About us

Health Students Research Network

(HSRN) – Teesside University

The Health Students Research Network (HSRN) is a vibrant, progressive and non-conservative unique research platform led by students, for students and of the students. This network provides an initiative for capacity development in research at Teesside University. It provides a pool of talented students with interest in research from which researchers in the School of Health and Life Sciences (SHLS) can draw support for on-going research projects. Students work collaboratively with members of staff to develop competencies in writing articles for publication, operationalising research concepts into proposals, data collection, analysis and research presentation at conferences and workshops.

Our Vision:

  • To promote an inclusive and diverse research culture that enables student and staff engagement in research of global health significance. 
  • To create a platform for capacity development in research through collaboration and partnership.
  • To drive the agenda for translation of current best research evidence into professional practice through education, advocacy and innovation.

Our Objectives

 The Network’s objectives are to: 

  • Enhance the research culture through involving students in research and scholarly activities.  
  • Enhance research skills for both students and staff through conducting symposia, workshops and seminars. 
  • Increase the volume of research conducted with support of students in SHLS. 
  • Increase the outputs for both staff and students through publications in peer reviewed journals. 
  • Enhance the funding base through participating in bidding for funds with support of staff.  
  • Improve the university research reputation locally, nationally and internationally. 
  • Provide a platform through which the university alumni can continue contributing to research and scholarly activities in SHLS. 
  • Establish a student peer reviewed journal within SHLS 
  • Run an annual research conference showcasing the research work engaged in by students. 
  • Enhance co-production of research evidence with stakeholders including local communities, academics and practice partners.  

Why is this network necessary?

Teesside university research strategy emphasises developing a research culture that enables engagement in multi-disciplinary research.  This network drives the agenda of establishing a thriving research culture where students take centre stage. This research network enhances real collaborative partnerships between active researchers and students. Moreover, the benefits of students working in collaboration with established experts in their fields may not only improve their skills and knowledge but can potentially leave an everlasting experience with the student. Through this network students have the opportunity to support on-going research projects as research assistants, co-authors of peer-reviewed journal articles and co-applicants on research bids with members of staff as their mentors. This network provides a unique opportunity to tap into the students resource for the benefit of supporting on-going research which ultimately provides mutual benefits.

How is this network different from the other platforms?

Other platforms that support students research development tend to focus on the interests of PhD students. Other students including undergraduates do not normally get invited to the activities that enhance research skills. There seems to be an implicit assumption that research development mainly benefits PhD students and this inadvertently limits access by the majority of the students. Rightly so, PhD training needs a specialised level of engagement that might be interfered with if the platform is opened to the rest of the student body. This network provides a unique opportunity to engage all students who wish to develop their research skills and knowledge.  This network is open to all students in the School of Health and Life Sciences with interest in developing their capacity for research. 

What activities occur in this network?

  • The network runs a monthly student-led symposium at which peers make presentations on a range of research topics that may be part of on-going research projects. Students submit an abstract and a panel selects the best ones for presentation.
  • The network identifies opportunities for member students to support active research projects as research assistants hence facilitating research skills development.  Students can therefore present parts of the work they engage in as research assistants. 
  • The network builds capacity for writing for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Member students collaborating with staff are mentored to develop abilities to publish peer-reviewed journal articles, books, book chapters and blogs.
  • The network organises its members in working groups consistent with the themes of research centres in the School of Health and Life Sciences e.g. oral health, clinical research, biomedical research, public health research, rehabilitation etc. Each working group is mentored by expert members of staff and are assigned a working project which may be a publication, live research project, secondary data analysis, systematic review, narrative/scoping review, funding bid, technical report/policy brief, experimental lab report etc. 
  • The network runs a dedicated YouTube channel and other social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.  The network hosts and records academic debates, talk shows and question and answer sessions.  These are posted on the network YouTube and other social media platforms.

What are the long-term goals for the network?

