Keynote speakers

Paul Iske

Professor at the School of Business and Economics, University Maastricht, Netherlands, focusing on Open Innovation and Business Venturing and Visiting Professor Knowledge-driven Innovation at the Department of Information Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Paul is founder and CFO (Chief Failure Officer) of the ‘Institute of Brilliant Failures’, with the mission to enhance ‘failure intelligence’ and to highlight the importance of experimentation to achieve paradigm shifts and breakthrough innovation. Paul is Chairman of the Dutch Personalised Healthcare Catalyst Foundation, with the mission to accelerate the transition towards personalized, data-driven healthcare.

Jet Bussemaker

Former deputy-minister of Health and Professor of Health Policy, Science & Societal Impact at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, She is currently chair of the Council for Health and Society, the strategic advisory council to the MoH and therefore well placed to talk about setbacks and successes in knowledge exchange at the policy and research interface.

Helen Walters


Public Health Consultant Advisor at NIHR NETSCC, University of Southampton and advisor for the Department of Health on health research. She previously held the position of Head of Health at the Greater London Authority (GLA) and worked for Public Health England. She will share her experience, insights and recent work to bring together public health practice and research for improving public health.

Vicky Ward

Reader in Management at the University of St Andrews. She has spent the last 10 years researching aspects of knowledge mobilisation and knowledge sharing across the health and social care sector, with a particular focus on how diverse groups of people (practitioners, academics, communities) create and share knowledge with each other. She has a particular interest in knowledge mobilisation frameworks, knowledge brokering, knowledge co-production and embedded research.


Anne-Marie Bagnall

Anne-Marie Bagnall is Professor of Health and Wellbeing Evidence and Director of the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Beckett University. While she specialises in mixed method systematic reviews and is a trainer for Cochrane UK, her research experience also includes qualitative research, pragmatic evaluation, participatory and peer research.  Her current research interests are community engagement, community wellbeing and social relations in relation to health and health inequalities. Recent work includes mixed method systematic reviews on community business and community infrastructure for the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, and peer research as part of community empowerment initiatives, for the People’s Health Trust.


Alice Wiseman

Alice Wiseman has been Director of Public Health in Gateshead since May 2016 and registered with the UK Public Health Register since December 2009.

Alice is passionate about improving health and well-being with a particular focus on tackling the unacceptable inequalities faced by some communities

Alice now has a contract with the Clinical Research Network for half a day a week. Research priorities in Gateshead have focussed on opportunities to gain a better understanding of the lived experience of and impact of Government policy on people in some of the most disadvantaged communities. Alice has recently been elected to the Board of ADPH and is also one of the DPH leads for addiction and inequality.


David Black

David is a Hospital Governor and worked in the public sector for twenty years. Having provided care for his mother, he became involved with dementia research, social care and the NHS. When not visiting at a local care home, he works with researchers seeking to engage and involve citizens in priority setting and management of research projects.

In his community he supports people with day-to-day matters and advocates for them in navigating public services. He is an active citizen involved in issues such as digital exclusion, public engagement in decision making, and social care funding.

His interests include writing, gardening and environmental matters.


Eugene Milne

Most recently served as Director of Public Health for Newcastle, a post he held since 2014, and announced his retirement in February this year. His early career saw him working across the North East, and in Cambridge, in paediatric medicine, before he joined the children’s cancer unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

He switched to public health in 1990 and became a consultant in 1994, working for Newcastle and North Tyneside Health Authorities, subsequently becoming Deputy Regional Director of Public Health for the North East. He played a leading role in establishing the award-winning and internationally celebrated Fresh in 2005. He joined the newly formed Public Health England in 2013 at a national level and jumped at the chance to return professionally as DPH a year later.


Irene Soulsby

I have recently joined Fuse as a Public Partner. I have always lived in the Gateshead area, left school at 16 and worked as a secretary for 35 years. Following a cancer diagnosis in 2003 and being successfully treated, I chose to take early retirement.

I discovered taking part in research “quite by accident” and now enjoy getting involved with university and health research projects across the UK, and have been involved now for many years. Some examples of my Patient and Public Involvement work include NIHR PHIRST Fusion, NIHR Policy Research Unit Behavioural Science and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North East & North Cumbria Public Advisory Network. Roles have included involvement on steering committees, reviewing materials, taking part in filming, being interviewed for media (TV, radio, newspapers).


Kathryn Oliver

Kathryn Oliver is a social scientist with an interest in how evidence is made, mobilised and used in policy. She is co-director of Transforming Evidence and currently an ESRC/Government Office for Science Areas of Research Interest Fellow, studying and supporting evidence use in the UK government.

Margaret Ogdon

Margaret Ogden is a PPI representative from Co Durham. Her work spans health, public health and social care. Her areas of interest include equality & diversity, audit, training, dementia, cancer, palliative care and community engagement. In social care, she works on recovery and resilience. She is interested in all things environmental and is a PPI member on a project called PLANET.  Her specialism is PPI evaluation and she is currently working with Lancaster on the first stage of an evaluation, starting with the Cube. She received an award in 2019 from South London CRN for outstanding contribution to clinical research – Putting patients and carers first.

PJ Atkinson

In a previous life PJ was an accountant and business analyst for 34 years. But having suffered a  mental breakdown and being sectioned in 2015, a new life emerged. After suffering at the hands of Universal Credit which caused two relapses and a council housing group that did not understand mental health issues, he joined the Gateshead Poverty Truth Commission in 2019 and found a use for his lived experience, writing poetry on many of the topics he experienced. He has taken part in coproduction with the local council and Northumbria University, advising on how to engage with research and helping to ensure people in poverty have maximum opportunities to share the best quality of knowledge.


Roland Bal

Roland is a Professor of Healthcare Governance at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His extensive research focuses on the interactions between international, national and organisational policy levels. He will speak about the ethnographic research that he and his group have been doing on COVID-19 decision making, focusing on knowledge practices at different levels.


Victoria Bartle

I am a writer, speaker and PPI contributor living positively with multiple long term health conditions. My background is in retail, hospitality and welfare to work management and since leaving employment in 2016 due to my health conditions I have been volunteering with the NIHR as a patient voice. I have lived experience of being disabled, accessing primary and secondary health care and social care for myself and as a carer for a friend. I love writing and talking to people and you can find out more about me on my website

I am currently an NIHR research champion, a co-applicant with ADMISSION, a PPI member for a study looking at the effects of PAX-BD on patients with bipolar disorder and I am the PPI representative for the NIHR MLTC TRC.  Most recently I have been appointed to the North East and Yorkshire Research for Patient Benefit funding committee, the Editorial Board for the NIHR evidence alerts and the strategic planning group for the CRNC