Purpose of the post

We are looking for a leader (established or well advanced on a career pathway to a leadership position) who is well connected and highly respected across the stroke and cardiovascular clinical and research communities in the UK and internationally. They will have an excellent track record in the use of large scale, multimodal data types in stroke research, and a strong commitment to developing linked health data-enabled approaches to enhance understanding of the causes and progression of stroke to improve strategies for treatment.

The Associate Director for the Stroke Data Science Catalyst will be a key member of the BHF Data Science Centre leadership team, working closely with the Director, Deputy Director and Associate Directors leading the Centre’s thematic and catalytic areas, and centre staff to identify and prioritise key areas of work in stroke data science research, demonstrating impact at national and international level in clinical practice, the health system and for people affected by stroke.

Supported by the BHF Data Science Centre team, the Stroke Association and the BHF, the postholder will work stakeholders, including people affected by stroke, across the UK to:

  • identify research priorities for large-scale, data-enabled stroke research;
  • forge relevant collaborations to progress stroke research priorities;
  • in alignment with BHF Data Science Centre and HDR UK-led activities, identify and address the infrastructure and analytics challenges that need to be overcome to enable linkage across health data and their analyses at UK-wide scale, to improve people’s cardiovascular health and care.

This part-time role will provide leadership and strategic planning for stroke research, to meet the wider objectives of the BHF Data Science Centre in improving cardiovascular health through the use of large-scale data and innovative analytical methods, working strategically with the BHF and Stroke Association.

Main responsibilities

  • Provide leadership to bring together research, clinical, epidemiological, data science and multi-omics, networks, professional societies, NHS organisations, patients, public, industry and wider stakeholders within the health data science community to shape, influence and build consensus on the use of multi-modal health data and their integration with other health data for stroke research. An ability to see the bigger picture and focus on key priorities is crucial in order to ensure benefit to the wider stroke and data science communities
  • Create and maintain new partnerships, building on existing networks across the data science, stroke and cardiovascular communities, NHS organisations, industry, patients and public, regulatory and information governance partners to identify and prioritise the key challenges of using, linking and analysing multi-modal health data at national scale. The postholder will also build on existing partnerships and collaboration opportunities established by the Centre’s other Associate Directors and with relevant HDR UK initiatives and national priorities
  • Work with the stroke, cardiovascular and health data science communities, patients and public, NHS organisations, industry, Stroke Association, BHF. and the BHF Data Science Centre Director and team to identify suitable and build on existing identified exemplar driver projects that will highlight and address key requirements via the Stroke Data Science Catalyst. In collaboration with the wider health data science and stroke communities, provide strategic leadership in the development of novel and/or reproducible methodological and analytical approaches
  • Provide strategic direction and champion a team science approach to deliver projects, providing negotiation and brokering skills where necessary to drive improvement in the use, linkage and analysis of multi-modal health data for stroke research
  • Work with the BHF Data Science Centre Director and team, Stroke Association and BHF to lead the development of:
    • strategic plans for the Stroke Data Science Catalyst;
    • project and delivery plans and subsequent reporting for this thematic area
  • Contribute to and lead on relevant funding applications and other initiatives to leverage additional resources to enhance the research-enabling activities of the Stroke Data Science Catalyst
  • Working with the BHF Data Science Centre team, wider HDR UK colleagues, Stroke Association, BHF and patient/public groups to identify opportunities and provide content to communicate to diverse audiences on the impact of the activities of the Stroke Data Science Catalyst

Day-to-day project management and administrative support will be provided by the Centre team.

Planning and organising

The postholder will lead on the development of a strategy and delivery plan to meet the objectives of the BHF Data Science Centre in the use, linkage and analysis of health data in stroke research.  This will require working with the BHF Data Science Centre team in planning and organising project plans for this area as well as providing oversight across a number of complex projects to ensure delivery of objectives within deadlines.

Problem solving

This role involves significant application of prior knowledge accumulated from professional and research experience. An enhanced level of initiative and problem-solving ability is needed to develop new ideas and novel approaches in response to issues and research problems, as well as tenacity to resolve infrastructure, organisational or governance bottlenecks. This approach will involve sharing knowledge and development with leading experts in the field, requiring collaboration, excellent negotiating skills and creative thinking. Considerable strategic awareness will need to be used.

