The Team

Management Team

David Ford

Professor David Ford

Co-Director

David is Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre (ADRC) Wales, an £8million investment by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of its Big Data initiative and is Deputy Director of The Farr Institute CIPHER funded by a consortium of top UK research funders led by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

 

David is the lead of the SAIL Databank, an internationally recognised data linkage resource formed from a wide variety of routinely collected data from across Wales.

David is Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and past Chairman and current Director of MediWales, a membership organisation representing the medical technology sector of Wales. David has received research grants and consultancy contracts valuing over £40million.

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Ronan Lyons

Professor Ronan Lyons

Co-Director

Ronan is Professor of Public Health at Swansea University, Honorary Consultant in Public Health with Public Health Wales NHS Trust and an adjunct professor at Monash University, Australia.

 

He is currently Research Director for Health Data Research UK (HDRUK), principal investigator for the Wales and Northern Ireland site and national lead for the Improving Public Health scientific programme.

 

The focus of Ronan’s research is the use of routine data in cohorts, trials and in the evaluation of natural experiments and complex interventions. He led the development of a number of total population electronic cohorts in Wales as platforms for the evaluation of interventions and policies across the lifecourse.

 

He is also involved in linking data to support a number of UK cohorts and cross cohort initiatives, including being Associate Director for the MRC’s Dementias Research Platform UK. He has a particular interest in the prevention and control of injuries, leads the All Wales Injury Surveillance System and chairs the International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics and Methods (US CDC).

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Kerina Jones

Professor Kerina Jones

Co-Director

Kerina is a Professor of Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School. She is the Associate Director for Information Governance and Public Engagement (IG&PE) to ensure data protection and to maximise socially-acceptable data utility across the various Swansea University-based Population Data Science initiatives, including: the SAIL Databank, Administrative Data Research Wales, the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory Data Partnership and the HDRUK collaboration. Her work spans the spectrum of Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications (ELSI), recognising the importance of social acceptability. Kerina established an active Consumer Panel to advise on research and developments in Population Data Science.

 

The Population Data Science initiatives hosted at Swansea University are world renowned. Kerina is internationally acknowledged as having an essential and unique leadership role in these initiatives, by focusing on innovative data governance models and public engagement to enable person-based data to be used effectively and safely. This is a rapidly developing field with changes to regulatory & governance frameworks and evolving societal perceptions. Kerina leads an innovative research programme centred on IG&PE that includes work to inform cross-centre data sharing and how emerging data types, such as genetic data, and free-text data, can be used safely in conjunction with health and administrative records

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Professor Simon Thompson

Co-Director

Simon is a systems architect with many years’ experience in the NHS and academia. He is the Chief Technology Officer of a large team of talented, diverse skilled software developers. Simon leads the innovation, design, development and implementation of all SAIL technical system developments. He is responsible for delivering the technical workstream for Swansea as part of the UK network of health e-research centres of excellence.

 

Simon is a member of all of the major SAIL committees.

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Operations Team

Ashley Akbari

Ashley Akbari

Professor of Population Data Science Research

Ashley is Professor of Population Data Science Research at Population Data Science, Swansea University. Based at Swansea University since 2008, Ashley plays a substantive role in major research programmes & projects utilising population-scale data, predominantly using the SAIL Databank. Championing Team Science, Ashley leads and collaborates with multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational groups developing and delivering research promoting the translation of research outcomes into policy across academia, and government, in order to improve services and people’s lives. Ashley is particularly interested in promoting Team Science and the development of the next generation of data scientists.

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Caroline Brooks

Senior Data Scientist - Team Lead

Caroline is a health data scientist with many years’ experience in the NHS, academia and industry. Caroline joined the SAIL Databank in 2006 as a Senior Research Analyst, and her responsibilities include data quality, documentation, supporting projects and providing guidance on using the SAIL system. She works with researchers to articulate their research requirements of the SAIL Databank and supports the training and development of analysts.

