Professor Sue Mawson [MCSP Bsc (Hon) PhD]

Professor of Health Service Research
Director, NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Research and Health Care Yorkshire and Humber

Address: ScHARR, University of Sheffield, Regent Court,30 Regent Street, Sheffield, S1 4DA

Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 8270
Fax: +44 (0) 114 272 4095
Email: -
Room: 2.17, Second Floor, The Innovation Centre


I originally trained as a Physiotherapist at the Middlesex Hospital, affiliated to the University of London, becoming a Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. After my initial training I went to South Africa to work at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital and subsequently as a physiotherapist working for the Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Society. It was whilst here that I learnt to develop novel seating and sleeping equipment for the children living in the Cape flats townships, out of card board boxes, see my inaugural lecture, ‘What do intelligent shoes and brain synapses have to do with NHS reforms’. *Link to be added soon*

On returning to the UK I gained a Bsc (Hons) in Physiotherapy in 1991 from Sheffield Hallam University where I developed and lead the Masters in Neurological Rehabilitation. In 1997 I completed my PhD study identifying the characteristics of motor recovery following a stroke.

I was appointed Professor of Health Services Research in the School for Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield, working within the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology group and the newly established a Centre for Assistive Technology and Digital Healthcare CATCH. My role is to develop stronger links between researchers at ScHARR, the NHS, industry and the voluntary sector with a specific focus on research into both novel interventions and technologies for people with disabilities, older people and people with long-term conditions and public health.

My PhD Students

Over the years I have directed and supervised 9 graduating PhDs students and currently supervise 5 two of whom has been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Fellowships. My students are mainly physiotherapist, sports scientist and medical practitioners.

ChrisChris Littlewood:
'I joined ScHARR in 2011 and in August of that year was awarded a National Institute for Health Research Doctoral Research Fellowship. Prior to this I was employed as a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Sheffield Hallam University. I have previously worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS and private sector.
I have recently completed a PhD relating to the assessment and management of rotator cuff tendinopathy.'

Thamer Ahmed Altaim:

“Clinical measurement of functional outcomes for individuals receiving physiotherapy management for chronic low back pain”
Thamer is a chartered physiotherapist from Jordan. He started his PhD in 2012 at ScHARR to develop a culturally sensitive clinical outcome measurement tool for individuals receiving physiotherapy for chronic low back pain in Jordan. Thamer presented his work in national and international conferences.

Moe Kyi ismoe a Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. She is undertaking an NIHR-CLAHRC (YH) funded randomised control trial on individualised nutritional intervention and pulmonary rehabilitation on underweight patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is her MD project.

Research Interests


My research focuses on improving the quality of life of people with long term conditions, particularly through exploration of the effectiveness of rehabilitative interventions and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support the self-management of the rehabilitation process. My research work, funded predominantly through the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, and latterly the NIHR CLAHRC Y&H, has capitalised on new innovations in sensor and digital technologies and involves interdisciplinary work, integrating clinical rehabilitation researchers with engineering, design, mecatronics, informatics and digital media specialists.

Teaching Activities

My areas of interest are teaching research methods particularly around measurement theory, complex interventions and the implications of theory to the measurement of health care outcomes. Of particular interest to me are the concepts of clinimetrics and the importance of measurement on the individual as opposed to population based measurement. I have extensive experience of the TELER methods of measurement and clinical note taking with Longhand Data utilizing this method in my research as a valid and reliable tool for individual ( n=1) and group RCT mixed methods.

Professional Activities

My original degree was in Physiotherapy and I became a clinical specialist in paediatric neurology however I moved into a jointly funded NHS academic post in 1991 undertake my PhD. I was President of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapist with and Interests in Neurology (ACPIN) for 4 years and sat on the NIHR RfPB funding panel for two terms.

I am an elected Board member of the Health Services Research Network working with senior research leaders nationally to promote and develop a research culture within the NHS.

Current Projects

In 2008 I led the successful South Yorkshire application to become a National Institute of Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in applied Research and Care (CLARHC) pilot. This multi-disciplinary innovation community was driven by the needs of people with long term conditions, undertaking applied research, capacity development and knowledge implementation, identifying news ways of enabling the adoption and diffusion of evidence based practices and services through user-centred design methods and self-management principles.

In 2013 the NIHR launched a new call for region CLAHRC’s and I was appointed Director for the Yorkshire and Humber bid which was successfully awarded in July of 2013 for a further 5 years. This ward attracts an income of £10 million from NIHR with a current match funding portfolio form partners organisations of £14 million.