The postholder will operate with significant independence and will make effective judgements on when to escalate issues to the Director, Deputy Director or other senior HDR UK colleagues.

Decision making

Responsibility for developing and delivering on the strategy for the Stroke Data Science Catalyst, in collaboration with the Director, Stroke Association, and the BHF.

Initiate, develop and build on opportunities for collaborative working with the broader members of the stroke, cardiovascular and health data science communities, NHS organisations, patients and public, industry, wider HDR UK community, relevant national and international partners and organisations.

Continuous improvement

HDR UK is dedicated to continuous improvement through our quality management system and has achieved ISO 9001 accreditation. The post-holder will review, analyse, identify and implement opportunities for quality improvement within their role and as part of the wider team through our strategy development and internal audit processes.

Key contacts/relationships

The post holder will be a key member of the BHF Data Science Centre leadership team working closely with the BHF Data Science Centre Director, Deputy Director, Associate Directors and the Centre team. They will build and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues within and across HDR UK, partners in the Stroke Association, BHF, NHS organisations, the wider cardiovascular, stroke and health data science communities, partners in substantive HDR UK Hubs and sites, and other key stakeholders.

A key relationship will be with patients and the public to build trust and acceptability in the use of health data at scale for stroke research.


Candidates must:

  • hold a substantive post at a UK organisation
  • have a contract of employment at their organisation that extends up to 2024 or beyond,
  • have the written support of their organisation (an institutional supporting letter will be required at the application stage)

Knowledge, skills and experience


  • Extensive experience in stroke research as well as an interest and understanding of relevant aspects in health data science, in particular, the linkage and analysis of population-wide health data in research, and the use of health data linkages to enhance large cohorts and/or clinical trials
  • Proven leadership skills to provide direction and deliver change across the UK
  • Ability to lead and inspire trust in a wide range of stakeholders and to build consensus across multiple stakeholders
  • Advanced understanding of the complexities, challenges and limitations of using routinely collected structured data from different health settings (e.g., secondary care, primary care, dispensed medications, specialist registry data etc.) as well as from different devolved nations of the UK in health research
  • Experience of linking routinely collected health data with other health relevant data (e.g. omics, wearables, imaging) with appreciation and knowledge of the uses, challenges and potential limitations of such linkages in large-scale research studies
  • Knowledge of innovative methodological and analytic approaches (e.g., AI and/or machine learning) and their application to analysis across routinely collected and other health data sources in health research
  • Well connected with stroke and health data science research networks, NHS organisations, professional societies, industry and wider stakeholders of relevance to the ambitions of the Stroke Data Science Catalyst
  • Experience of working with patients, the public, and patient and public involvement networks/organisations in planning, delivering and communicating research
  • Commitment and ability to bring together people and infrastructure to drive forward improvements and change systems through collaborative team working and exemplar projects


  • Personal drive and ambition to provide leadership in the area of health data science in stroke research
  • Excellent influencing and negotiating skills
  • Creative and innovative thinker
  • A commitment and enthusiasm to engaging with patients, the public, and patient and public involvement networks/organisations in the stroke data science catalyst is essential.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to listen to and bring on board a wide range of stakeholders with competing priorities and views
  • Excellent networking skills with a desire to work collaboratively to achieve goals
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills, with the ability to manage competing priorities and issues under time pressures
  • Ability to work flexibly with a team of highly skilled individuals

Application Process

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the BHF Data Science Centre Director to discuss further: bhfdsc@hdruk.ac.uk

Prior to application, candidates should discuss with their line manager / other relevant senior colleagues how this this part-time secondment position would fit with their existing post.

How to apply:

Please apply via  recruitment@hdruk.ac.uk with the following:

  • Your CV (listing no more than 20 of your most relevant publications or other research outputs and no more than 10 of your most relevant funding awards)
  • A covering letter of no more than 500 words explaining what you can bring to this role.
  • A letter from your institution supporting your secondment to perform this role if appointed.

Please contact recruitment@hdruk.ac.uk if you have any queries regarding your application.

The closing date for this vacancy is Sunday 4th June 2023.

Interviews will take place on Friday 16th June 2023. Interviews will take place via zoom.

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