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Professor Davina Allen

Professor Davina Allen

Head of Research and Innovation

School of Healthcare Sciences

+44 (0)29 206 88561
Room 13.08, Eastgate House, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision
I am a medical sociologist and nurse academic with methodological expertise in ethnographic methods and an international profile in healthcare workforce, work organisation and service improvement research.   Beginning with studies of inter-professional working and in particular the organisation of nursing practice, my work has evolved to include a combination of foundational studies of organisational phenomena and a growing portfolio of large-scale applied research projects, which deploy sociological theories in advancing the science of improvement. This includes work at the forefront of new approaches to evidence synthesis, methodological advances in the development, implementation and evaluation of theoretically informed complex interventions, and theory development.

Awarded a Personal Chair in 2004, I am currently Deputy Head of School (Research & Innovation) HCARE, Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow, Professor II (Care Centre NTNU, GjØvik, Norway), Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Canada, and Editor of Sociology of Health & Illness and Editorial Board member of Journal of Health Services Research and Policy.

Find out more about my research on Translational Mobilisation Theory
Find out more about my research on nursing

Find out more about my research with collegues at King's College on patient experience data and quality improvement

Member of BSA Medical Sociology Group Conference Organising Committee, 1998-2001.

Convenor-elect BSA Medical Sociology Group 2001-2002

Co-Convenor BSA Medical Sociology Group 2002-2005.

Member of Editorial Board, Sociology of Health and Illness 2002-2006.

Invited participant in the Seminar on healthcare cultures organised as part of phase II of the public inquiry into paediatric cardiac surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.   I prepared 2 'points for discussion'   papers published in the final report.

Invited member of of the National Co-ordinating Centre for NHS Delivery and Organisation R & D (NCCSDO) commissioning group (nursing) 2001-2006.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief Sociology of Health and Illness 2012-

Honours and awards

2012 - Best developmental paper, British Academy of Management Conference.

1998 - Journal Sociology of Health and Illness - New writer's prize for: "The Nursing-Medical Boundary: A Negotiated Order?"   (1997) 19 (4) 498-520.

Professional memberships

British Sociological Association.

American Sociological Association























2017 - Cardiff University Health and Social Care Improvement Research Network

2017 - Evaluation of Freedom to Speak up Guardians, NIHR HS&DR (PI: Dr Aled Jones)

2017 - Evaluation of Cancer Care Pathways, Norwegian Research Council

2017 - feasibility and Acceptability of a new Clinical Pathway for the Identification of Non-Responders to Glaucoma Eye Drops (the TRIAGE study), NISCHR Research for Patient Benefit (PI: Prof Heather Waterman)

2017 - Prioritizing Care: Emerging dilemmas in the Norwegian care service landscape (pricare), Norwegian Research Council

2017 - One common ICT platform in the health care service: Interdisciplinary cooperation through shared

2017 - Exploring personal responsibility for infection prevention and antimicrobial resistance in acute and community hospitals (EMPEROR) PhD Studentship, KESS PhD studentship (With Prof Dinah Gould)

2016 – Making Nurses’ Organising Work Count - ESRC, Impact Accelerator Account Award

2015 - Improving Access to Care and Treatment for Patients with Hip and Knee Pain at the Primary/Secondary Interface, NISCHR RfPPB (PI: Dr Kate Button)

2015 - An Actor Network Analysis of Patient Experience Data, NIHR HS&DR (PI: Sara Donnetto, Kings College London)

2015 - An Evaluation of Alcohol Treatment Centres: Implications for Service Delivery, Patient Benefit and Harm Reduction,  NIHR HS&DR (PI: Prof Simon Moore)

2014 - PUMA: Paediatric Early Warning System Utilisation and Mortality Allowance (Joint Principal Investigator), NIHR HS&DR (£1.9 Million)

2014 - Delaying institutionalization, sustaining families: Comparative case studies of care at home for older people with dementia, Canadian Institute for Health Research, (PI: Dr Christine Ceci)

2013 - Lean, Agile or Leagile? A feasibility study to explore and compare the utility of pathway technologies, The Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship (Collaborator and mentor to Sharon Williams)

2013 - Design, development and pre-piloting of The Parent Learning Needs and Preferences Assessment Tool (PLAnT): a mixed methods study in the 13 UK Children’s Kidney Units, Kids for Kidney,  (PI: Veronica Swallow, University of Manchester)

2011 - Connecting for Service Improvement: Understanding departmental and organisational interfaces (Principal Investigator: Davina Allen) THF  £297,274

2011 - The nursing contribution to health care systems: activities, skills and knowledge (Principal Investigator: Davina Allen)

2005 - The social organisation of ICP development: an ethnography (Principal Investigator: Davina Allen)

2008 - 'Evidence into practice: evaluating a child-centred intervention for diabetes medicine management' (Principal Investigator: Anne Williams) NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation Programme  £399,993

2007 - 'Mental health services in transition' WORD and THF  £54,000 (Principal Investigator: Ben Hannigan)

2007 - 'Health, medicines and health-care choices made by children, young people and their carers' NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation Programme  £384,267 (Principal Investigator: Anne Williams)

2006 - 'The Transition from paediatric to adult diabetes services: What works for whom and in what circumstances?' NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation Programme  £362,665 (Principal Investigator: Davina Allen)

I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

Past projects

Ben Hannigan

Health and social care for people with severe mental health problems: An ethnographic study

Nicola Evans

Exploring the contribution of safe uncertainty in facilitating change

Judith Carrier

Nurses’ use of evidence based guidelines in Primary Care

Sue Taylor

The research component of the consultant nursing role

Dominic Roche

Involving patients in healthcare safety: a realistic evaluation