About us

ECRAG (Early Career Research and Academic Group) is a society for research staff (Early-Mid career or other) and PhD students in the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham, UK.

ECRAG meets every other month (usually in the learning centre). Meetings are very informal and usually have a speaker followed by a Q&A session and general discussion. We also have the option of arrange additional meetings for team building, presentation practice, themed discussions. We welcome suggestions from our members!

Meeting dates are circulated via email and updated regularly on this website.

How to become a member:

“Early career” is a self defined title and includes clinical and non-clinical, staff and post-grad students. To become a member please contact Farina or Grace (ECRAG co-chairs)- contact details on the ‘Contact us’ tab.

The committee

At ECRAG we are committed to bringing you regular events and sessions focused on developing professional and personal skills. Our team consists of Early, Mid-career and post-graduate members who bring unique skills to our group.

Farina Kokab (Co-chair)

Farina Kokab 2Farina is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham.  Farina is interested in applying qualitative methods to better understand chronic disease and health inequalities. Her background is in psychology, health psychology and social research. She has worked with the QOF team and on other projects in the department. She is currently part of the CLAHRC Child and Maternity team. Farina is enthusiastic about promoting professional and personal development.

Grace Turner  (Co-chair)

Grace 2.jpgGrace is a Research Fellow for the Research Design Service (RDS) Birmingham Hub. Her role combines providing support to researchers applying for national, peer-reviewed funding competitions and conducting her own research. Grace’s primary research interests are focused on the long-term impact of transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and missed opportunities for the primary prevention of stroke. She is also interested in use of primary care medical records to conduct epidemiological research.

Laura Jones (Behavioural Change rep)

laura-jonesLaura is a lecturer at the Institute of Applied Health Research, with a focus on tobacco control and smoking. Laura’s background is in Human Biology, and she completed her PhD in Human Development. She is particularly interested in the application of qualitative methodology within clinical trials. Laura has presented at past ECRAG meetings and is keen to develop the Behavioural Change research at the University through dissemination and discussion by hosting biannual ECRAG meetings.

Jaidev Ghag Kaur (PhD rep)

jaidev.2Jaidev is a Pharmacist with experience of working in hospital and community pharmacy environments. She has a keen interest in Public Health research, particularly in relation to tobacco control. Her PhD uses mixed methodology to explore the use of primary care services to reduce secondhand smoke exposure among vulnerable populations. Jaidev is looking forward to widening her knowledge of applied health research through the ECRAG community.

Magda Aguiar (PhD rep)

MagdaMagda is doing her PhD in Health Economics and she has an interest in economic evaluation of nutrition programmes and other public health interventions.  Magda has studied pharmaceutical sciences and worked as a pharmacist for 3 years before she started in academia. Being a member of the ECRAG committee gives her a great opportunity to meet other PhDs and early career researches and learn what new research is being done by her peers. Moreover, it is a way of contributing to maintain a supportive and stimulating environment for early career researchers.

Gemma Matthewman (ACF rep)

Gemma is an Academic Clinical Fellow in Primary Care. She is currently completing her general practice training and as MSc in Clinical and Primary Community Care at the University of Birmingham for which she has undertaken a systematic review of physical activity interventions for primary dysmenorrhoea. She is also working on a questionnaire study of medication use in breastfeeding.

Natalie Tyldesley-Marshall (Blog writer)

ngt-photo-jpg2Natalie is a Research Fellow for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Team (CBTRT), based at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.  Having written regular blog posts for over a year, she is now ECRAG’s official blogger!  (Check out her posts here.)   Natalie has worked on a number of research projects in healthcare and education and has an interest in service evaluations. Her current project is exploring how patients (and their loved ones) emotionally respond to, and value, seeing MRI images of their condition.




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