I was a principle investigator on a EU Framework 7 bid, the RICHARD project, with colleagues in Sweden, Italy and Poland the purpose of the research being to improve the implementation of ICT based models for chronic disease management in the areas of dementia, diabetes and stroke care.

Since 2003 I have worked on the SMART 1 and SMART 2 EPSRC funded project with Professor Gail Mountain and Professor Mark Hawley to develop a self management system for people with chronic diseases. I specifically lead the evaluation aspects of the project, developing a Personalised Self-management Rehabilitation Technology (PSMrS) working closely with ‘Kinematic’ a company based in Portugal and Boston, USA utilizing and adapting their multi sensored insole for walking re-education within the PSMrS.

Key Publications

My work has lead to a number of publications in the field of rehabilitation, outcome measurement, tele rehabilitation and the use of user-centred design in the development of innovative health technologies.

Munoz-Organero, Mario; Littlewood, Chris ; Parker, Jack ; Powell, Lauren ; Grindell, Cheryl ; Mawson, Sue "Identification of walking strategies of people with osteoarthritis of the knee using insole pressure sensors," Accepted for publication in IEEE Sensors Journal, Volume: PP Issue: 99

Mario Munoz-Organero, Jack Parker, Lauren Powell, Richard Davies and Susan Mawson "Sensor optimization in smart insoles for post-stroke gait asymmetries using total variation and L1 distances," Accepted for publication in IEEE Sensors Journal, Volume: PP Issue: 99

Mario Munoz-Organero, Jack Parker, Lauren Powell and Susan Mawson "Assessing Walking Strategies Using Insole Pressure Sensors for Stroke Survivors." Sensors. MDPI. Volume 16. October 2016. Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1631; doi: 10.3390/s16101631. ISSN 1424-8220

Powell, L., Parker, J., Martyn-St James, M., Mawson, S. (2016). The effectiveness of lower limb wearable technology for improving activity and participation in adult stroke survivors: a systematic review” Journal of Medical Internet Research. (In Press).

Lawrence D, Domone S, Heller B, Hendra T, Mawson S, Wheat J. (2015). Gait Adaptations to Slip Awareness and Slip Experience when walking on a Cross-Slope. Gait and Posture. Article in Press. DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2015.09.006

Arris M Steven, Fitzsimmons A Deborah, Mawson Susan,. Moving towards an enhanced community palliative support service (EnComPaSS): protocol for a mixed method study BMC Palliative Care.2015, 14:17

Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters SJ. A self-managed single exercise programme versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial (the SELF study). Clinical Rehabilitation, 2015.

Peter Cudd, Sally Fowler-Davis , Laura Evans and Sue Mawson. Knowledge Exchange : selecting research opportunities through estimation. AAATE conference 2015.

Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters SJ: Self-managed loaded exercise versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Physiotherapy; 2014 Mar;100(1):54-60 PMID: 23954024

Bartlett YK, Haywood A, Bentley CL, Parker J, Hawley MS, Mountain GM, Mawson S (2014). The SMART personalised self-management system for congestive heart failure: results of a realist evaluation. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 14:109

Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2014). Patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy can self-manage, but with certain caveats: a qualitative study. Physiotherapy, 100, 80-85.

Littlewood C, Malliaras P, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2014). Self-managed loaded exercise versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Physiotherapy, 100, 54-60. Impact factor 1.490

Jack Parker, Susan Mawson, Gail Mountain, Nasrin Nasr, Huiru Zheng. (2014) Stroke patients' utilisation of extrinsic feedback from computer-based technology in the home: a multiple case study realistic evaluation. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making . 06/2014; 14(1):46. DOI:10.1186/1472-6947-14-46

Mawson S, Parker, J, Nasr N, Mountain G (2013) Developing a personalised self-management system for post stroke rehabilitation; utilising a user centred design methodology. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. In print

Parker J, Mawson S, Nasr N, Mountain G (2013). The Provision of Feedback through Computer-Based Technology to Promote Self-Managed Post-stroke Rehabilitation in the Home. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. In print.

Jenkins T,1,3, Burgess C, Rao G,4 Connolly D J,2,Hoggard N 2, Wilkinson ID 2, Mawson SJ,5, McDermott, C,1,3 & Shaw P1,3 .(2013) A prospective pilot study measuring muscle volumetric change in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, May 12th

Littlewood C, Ashton J, Scott E, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2013). Developing the SELF study: A focus group with patients and the public. The International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation. 20(4),200-2006.
Littlewood C, Ashton J, Mawson S, May S, Walters (2013).Development of a self-managed loaded exercise programme for rotator cuff tendinopathy Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy, 99, 358-362.

