Skip to main content

Professors in Practice


Professors in Practice recognises the expertise and experiences of senior business professionals across a wide variety of disciplines and sectors.  By enabling such individuals to share their skills directly with researchers and the academic community, they can bring their practical insights, experience and distinction to our Fellows, ECRs, Postgraduate associates and Challenge Acedemies, enabling them to engage directly with public policy and business practice through their research.


Professor Nicola Wilson

WRIHW Professor in Practice in association with the Psychology Department 

Deputy Chief Executive at the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) 

A photograph of Nicola Wilson

Nicola’s early career began as a CBT therapist in adult mental health psychological services, with an initial 15 years’ experience of service design and strategic leadership of mental health and wellbeing services within the NHS and higher education sectors and programme leadership of undergraduate and postgraduate study pathways in mental health and wider applications of CBT. After leaving the University sector - from 2012 until 2015 - Nicola went on to lead a team of health professionals hosted within the NHS to build engagement, knowledge exchange and research  collaboration between the North of England and regions across Europe, brokering European health and life-sciences project partnerships, building consortia, facilitating valuable knowledge exchange opportunities and creating informal, trans-European networks of clinical and research excellence.




Alan Foster MBE

WRIHW Professor in Practice in association with the Department of Mathematical Sciences

Integrated Care System Executive Lead,  North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System 

A photograph of Alan Foster

Alan is an accountant by profession and has worked in local health authorities and NHS trusts since 1986, becoming Chief Executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust for 10 years from 2007. He has held various health related Chairs including that of the critical care network across Durham and Teesside. He has much experience in the development in patient services and the integration of hospital and community services. More recently, Alan has been involved in the implementation of new IT systems and electronic patient records which has led to his passion for the Integrated Care system which went live in March 2019. We look forward to organizing events with Alan in the near future to allow many of you to interact with Alan and his wealth of experience.


Blythe Crawford CBE

WRIHW Professor in Practice in association with the Department of Psychology

Station Commander, RAF Leeming and Commandant, Air & Space Warfare Centre 

Blythe CrawfordComdt Crawford has long and distinguished career in the RAF but has also commanded in all ranks across Joint and Coalition forces in an number of campaigns and arenas. As an experienced Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the Defense & Space industry he has strong professional skills in Crisis Management, Intelligence Analysis, Military Aviation, Intelligence, and Airworthiness. Comdt Crawford is an innovator of health and safety provision for his personnel and their families on bases under his remit and is working with WRIHW to establish and evidence the value of these interventions