the Chair of our Strategy Board.

He has over 30 years’ experience delivering business transformation across a number of industries, including Healthcare, Life Sciences, Central Government, Retail Banking, Manufacturing and Utilities.

Graeme is currently a Non-Executive Director for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is the Chair of the Trust Quality Committee.

Graeme spent his early career in Energy Engineering but spent the later part of his career in Information Technology.  Graeme worked at Microsoft for over 20 years, spending 10 years working in Health and Life Sciences with a significant focus on digital transformation strategy.

Having been born, educated and worked in Newcastle, Graeme has a strong connection with the region and has a passion for its growth and development.

Professor David Burn

Pro-vice Chancellor Faculty of Medical Sciences,
Newcastle University and Director of NHIP

Professor Burn is an internationally recognised expert in movement disorders, in particular dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. Born in the North East he was appointed as a Consultant Neurologist and Senior Lecturer in Newcastle in 1994.

“The ethos I try to instil is how our research can have impact and make a difference. The University uses knowledge to tackle real world problems. However, it is sometimes seen as separate from our local community. Being part of the NHIP shows our clear commitment to improving the lives of people here in the North East of England and North Cumbria, and beyond. Combining our expertise and knowledge with the outstanding qualities of our other partners we aim to generate better answers to the problems and inequalities facing our region.”

Sir Jim Mackey

Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust

Sir James became chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals on 1 January 2024.

He was previously chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and during this time held a two-year secondment in a national role as chief executive of NHS Improvement.  He was knighted in 2019 for services to healthcare and was at the forefront of the region’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw his trust set up its own factory to make personal protective equipment (PPE).

Sir James is also chair of the NHS Customer Board for Procurement and Supply and was appointed by NHS England and NHS Improvement as Senior Responsible Officer and National Director of Elective Recovery for the elective recovery programme in Autumn 2021.  He was acting interim chief operating officer of NHS England for a period in 2023.

Dr Nicola Hutchinson

Chief Executive Officer, Academic Health Science Network
for the North East and North Cumbria

Since gaining a PhD in Chemistry from Durham University, Nicola has worked in a variety of roles supporting business and industry in the North East. She worked as a Programme Manager and then Head of NHS Innovations North before joining the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) in 2013.

Nicola was instrumental in establishing the AHSN NENC and has played a crucial role in cementing the organisation within the regional healthcare landscape over the last seven years, rising to the position of Chief Executive Officer in 2020. Led by Nicola as Chief Executive Officer, the AHSN NENC acts as the link between the NHS, academia and industry, to drive forward transformative innovations.

Since the inception of the AHSN NENC, Nicola has developed and deployed The Innovation Pathway, and she has also shaped the work programme for the national economic growth agenda for the AHSN Network.

Dr Nicola Hutchinson Chief Executive Officer

James Duncan

Chief Executive, Cumbria, Northumberland,
Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

James Duncan has worked as a Director in mental health and disabilities services with CNTW and its predecessors for over 20 years and was appointed as the Chief Executive in February 2022.  He is passionate about the services that his organisation provides, the people that services support, our region and our people, the need to tackle long term inequalities and the role that research can and should play in improving the work that we do with and alongside our communities.

Pam Smith

Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle City Council

Pam joined Newcastle City Council as Chief Executive in January 2022 having been Chief Executive at Stockport Council since 2017 where she was also Greater Manchester’s Lead Chief Executive for ‘Age Friendly Greater Manchester’, and she continues to be the Solace lead spokesperson for Housing.

Pam is passionate about people, communities and neighbourhoods and believes strongly in working with residents and colleagues from across the region to achieve the very best outcomes for the city. Pam sees the NHIP as a critical enabler to achieving those aims, tackling inequalities and improving the health, wealth and wellbeing of people in the North East.

Professor John Isaacs

Associate Medical Director for Research,
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Chair of the NHIP Research Innovation Strategy Group

John Isaacs is Professor of Clinical Rheumatology and Director of Therapeutics North East at Newcastle University. He is also Associate Medical Director for Research and Consultant Rheumatologist at Newcastle Hospitals.

Prof Isaacs is a NIHR Senior Investigator, and past Chair of the Scientific Committee of the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology. From 2007 to 2017 he chaired Arthritis Research UK’s Inflammatory Arthritis Clinical Study Group, developing a competitive research agenda for the UK. He also led the MRC/ABPI RA-MAP consortium, pioneering precision medicine for rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Prof Isaacs runs a research group focussed on ‘switching off’ autoimmunity in order to prevent or cure diseases such as RA. He believes we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in this field and his team has pioneered a novel cellular therapy to switch off RA.