Paul McCullagh, Chris Nugent, Huiru Zheng, Richard Davies, Leo Galway, Norman Black, Gail Mountain, Mark Hawley, Christopher Eccleston, Sue Mawson, Peter Wright (2013). The Self-Management Paradigm for Long Term Conditions: Accessibility and Usability of Assisted Living Technology Presentation at HCI International 2013 and for publication in the Conference Proceedings published by Springer in a multi-volume set. Papers will appear in volumes of the LNCS and LNAI series, indexed by ISI Citation Index, EI Engineering Index, ACM Digital Library.

Morley A, Todd A, Mawson S. The meaning of spasticity to people with Multiple Sclerosis; what can health professionals learn? (2013) Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation.

McCullagh, P. J., Mountain, G. A., Black, N. D., Nugent, C. D., Zheng, H., Davies, R. J., Mawson, SJ Parker, S. J. (2012). Knowledge transfer for technology based interventions: Collaboration, development and evaluation. Technology and Disability, 24(3), 233-243.

Littlewood C, Ashton J, Mawson S, May S, Walters S (2012). A mixed methods study to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a self-managed exercise programme versus usual physiotherapy for chronic rotator cuff disorders: protocol for the SELF study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 13: (1): 62

Fitzpatrick, G., Balaam, M., Axelrod, L., Harris, E., McAllister, G., Hughes, A.M., Burridge, J., Nind, T., Ricketts, I., Wilkinson, A., Mawson, S., Rennick Egglestone, S., Rodden, T., Probert Smith, P., Shublaq, N. and Robertson, Z. (2010). Designing for rehabilitation at home. Published in the proceedings of the Interactive Systems in Healthcare workshop at CHI full paper.

Huiru Zheng*, Chris Nugent*, Paul McCullagh*, Yan Huang*,Shumei Zhang*, William Burns*, Richard Davies*, Norman Black*, Peter Wright†, Sue Mawson‡, Christopher Eccleston§, Mark Hawley** and Gail Mountain** (2010) Smart self management: assistive technology to support people with chronic disease. Journal of telemedicine and telecare, 16:224-227.

Mawson S, Mountain G (2010) Issues and challenges for the creation of an evidence base for tele rehabilitation: the SMART stroke self management case studies. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, vol 25; number 1, winter; 2011.

Mountain G, Wilson S, Eccleston C, Mawson S, Hammerton J, Ware T, Zheng h, Davies R, Black N, Harris N, Stone T, Hu H, (2010) Developing and testing a tele- rehabilitation system for people following stroke; issues of usability. Journal of Engineering Design. Volume 21, Issues 273.Page 223-236. DOI: 10.1080/09544820903333792.

Mawson SJ, Scolefield H, (2009) The National institute for health research; collaborations for leadership in applied health research and are for South Yorkshire. Journal of research in Nursing, Volume 14, Number 2 169-174.

Rennick Egglestone, S., Axelrod, L., Nind, T., Wilkinson, A., Robertson, Z., Ricketts, I., Turk, R., Burridge, J., Mawson, S., Rodden, T., Smith, P. and Shublaq, N. A framework for a home-based rehabilitation system. (2009). Proceedings of Pervasive Health 2009, City University.

Axelrod L, Fitzpatrick G, Burridge J, Mawson SJ, Probert-Smith P, Rodden T, Ricketts I, (2009) The reality of homes fit for heroes: design challenges for rehabilitation technology at home. Journal of Assistive Technologies; Volume 3 Issue 2 June 35-43.

Mountain G.; Mawson S.J; Hammerton J ;Ware T ;Zheng J ;Davies R ;Black N ;Harris N ; Stone T ;Wilson; Eccleston C; (2009) Exploring the usability of a prototype technology for upper limb rehabilitation following a Stroke. Journal of Engineering Design Manuscript ID: 433557

Heller, B., Wheat, J.S, Mawson, S and Wrights, P. (2008). Second lives for the third age: using virtual worlds to encourage exercise participation in older people. In; Estivalet, M. and Brisson P., (eds) The Engineering of Sport 7
2008, 191-198, DOI: 10.1007/978-2-287-99056-4_23

Gerrish K, Mawson SJ, Hill, C, Gerrish, P. (2008) A Pragmatic approach to resolving tensions between the educational validity of masters projects in health care settings and ethical and governance requirements. Journal of Learning in Health and Social Care. 8,2, 123-134.