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Dr Victoria Shepherd

Dr Victoria Shepherd

Research Associate - Nurse

+44 (0)29 2068 7641
413, Neuadd Meirionnydd, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a post-doctoral researcher based in the Centre for Trials Research. Within the Centre, I am involved in a number of clinical trials and other research studies, through which I have gained a wide experience of research methods in a range of health care settings. These have primarily involved working with populations where informed consent can be challenging, such as older people in long term care settings, in emergency settings, and trials involving children and young people. I have a special interest in research involving vulnerable populations including children, older adults with cognitive impairments, critically ill and emergency situations. I am involved in a number of research studies which involve these populations, with a focus on infections and primary care. I have developed an interest in law and ethical issues in research, in particular issues of consent in vulnerable populations and the use of proxy and deferred consent models.

I lead a programme of methodological research exploring the ethical, legal and practical issues around research involving adults who lack capacity consent. This includes an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship (2016-2019) titled: Informed consent and proxy decision making in research involving adults lacking capacity: development of an intervention to support proxy informed decision making, set within ethical and legal frameworks. This research includes the development of complex interventions to address the barriers to conducting trials with adults who lack capacity.

I am involved in and lead a number of care home research studies, including leading a study to establish the research priorities in care homes using consensus-based methods, and am a member of a number of national and international care home research collaborations. Prior to this I had an extensive clinical career as a Registered Nurse, the majority spent in Critical Care settings in England and Wales. I am also an expert member on an NHS Research Ethics Committee.


Honours and awards

PhD Deciding about research for others: normative, empirical, and legal accounts of proxy decision-making for research and the development of a decision support intervention (November 2019)

Finalist in in Wales Nurse of the Year Awards 2019 - Supporting Improvement Through Research Award (runner up)

BSc Acute and Critical Care, MA Healthcare Law and Ethics. Dissertation: Vulnerable populations in medical research: is research regulation ‘protecting them to death'? (September 2014)

Professional memberships

NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council)

Institute of Medical Ethics

Society for Academic Primary Care

RCN Wales Nurse of the Year Alumni Network

Committees and reviewing

Member of NHS Research Ethics Committee (2019-present)

Consultant Editor in clinical trials & care homes studies for Geriatrics, Gerontology and Aging (March 2020-present)









My primary research interest is addressing the challenges around the inclusion of adults lacking capacity in research. I previously held an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship to explore the ethical, legal and practical challenges around the inclusion of these under-represented populations, using mixed-methods and interdisciplinary approaches.

I have developed a novel complex intervention (a decision support tool) to enhance proxy decision-making for research ( I am leading a follow on study to conduct cognitive testing of the decision support intervention (DECISION 2 Study) funded by the Wellcome Trust through ISSF Institutional Funding. I am also leading the development of a core outcome set to evaluate interventions that enhance proxy decisions about participation on behalf of adults who lack capacity (COnSiDER Study) which is registered on the COMET (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) database ( I supervise a number of Intercalated BSc medical student projects in this area and recently curated research and resources on 'Research and capacity to consent' for Social Care Wales' website (Welsh version: ).

Previous research activities include contributing to the design, delivery and reporting of multicentre interventional studies, including: Children with Eczema, Antibiotic Management - CREAM Study (NIHR HTA), Oral STeroids for the Resolution of otitis media with effusion (OME) In Children – OSTRICH Study (NIHR HTA) and Probiotics to Reduce Infections iN CarE home reSidentS – PRINCESS Study (NIHR EME).

I have a special interest in care home research. I led a UK wide Research Priority Setting in Care Homes Study, which aimed to identify a set of research priorities for care home research with a key group of stakeholders. The aim is to engage with researchers and funding bodies to share the findings in order to inform the care of older people by ensuring the future research agenda can be focused on the areas of greatest need. I am also involved in collaborating with other national and international researchers/institutions to develop research proposals involving older people in long term care, some of which address areas identified as research priorities.