Professor John Isaacs

Professor Dave Jones

Professor of Liver Immunology, Newcastle University
and PI for the UK-PBC Research Consortium

Chair of the NHIP Education & Training Group

Professor Dave Jones leads the internationally renowned autoimmune liver disease clinical service in Newcastle, hosted by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust (NUTH). He has worked in the area of the autoimmune liver disease Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) for over 25 years, starting as an MRC Clinical Research and Clinician Scientist Fellow. Working initially on the underpinning biology of the disease he has translated key mechanistic discoveries into new approaches to therapy.

In addition to his clinical and research work he as a long interest in training and is the NIHR Dean for Faculty Trainees. He has played a key role in the development of new integrated academic pathways which will play a key role in developing the next generation of researchers in the area of Stratified Medicine and its underpinning technologies.

In June 2018 he was awarded an OBE for his services to Liver Medicine and Clinical Academic Training.

Prof Dave Jones

Professor Eileen Kaner

Director, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC)
for the North East and North Cumbria

Professor Eileen Kaner is the Director of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) for the North East and North Cumbria, and Professor of Public Health and Primary Care Research at Newcastle University.

As an applied behavioural scientist, she uses a wide range of research methodologies to focus on illness prevention in high-risk groups crossing health, mental health, social care, educational and forensic settings. ARC work is policy and practice focused and it addresses contemporary health and social care needs for the most vulnerable people in society. Addressing inequalities is at the heart of this work and a shared agenda with NHIP.


Professor Caroline Wroe

Director, NIHR Clinical Research Network
for North East and North Cumbria

Professor Caroline Wroe is Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for North East and North Cumbria and a Consultant Kidney Specialist at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In her NIHR role she leads a regional team to support research delivery across a wide range of health and care settings to improve the outcomes of people living in the North East and North Cumbria.

As a clinician she is chair of the UK Living Kidney Donation network and contributes to the setting and delivery of national strategy and guidelines. Caroline looks forward to working with NHIP to develop translational research as a strategic priority.

Caroline Wroe

Professor Avan Aihie Sayer

Director, NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre

Professor Avan Aihie Sayer is Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, William Leech Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Newcastle University, and Honorary Consultant Geriatrician at Newcastle Hospitals. She is an NIHR Senior Investigator and leads an internationally recognised programme of research on ageing and multiple long-term conditions – core business for the NHS and a strategic research priority for NHIP.

The focus of her AGE Research Group is on translating understanding of mechanisms into advances in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes such as sarcopenia and multimorbidity, and the interdisciplinary group has an important remit for capacity building in this area. Patient and public involvement is at the heart of the research to maximise its impact not only locally but regionally and beyond.

Dr Vicky McFarlane Reid

Director for Commercial Development and Innovation,
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Vicky joined Newcastle Hospitals in September 2019 as executive director for business, development and enterprise. She is responsible for the development of the commercial enterprise team, which seeks to maximise the organisation’s ability to deliver non-NHS revenues which can be reinvested back into patient care.

Business planning, strategy management, service development, performance and contracting are also within her remit, and she is the executive sponsor for sustainable healthcare and climate change.

Vicky has a PhD in molecular ecology and a BSc in biology. Before joining Newcastle Hospitals, she spent 17 years working for Leica Biosystems (a Danaher company) in the field of cancer diagnostics, as director for research and development.

Professor Dianne Ford

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University

Dianne is the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University and Professor of Molecular Nutrition. Dianne is a Co-opted Governor at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Fellow of the Physiological Society.  From April 2024 she joins the governing Council of the General Pharmaceutical Council. She serves frequently on research and advisory panels for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, remains committed to her own personal research and collaborates with researchers in the UK and worldwide.

Hannah Powell

Chief Operating Officer

Hannah’s role as Chief Operating Officer is to lead partnership working across NHIP and beyond, harnessing strategic alignment to improve health and care through increased translation of discoveries from early scientific research into patient benefit.

Hannah has over 15 years experience in demanding senior leadership positions in the NHS in the North East region, mostly in the operational delivery of large-scale clinical services in acute hospital Trusts.

Prior to joining NHIP, Hannah was responsible for clinical research in Newcastle Hospitals where she developed and commenced implementation of its current research strategy, whilst simultaneously enhancing research performance and culture through collaborative working on new research delivery models.

During that same period, Hannah was also responsible for the successful rapid mobilisation of the regional Nightingale Hospital North East and the first regional hub for COVID vaccination research.

She is passionate about partnership working, continuous improvement and leadership development. In addition to holding a MSc in Health and Public Leadership, Hannah is a qualified coach and a facilitator of action learning sets for NHS leaders across the country.

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