In the longer term, the HRSN would like to establish a peer reviewed international journal that publishes seminal health research. The network also anticipates establishing an annual international conference for health students.  The network may also develop to include all students in the wider university and the region.


Dean of the School of Health & Life Sciences (SHLS)-Professor Tim Thompson

The success of the School of Health & Life Sciences and Teesside University stems from the quality and depth of our partnerships. Our partnerships allow us to ensure that our courses are relevant and up-to-date, to support complex workforce needs, to undertake exciting and novel research, and to exchange good practice and experiences overseas. We look to co-develop projects and initiatives and have a number of mechanisms to do this. Indeed, our Integrated Care Academy is our latest approach to support, develop and take co-responsibility for our partnerships. Yet we also have a wealth of talent and expertise within the School. Our partnerships here are just as important and our students are a key part of our learning community. When I was presented with the initial concept of the Health Students Research Network, I could immediately see how this new, formalised partnership would benefit our students, staff, friends and patients. I am looking forward to seeing how the Network develops and integrates with the wider School and am confident that it will make a very positive contribution to a range of healthcare professions.

Associate Dean Research & innovation, School of Health and Life Sciences – Professor Jeff Breckon 

Jeff Breckon — Teesside University's Research Portal

I have pleasure in offering my support to the Teesside University Health Student Research Network (HSRN). The network brings together a talented and enthusiastic group of students from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds with one common aim, to enhance the culture of research at Teesside University. The members of this network have already made significant impacts in their own right as health practitioners, clinicians and applied researchers and have a clear vision for supporting other students, staff and health professionals, both inside and outside of TU. The community that is being developed by the HSRN will support the development of research skills to deliver research successfully at an international standard and help deliver interventions that have true impact. There is an inclusive approach that will attract students and staff alike to join the community and I have no doubt that the HSRN will continue to be a real asset to the University.

Head of Department – Professor Barry Tolchard

Barry Tolchard

Professor Barry Tolchard is currently the Head of the Department for Nursing & Midwifery at Teesside University. Professor Tolchard has been a nurse and psychotherapist for the past 38 years, working in mental health and learning disabilities with a research background in Cognitive Therapy, primarily working with gamblers and examining different vulnerable populations. Professor Tolchard has worked in clinical and academic roles in the UK, Australia, and the United States of America, broadly in community-engaged scholarship to build community resilience through student-run and service user co-produced clinics. Barry is developing a population-level transdiagnostic model of wellbeing linked to these clinics.  

Patron – Dr. Lawrence Achilles Nnyanzi Post Graduate Course Leader for Doctorate in Public Health Students

As Patron I am delighted to endorse the Teesside University Health Students Research Network (HSRN). This network provides a platform for capacity development in research as well as mentorship and leadership.

The potential for this network to enhance real collaborative partnerships between active researchers and students presents a unique opportunity to enhance the research culture at the university and a unique experience for students. The benefits of students working in collaboration with established experts in their fields may not only improve their skills and knowledge but can potentially leave an everlasting experience with the student. Through this network, students support on-going research projects as research assistants, publish papers in peer reviewed journals, support funding bids, present findings on symposia, workshops and conferences, support collaborative partnerships and actively undertake leadership roles. 

I would like to congratulate the HSRN inaugural committee for their hardwork in ensuring that the network is established and launched. The team led by Johnson Mbabazi have worked tirelessly to steer the network thus far.  The achievements of the network so far including a range of publications in high impact factor journals e.g. MDPI attest to the bright future ahead. Special thanks to the Senior Executive Team of the School of Health and Life Sciences for their unwavering support for this network. Thanks too to the mentors of this network, SHLS members of staff who are guiding students to enable them to produce outstanding articles for publication in high impact factor journals.

I look forward to welcoming many students signing up to this network and ultimately to provide support to enable them collaborate, develop and achieve.

Dr Lawrence Achilles Nnyanzi