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Rob Garlick

Rob Garlick

Audit & Compliance Manager

Sharon Heys

Head of Legislation and Due Diligence

Sharon is a qualified and practising solicitor who specialises in the law of data protection, health learning systems and big data. She is the specialist legal advisor to the SAIL databank providing both internal legal advice and working with data providers to draft appropriate data sharing agreements and compliance documents. With over sixteen years of post-qualification experience Sharon has worked within government, the private sector and university environments working alongside cyber security and information governance specialists to provide legal support and advice at both operational and strategic level. Sharon has worked with international companies to ensure GDPR readiness and wider compliance and developed audit and compliance systems that provide assurance and quality control. Sharon has acted as an advocate and a trainer in this specialist field and plays an active role is the SAIL’s IGRP scrutiny processes.

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Chris Jones

Infrastructure Manager

Chris is Senior Systems Developer for the SAIL Databank. He is responsible for the management of the technical infrastructure supporting the SAIL Databank and associated information products and services running on the IBM AIX DB2 platform. Chris led the design, development and implementation of SAIL Info Central and the SAIL Gateway.

Chris is a member of a number of the major SAIL committees (SAIL Advisory Board, SAIL Management Board and SAIL Data Management Committee).

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Julie Kennedy

Business Manager

Julie Kennedy is an experienced project and business manager. She spent fifteen years as an NHS IM&T project manager, working on regional and national projects with an eHealth focus. Joining Swansea University in 2010 as a Business Development Manager, she successfully developed a number of successful University / local industry collaboration projects and secured Welsh Government funding for two spinout projects (Health Cloud CIRP and Life Science Wales KEP). Within the SAIL Databank team Julie’s role is to manage the business workflow processes, ensuring that projects progress through their lifecycles from initial scoping to final closure and post project evaluation.

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Cynthia McNerney

Head of Data Acquisition and Provisioning

Cynthia joined the SAIL Databank team in 2010. She is responsible for all aspects of governance and management of data coming into SAIL from external organisations, both in relation to managing existing data held by SAIL and negotiating new datasets to be shared. She supports and manages existing relationships with a wide range of organisations who share their data as well as actively initiating new relationships.

Cynthia is Chair of the SAIL Data Management group and is responsible for SAIL’s Information Governance Review process.

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Chris Orton

Population Data Science Programme Manager and User Representative

Chris is a Programme Manager across activity within Population Data Science at Swansea University working to develop research using the SAIL Databank and involve SAIL in programmes developing research and infrastructure across the UK and internationally. Chris is also technical lead of the Health Data Research UK Inflammation and Immunity Driver Programme, developing respiratory and immune-mediated inflammatory disease research and ensuring the programme liaises with ongoing technical development across UK research infrastructure.

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Jon Smart

Chief Operating Officer

Jon is Head of Programmes and Chief Operating Officer in Swansea University Data Science. Jon is an experienced senior manager who has successfully delivered a wide range of large strategic programmes and projects in the public, private and third sectors across the UK and internationally. Jon is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI) and a PRINCE2©, MSP©, and Agile© registered practitioner and SCRUM Master©. Jon’s role is to manage all aspects of delivery of Swansea University’s role in ADR Wales, and, with colleagues in Welsh Government, to input into the operations of ADR UK.

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Dan Thayer

Senior Data Scientist - Team Lead

Dan is a Senior Data Scientist, and his responsibilities include data quality, documentation, supporting projects and providing guidance on using the SAIL system. He works with researchers to articulate their research requirements of the SAIL Databank and supports the training and development of analysts. He provides the user view to all SAIL system developments. Dan’s background as a software engineer drives him to develop better tools for linked data analysis, which includes leading the International Health Data Linkage Network Technical Working Group.

Dan is a member of all of the major SAIL committees.

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Analytical Services Team

Saira Ahmed

Data Scientist

Saira is a Data Scientist who joined the SAIL team in 2022. She finished her undergraduate in medical engineering in 2020. After doing her master's in Big Data and AI, she wanted to continue to work in data.

