Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Clinical Trials UnitNews

Blog - Shaping the future of research

Published: 17 November 2023
SCTU researchers

Throughout November, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is running its #ShapeTheFuture campaign, celebrating research careers and encouraging people working in healthcare to learn more about how they can get involved in research.

We spoke to staff at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU) who are working on NIHR-funded studies and projects to find out more about their roles and how they feel to #BePartOfResearch.


Cherish Boxall

Cherish is an NIHR-funded Doctoral Fellow specialising in qualitative research, currently working on a broad portfolio of health and care research at SCTU (including the CaDET, VALUE, and MANCAN2 studies) and has recently started her PhD study, EQUATE.


Cherish Boxall

“I use methods including interviews, observations, focus groups and surveys to explore health experiences, beliefs, behaviours, and emotions to uncover patient and staff needs and preferences.

“I was first exposed to health and care research during a placement. The placement let me to apply for a Clinical Trials Assistant role at University Hospital Southampton. Once I’d discovered research, I realised there is a wealth of opportunity to apply my skills and develop into different roles.

“I love that my job allows me to connect with people, really listen to them, and use what is being shared to better the publics experiences and access to healthcare.

“Participating in research is an immensely gratifying privilege. It affords me the honour of representing and amplify the voices of the public, which brings me immeasurable satisfaction. To put it in a relatable way, I’ve never dreaded Monday morning on a Sunday evening.

“I wish I had been aware of research careers earlier in my life. If you’re curious, I recommend reaching out through social media or email or keeping an eye out for events.”

Find out more about the EQUATE study.


Jess Kelly

Jess is a Trial Manager at the SCTU who works on the NIHR-funded CONTRACT 2 study, looking at whether antibiotics can be a safe and effective alternative to surgery for children with simple appendicitis.

Jess Kelly

“My role as a Trial Manager involves developing and managing the CONTRACT 2 study, including site-set up, trial amendments, central monitoring of key documents, answering site queries and overseeing committee meetings, amongst lots of other tasks!

“I first became involved in research when I started working in the NHS in 2017 as a Data Management Assistant, working on over 30 studies. I then joined the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit as a Clinical Trial Monitor in November 2020 before becoming a Trial Manager.

“It feels great to be involved in research, working as part of a team to achieve the endpoints within the study gives me a great sense of collaboration and motivates me to contribute as much as I can.

“I love feeling like I am making a difference and helping to support NHS sites. Research is an incredibly rewarding career and I am very proud to be a part of it.”

Find out more about the CONTRACT 2 study.


Alannah Morgan

Alannah is a Trial Manager who is currently working on two studies – CaDeT, which is testing a novel design for urinary catheters with the aim of improving quality of life for patients, and MANCAN2 which is investigating whether a talking therapy can help reduce treatment side effects for men with prostate cancer.

Alannah Morgan

“My journey into research is quite a personal one. I'm a genetically identical triplet and my sisters and I were involved in research as participants from an early age. I never really knew this would influence my choice of career as I grew older, and I thought about many suited careers like a forensic scientist, psychologist, and teaching. I completed my undergraduate in psychology, and that sparked my academic interest in research. I fell into clinical research after I responded to a job advert to work as a clinical research assistant at University Hospital Southampton after graduating in 2015, and really enjoyed it. I've worked at the SCTUfor six years now, I worked my way through from trial officer, coordinator and now a Trial Manager.

“One of the things I love most about the work that I do is that it is such a varied role. I'm so lucky to be involved in so many elements of clinical research. In terms of my main duties, it really depends on the type of trial and where each trial is at in its journey... no two trials are ever the same! Recently I have led site selection (where the study is taking place), the opening of sites, training and protocol adherence at our participating sites, recruitment of participants, processing amendments, production of comprehensive reports to key stakeholders (NIHR), and chairing meetings with collaborators.

“We have such a supportive team here at SCTU, behind every trial we have data managers, coordinators, assistants, statisticians, and a quality and regulatory team. We all work together, and it's my job to pull everything together and make sure we are all working to target and deliver high-quality trials to answer really important health-related problems.  I've recently co-authored and published a protocol paper which I was proud to have accepted in BMC Trials this year.

“I love that I am really contributing to the continued growth of health research, and really helping to make a difference to the quality of life of others. I feel really proud!”

Find out more about the CaDeT study.

Find out more about the MANCAN2 study.

Watch a video on CaDeT


Privacy Settings