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Dr Sonya Crowe
Clinical Operational Research Unit
4 Taviton Street
Tel: +44(0)20 7679 4953
Fax: +44(0)20 7813 2814
  • Associate Professor
  • Clinical Operational Research Unit
  • Dept of Mathematics
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I have a PhD in physics and previously worked in the Government Operational Research Services as a operational research analyst, contributing to live policy issues within the Export Credit Guarantees Department and the UK Department of Health.

I joined UCL’s Clinical Operational Research Unit (CORU) from Government in 2009 in order to pursue an academic career in operational research and mathematical modelling applied to healthcare. Since then, I have continued to collaborate with those informing national policy as well as with local NHS organisations, international partners working on global health problems, and academics from a range of disciplines.

In May 2013 I was awarded a Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship and in 2016 was appointed a Lecturer in Operational Research. I became the Deputy Director of CORU in October 2017.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

My research focuses on the use of information, analytical approaches and mathematical modelling to support those planning, delivering and evaluating health services. Within this, I have a particular interest in combining quantitative and qualitative operational research methods to improve services that span multiple settings. I enjoy interdisciplinary research and practical applications.

My current projects focus on:

  • Identifying plausible means of transformational efficiency gains in home-based healthcare services using operational research techniques for allocating, coordinating, scheduling and routing home visits from healthcare teams.
  • Supporting the evaluation of innovation in the health and social care system serving north east London (as part of the NHS England Innovation Test Bed programme).
  • Leading a team of embedded researchers at University College London Hospitals in the design and delivery of responsive research in close collaboration with staff and patients to address problems across a range of application areas.
  • Enhancing the impact of operational research in healthcare through better understanding how operational researchers can understand and adapt to the context of their work.

From May 2013 to July 2017 I was a Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow. As part of my fellowship I used operational research to augment an NIHR study focusing on services for infants following surgery for congenital heart disease (PI: Katherine Brown, Great Ormond Street Hospital). This involved linking national audit datasets to identify subgroups of infants that might benefit from different interventions following surgery because of their differing profiles of risk. Using soft systems methodology, I helped an expert group of health professionals and patient representatives to utilise my analysis in targeting recommendations for improving services for these patients, which has informed national decision-making about service standards and commissioning in this area. For more information, see our article in BMJ Quality and Safety: http://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/26/8/641

I have previously worked on projects relating to a variety of areas, including:

  • Risk modelling in congenital heart surgery
  • Modelling concerning the use of bridging technologies in heart transplant programmes
  • Evaluating the potential role of pneumococcus vaccination in an influenza pandemic
  • Informing public health policy on blood-borne vCJD transmission
  • Modelling to inform decisions on the childhood national immunisation programme
  • Data analysis and modelling to understand current global provision of skilled birth attendance
  • Analysing the effect of cleaning criteria in malnutrition prevalence estimates
  • Data analysis concerning newborn care practices in rural south east Asia

For more information about these projects please see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/operational-research/what_we_do

Teaching Summary

I lead the Clinical Operational Research Unit’s MSc module in Operational Research, which is part of the MSc in Mathematical Modelling run by the Mathematics Department at UCL.

I also contribute to a 1-day course on demand, capacity and flow for analysts, clinicians and service managers working within health services, which is run through the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames Academy.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

01-OCT-2017 Deputy Director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit Clinical Operational Research Unit University College London, United Kingdom
17-OCT-2016 Lecturer in Operational Research Clinical Operational Research Unit University College London, United Kingdom
01-NOV-2013 – 16-OCT-2016 Senior Research Associate Clinical Operational Research Unit University College London, United Kingdom
01-MAY-2013 – 31-JUL-2016 Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow Clinical Operational Research Unit University College London, United Kingdom
05-JAN-2009 – 30-OCT-2013 Research Associate Clinical Operational Research Unit University College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2008 – 04-JAN-2009 Senior OR Analyst Government Operational Research Services Department of Health, United Kingdom
01-JUL-2006 – 31-DEC-2007 OR Analyst Government Operational Research Services Export Credits Guarantee Department, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2017 FHEA ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow – Teaching and Learning in Higher Education University College London
2006 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Physics University of Warwick
2002 MSci Master of Natural Science – Physics University of Bristol
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