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Alex Coldea

Data & Project Assistant

Alex joined the SAIL team in 2020 and has a background in Software Engineering, having worked at Broadcom Inc during his year in Industry. Alex splits his development time between internal development looking at optimising processes and builds tools for the wider team/researchers and development looking at external facing systems such as the concept library.

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Hannah Davies

Project Manager

Hannah is a Project Manager that joined the team in March 2020. She has spent the last 20 years working on software development projects within the financial services industry as a Tester / Test Manager.  She has experience in a myriad of different software development lifecycles as well as defining and managing processes that support software project delivery.  Hannah is responsible for managing key services, development and team administrative tasks as well as documenting and implementing process improvements for the various activities carried out by the team. 

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Muhammad Elmessary

Senior Data Scientist

Muhammad is a Senior Data Scientist – Software Developer with the SAIL analytical services team. He works on the development of the concept Library and the automation of Data Quality tools and workflow for SAIL datasets. He received his PhD degree in electrical and electronic engineering (nanoscale device simulation) from Swansea University, UK, before which he was working in the University IT business, mainly web developing.

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Lorna Evans

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Ian Farr

Senior Research Officer

Ian is one of the SAIL Analyst Team leads. His work is supported by his background which includes working on a forensic mental health ward, leading an analytics team in the NHS, and his PhD research, investigating how people’s attitude of their age can affect health outcomes.

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Lee Hughes

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Carys Jones

Research Assistant

Carys is a Research Assistant for the SAIL Databank, joining the team in November 2020. She discovered this role whilst working as part of an epilepsy research team in the university. Here she studied data connected to The Swansea Neurology Biobank. Carys graduated from the University of Manchester in 2017 with a First Class Masters of Chemistry. However, medical data science has definitely won her over.

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Anna Rawlings

Research Officer

Anna joined SAIL Analytical Services in January 2020 with a background in ecology and molecular microbiology. With many years experience in applying uni- and multi-variate analytical appraoches to meet research aims, Anna supports a number of SAIL researchers in their quantitative analyses. She also regularly helps early-career researchers develop their data linkage and SQL skills and contributes to the internal IGRP review process.

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Sarah Rees

Senior Research Officer

Sarah is a Senior Data Scientist for the SAIL Databank. She works with researchers to define their research requirements and provides support regarding the use of health data within research projects. She contributes analytical support to a range of research projects and also contributes to increasing knowledge and awareness about the quality of data within the datasets held by the SAIL Databank. She joined the SAIL Databank in 2014; prior to this she was employed in the NHS in England and in Wales in roles relating to Public Health and Information Management.

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Ieuan Scanlon

Research Officer

Ieuan joined SAIL in 2019 as a Senior Data Scientist - Software Developer for the analytical services team. He has completed an MSc in Data Science, having previously undertaken a BSc in Computer Science at Swansea University. Ieuan's role varies, splitting his time between internal and external development, as well as research. Most recently, he has been contributing to the development of the Concept Library website and the development of internal tools. 

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Hywel Turner Evans

Research Officer

Hywel is a Research Officer at the SAIL Databank. He completed a PhD in antimatter physics and has been a data analyst in a number of research groups, including for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. At SAIL, Hywel is an analyst who undertakes research projects, provides training and support to other researchers, and scopes new projects.

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Ting Wang

Research Officer

Ting Wang is an experienced researcher, data scientist and project manager in SAIL databank. In the past 6 years, she has worked with both public and private sectors on multidisciplinary research projects investigating population health related issues, such as treatment evaluation, service demand and utilisation, disease epidemiology. She is specialised in data analysis and linkage using anonymised electronic healthcare records.

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Owen Wright

Administration and Data Co-ordinator

Owen joined SAIL Databank in May of 2022. His main responsibility is to undertake activities related to the Services offered by the team as well as assist in team administrative duties.

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Arthur Zinnurov

Research Officer - Software Developer

Arthur is a Computer Science graduate from Swansea University who has a passion for coding and solving problems (such as Google Hashcode competition and personal projects).  Arthur joined the team in 2021 as a Research Software developer to work on the SAIL projects, including Concept Library, working with health data.

