Dr Rebecca Palmer [PhD, BA]

Reader in Communication and Stroke Rehabilitation

Photo of Rebecaa PalmerAddress:
Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology Group
The University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 0863

email: r.l.palmer@sheffield.ac.uk

Big Cactus: www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/sections/dts/ctru/bigcactus


I am a speech and language therapist specialising in stroke. I have 20 years of experience working in the field of stroke rehabilitation, working both in research and clinically in stroke care. I gained a PhD in the treatment of dysarthria using speech recognition technology from the University of Sheffield in 2005. From 2005 to 2010 I worked as a specialist SLT on the stroke unit at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. I co-ordinated the rehabilitation and community trials for the Trent NIHR Stroke Research Network from 2007 to 2013, gaining experience in clinical trial delivery.

As part of my HEFCE-NIHR Senior Academic Clinical Lectureship my focus was on applied clinical research. I was chief investigator of the Big CACTUS trial investigating the clinical and cost effectiveness of aphasia computer treatment versus usual stimulation or attention control long term post stroke. This study is a multicentre randomised controlled trial taking place in 21 NHS trusts across the UK. I also investigate ways of implementing computer supported speech and language therapy tested in research, in clinical practice.

Research Interests

My research interests include dysarthria and aphasia assessment and treatment, the use of technology for self-managed rehabilitation in the long term post stroke, and the process of informed consent with people with language disorders. Enabling people with communication difficulties to be involved in research in an advisory capacity is also of particular interest (PCPI).

Teaching Interests

I teach on the Community Attachment Scheme for first year medical students and maintain an interest in the clinical teaching of speech and language therapists. In addition I offer training on working with people with communication disorders to a wide range of health professionals, and offer training on taking consent to health researchers. I currently have 3 PhD students whose research topics include electrical stimulation for the treatment of dysarthria assessment, fidelity to rehabilitation interventions in clinical trials, and delivery of constraint induced aphasia therapy by assistants and volunteers.

Professional activities              

• Trustee for Research and Development for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
• Co-chair of World Federation of Neuro Rehabilitation aphasia special interest group
• Member of the UK Stroke Forum scientific committee
• Member of Stroke Association research funding committee
• Member of Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) funded by European Cooperation in Science and Technology
• Associate editor for Trials
• Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
• Health Professions Council Registered

Current projects

• HEFCE-NIHR Senior Academic Clinical Lectureship, 2012-2017 [£250,000]
• Chief investigator - Big CACTUS trial, Cost effectiveness of aphasia computer therapy versus usual stimulation 2013-2018 [NIHR HTA grant £1.5 million]
• Collaborator - Why do stroke patients not receive the recommended amount of therapy? 2014-2017 [NIHR RfPB grant £347,089] (CI David Clarke, Leeds)
• Collaborator – STAR Speech Therapy Articulation Rehabilitation, 2015-2017 [NIHR i4i grant £339,534] (CI Stuart Cunningham, Sheffield)
• Collaborator - BEADS – behavioural therapy for depression post stroke, 2014-2016 [NIHR HTA grant, £430,583] (CI Shirley Thomas, Nottingham)
• Collaborator – RELEASE - REhabilitation and recovery of peopLE with Aphasia after StrokE (RELEASE): Utilizing secondary data to enhance speech and language therapy interventions for people with aphasia after stroke, 2016-2018 [NIHR HS&DR £446,158] (CI Marian Brady, Glasgow)

Select Publications

For a full list of Rebecca's publications please see here

Journal articles