Ensuring that our services are safe and effective is one of the most important things we do as an organisation. For our services to be the best they can be we need to be able to test new ideas and treatments to see if they work, and gather vital evidence to prove it.

Our dedicated Research Development Unit brings together experts with clinical, research and academic backgrounds to lead on our work in this area. They work alongside service users, carers, staff, commercial companies, charities, universities and other NHS Trusts to run a range of research and clinical trials in our services across Sheffield.

By working together we’re able to learn and share best practice that all helps us to continually make improvements to the services we provide.

Why are we involved in research?

There’s clear evidence that NHS trusts involved in research provide safer services, deliver better quality care and have improved performance overall. Not only does it benefit our service users, carers and their families, but it also has huge benefits for our staff.

By getting involved in research they’re able to develop professionally and use their clinical experience to make improvements.

Health Research Authority

HRA approval is the process for the NHS in England that brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance, undertaken by dedicated HRA staff, with the independent REC opinion provided through the UK research ethics service.

It replaces the need for local checks of legal compliance and related matters by each participating organisation in England. This allows participating organisations to focus their resources on assessing, arranging and confirming their capacity and capability to deliver the study – see more here.

For further information on the HRA application process, please visit their website.

Get involved

Our latest studies

We have a range of studies open at the moment that we’re looking for participants for. Some of our studies are limited to current service users and staff, and others are open to members of the public. If you meet the criteria for one of the studies and would like to take part we’d love to hear from you.

Study Summary Criteria Study visits Contact
Evaluating the impact of minimum unit pricing in Scotland on harmful drinkers This study would involve a one-off interview with a researcher on your alcohol consumption. Service users who are receiving support or treatment with their alcohol.  One study visit. Dr Olawale Lagundoye

WorkingWin Participants will be randomised to receive existing employment support services, or receive employment support from a WorkingWin employment specialist. Service users who have a low or moderate mental health condition, or a physical health condition, which is a barrier employment.      


You must be interested in returning to paid employment to take part in this study. 

Fortnightly meetings with an employment specialist for up to 12 months. Dr Michelle Horspool

Individual placement support for alcohol and drug dependence trial (IPS AD trial) Participants will be randomised to receive existing employment support, or receive employment support from a job specialist. They will help create a job plan and regularly review it. Service users who have an alcohol or drug dependency and are not working but would like support to find a job.     

You must be interested in finding paid employment, not be currently receiving detox treatment or have legal proceedings which are likely to result in imprisonment. 

Meetings with a job specialist and questionnaires for up to 18 months. Joanna Yardley

Adult Autism Spectrum Cohort UK This project is questionnaire based where you’ll be included in a cohort so researchers can learn about the lives of adults on the autism spectrum. To take part you must have a confirmed diagnosis of ASD and be aged 16 or over.   One-off questionnaire. Participants may be contacted in the future to be asked in they would like to take part in future studies.
Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing Survey This project is questionnaire based where you’ll be included in a cohort so researchers can learn about the lives of adults with severe mental ill health and their health and wellbeing. To take part you must have been diagnosed with a severe mental health problem.  One-off questionnaire. Participants may be contacted in the future to be asked in they would like to take part in future studies. Pete Stewart

COPe-support online resource for carers This study is for carers of people who are affected by psychosis. Participants will be randomised to either COPe-support or a non-interactive information website.  This study is for family, friends and carers of anyone who is affected by psychosis.      

You must be the sole carer for the individual and they cannot have any other mental illness other than psychosis.

Online questionnaires at four time points over eight months. Option to take part in an interview at the end of the study.  Laura Di Bona

TIME: Take Home Naloxone Intervention Multi Centre Emergency Setting Feasibility Trial TIME examines the effectiveness of naloxone as a drug that service users who are at risk of overdose can take. The aim is to examine whether this can help reduce deaths from overdose. Aimed at anyone aged 18 or over who takes opioid drugs such as heroin, morphine, fentanyl or methadone, and people who are friends or family members of a person at risk of opioid overdose. One-off interview lasting about between 30-45 minutes or a one-off focus group lasting around 60 minutes. Zoe Black

Complete smokefree policies in mental health inpatient settings: exploring the impact on smoking behaviour and the role of electronic cigarettes This study looks at the role electronic cigarettes have to play in smoking cessation once admitted to an inpatient setting.  Tobacco smokers receiving inpatient treatment on one of the Trust’s wards. Three study visits. The first will include a 20-30 minute interview, with two further interviews after discharge. Dr Michelle Horspool

Smoking Cessation Intervention for Severe Mental Ill Health Trial (SCIMITAR+) The University of York are examining the link between serious mental health problems and the likelihood to smoke, and offers a bespoke smoking cessation intervention.  People who have taken part in the original SCIMITAR+ study and completed the study questionnaires and carbon monoxide breath measures.     