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Jack Scanlon

Data Scientist - Software Developer

Jack joined the team in 2022 as a Software Developer and Data Scientist, he will primarily aid in the development of external tools for the analytical services team. Currently, his main focus in the team is working on the Concept Library, contributing to both the frontend and backend development of the website.  Jack has a background in medicine and pharmacology, having recently graduated prior to joining SAIL.

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Alexander Makovics

Data and Project Assistant

Alex joined the SAIL team in 2020, and helps supports SAIL analysts in providing metadata and geospatial [GIS] analytical support to a range of research projects, including contributing to enhancing data quality of SAIL datasets.  Alex background is in GIS, remote sensing, spatial analysis, and archaeology, having worked the past 20 years on a number of large archaeological sites in the context of [land] surveying region-wide archaeological areas for heritage management, and long-term data studies of past human habitation.

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Roshan Toby

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Sean Scully

Research & Data Coordinator
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Jenny Thyer

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Business & Governance Team

Charlotte Arkley

Information Governance Officer

Charlotte is one of SAIL’s Information Governance coordinators. The role consists of administering all information governance functions related to use of SAIL data in line with standard operating procedures. In addition, the coordinators ensure that all documentation relating to SAIL projects, policies and datasets are kept up to date and are held, processed and deleted in line with legal requirements. The coordinators are supported in the role by the Data Acquisitioning and Provisioning Manager.

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Rachel Carpenter

Research Assistant & Project Coordinator

Elin Halfpenny

SAIL Data Governance Coordinator

Elin is the Administrator for SAIL. The purpose of the role is to assist the SAIL team to effectively manage the administrative aspects of the SAIL Databank project. A key part of the role is the management and facilitation of a variety of SAIL related groups, committees and the organisation and administration of project events such as user knowledge sharing sessions and provision of administrative support across the SAIL project.

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Administrative Assistant

Amy Williams

Data Acquisition Officer

Amy is SAIL’s Data Acquisition Officer. The role consists of assisting the Head of Data Acquisition and Provisioning with increasing the number of data supplying organisations contributing to the SAIL Databank. Amy also assists researchers, who wish to bring in their own.

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Hope Vaughan-Hughes

Data Acquisition Coordinator

Hope joined the SAIL team in September 2023. Her role is to provide support to the Data Acquisition team by liaising with existing data providers to seek relevant approvals for use of their data, advise researchers on the requirements for access to particular datasets and to track and maintain information on SAIL’s data assets.

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Communications Services Team

Stephanie Lee

Stephanie Lee FCIM, CMktr

Head of Marketing and Communications

An elected Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and awarded CIM Chartered Marketer (CMKtr) status, Stephanie brings more than 30 years of experience and knowledge in marketing, communications, engagement and internationalisation to her role as Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Marketing, Communication & Engagement Services for Population Data Science (Pop Data Sci) at Swansea University Medical School. She obtained her CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing in 1995 when she was residing in Singapore. She completed her MSc in International Marketing by distance learning in 2007 and, she is currently studying towards a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA, part-time).

She has been employed by Swansea University and working in the field of Health Informatics since year 2000. Her primary focus is to continually raise the profile of Population Data Sciences’s research activities, which includes SAIL Databank, and to successfully build strategic partnerships through leading a series of outreach and engagement programmes. This also includes establishing international collaborative agreements.

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Chris Roberts

Senior Impact and Engagement Officer

Chris is responsible for all marketing, communication and engagement activities within the SAIL Databank team. Through marketing campaigns, events, impactful case studies, blogs and news articles, Chris aspires to uphold and strengthen SAIL Databank’s excellent reputation as a world-class population databank. A graduate of Swansea University, Chris holds an MSc in Health Informatics. Chris comes from a background of marketing, communications & engagement roles in health and medical research organisations such as Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie and Wales Air Ambulance.

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