If you did not take part in the original study you cannot take part in this one.

One study visit to give a carbon monoxide breath measure, as well as a postal questionnaire. Dr Michelle Horspool

SYMBAD: Study of Treatment for Agitation in People with Memory Problems There is a wide choice of medicines available to treat symptoms of agitation, but it is not clear which treatments are best in those people who have dementia.  This study lasts for 12 months and is divided into three parts:    

(1) the consent and assessment part which will be completed in one or two visits,

(2) the treatment part (Mirtazipine or placebo) which takes 12 weeks and then

(3) final questionnaires at 6 and 12 months with the carer by telephone.

People who have been diagnosed with dementia who are showing signs of agitation, e.g. aimless pacing, repetitive sentences and questions or aggression.    


People who are currently being treated with antidepressants or antipsychotics and females under the age of 55 of childbearing potential can’t take part.

4 visits and 3 telephone contacts with the person and their carer Dr Aparna Mordekar

TACK – Adapting and testing a technology supported and solution-focused intervention (DIALOG+) for people with chronic depression This research aims to develop a new approach to help people with chronic depression. Researchers have developed an intervention called “DIALOG+” which helped people with schizophrenia. DIALOG+ involved mental health staff using a tablet computer to ask about satisfaction with different areas of life and then working together to find solutions to concerns raised. After using DIALOG+, service users were more satisfied with life and had fewer symptoms. Service users and staff found the approach helpful and it saved the NHS money.  

The second phase of the TACK programme is looking at the effectiveness of DIALOG+ for people with chronic depression on improving quality of life and clinical outcomes (such as depression symptoms). The intervention will be tested in routine meetings across six sites in England.  Researchers will also evaluate how cost-effective the intervention is within the NHS.  They will also determine what works well or not so well in order to improve training materials and resources for staff.

People who have symptoms of depression or non-psychotic low mood with a duration of illness of at least 2 years and are receiving treatment from an NHS mental health service with regular contact with clinicians.  


People who have a primary diagnosis of a substance misuse problem, a diagnosis of a mental disorder eg Alzheimer’s, current inpatients on a psychiatric ward can’t take part.  People who do not currently have clinical contact with a mental health professional can’t take part.

6 months of monthly sessions, followed by 6 months of booster sessions, to be done at the same time as clinical appointments Dani Chadderton, Shonagh Scott

DLB Genetics – Detecting susceptibility genes for dementia with Lewy bodies This study involves:  

  • a trained research assistant or research nurse visiting you either at home or at a local clinic. This visit will last around two hours
  • answering questions about yourself and taking part in a memory test
  • providing a blood sample
  • inviting a family member or friend to help by answering some questions about your diagnosis.
People who can take part:  

People who have probable dementia with lewy bodies.

Two or more core clinical features without biomarkers or one clinical feature with biomarkers

A willingness to provide a blood or saliva sample for genetic analysis

White European ethnicity

People who have an available study partner


People who can’t take part:

People who do not have parkinsonism at mild and moderate stages of dementia

Diagnosis of Parkinson disease dementia (PDD)

Diagnosis of substance misuse or substance dependence

Learning disability

Major psychiatric illness

One visit of approximately 2 hours Dr Aparna Mordekar

Meet the team

Our research team have vast experience working across the NHS and academic fields in a variety of backgrounds. They have developed a national reputation for innovative research and using their findings to make real improvements to our services.

You can find out more about the team and their specialisms by visiting our meet the team page.

Our performance

Every quarter we are required to report on our research performance by NHS National Institute for Health Research.

You can take a look at our previous quarter reports dating back to 2015 by clicking here.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about getting involved in our research work as a participant or as a partner all you need to do is drop us an email to and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.