Meet the team

Research and Innovation create and sustain opportunities for LSE to carry out world-leading social science. We maximise the quality, reach and impact of LSE's research.


We are LSE's central administrative body, here to help our academic community in all areas of funded research activity

Please note, due to the current COVID-19 circumstances, our office is temporarily closed and our team works from home. We still do business as usual and are able to support you, answer any queries, and arrange meetings remotely. Please send us an email with any questions. 

Organogram (click image to expand)


David Coombe - Director


As Director of Research and Innovation, David is responsible for a team that manage all aspects of externally-funded research, the REF and HEIF. Previously he was director of Research Services at Kent, head of administration at the Kent Business School, and held various posts at the University of Kent and Swansea University.

At various times he has been an RAE2008 panel secretary, a member of the HEFCE/JISC-funded RMAS project, and a QAA institutional audit secretary.
David is motivated by a drive for great service delivery, and committed to professional development, through conference, training opportunities, and professional education.

As a long-time branch coordinator for the AUA at Kent, he was a member of the first cohort to complete the AUA/OU PG certificate in professional practice, and was awarded the MBA in Higher Education Management at the Institute of Education in 2012.

Under the directorship of David Coombe, the following four teams offer support to research-active staff.


Research Development Team

  • Aims to increase funding application activity to externally peer reviewed funding sources and the quality of applications against funders’ strategies.
  • Supports LSE staff with their grant applications and liaises with internal parties for approval of proposals and external parties for contractual negotiations and agreements.
  • Assists in developing grant-writing skills.

Meet the Research Development Team

Grace McConnell

Grace McConnell - Head of Research Development

Grace joined LSE in March 2020 as Head of Research Development.

Grace has an MSc in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London. She is passionate about climate change, the environment and international development issues. Her focus in leading the Research Development Team is to get the best out of people in all aspects of her role; across academics in our departments, centres and institutes, and research support staff.

Prior to joining LSE, Grace was Research Development Team Manager at the University of Westminster and before that, Tender Support Team Leader at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (now UK-CEH). She supported a range of disciplines in furthering their research strategies at individual, group and organisational level including environmental sciences, micro-economists, media policy experts and psychologists to name a few. Through these roles she gained the research development, professional and managerial skills to support research at LSE.


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Aygen Kurt Dickson - Research and Innovation Strategy Manager

Aygen has a PhD in Innovation Studies (a multidisciplinary field of sociology, politics and STS) which she studied as a Jean Monnet scholar, partially funded by the European Commission. She has a background in Political Science and Public Administration (BSc) and Science and Technology Policy Studies (MSc).

Before joining LSE, she worked part-time as a research support officer, and as research fellow in an EU FP7 project researching on ethical/social implications and governance of technological development process.

Her research interests on the EU’s research and innovation policy, innovation governance, the formation of the European Research Area, and how socio-political integration can be enhanced via innovation activity at sectoral and national levels, led her to engage more with research funding in a wider context of policy landscape.

Connect with Aygen on LinkedIn.


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Paul Davidson - Research Development Manager

Paul joined Research and Innovation in November 2018. In his role, Paul provides expert advice, guidance and support in the development of research bids to both UK and international funders.

Paul holds a PhD in History from Queen Mary, University of London (AHRC-funded in collaboration with University of Warwick and The Rothschild Collection, Waddesdon Manor). His background and research interests are in History of Art and French.

Before joining LSE, Paul held the roles of Research Development Officer at the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, and College Research Officer at the University of Lincoln. These opportunities allowed Paul to work across several disciplines in the Social Sciences, Sciences, and Arts and Humanities, as well as with a wide and diverse range of funders.


Dan Goad

Dan Goad - Research Development Manager (on leave until Jan 2022)

Dan assists academics with finding funding opportunities and developing grant applications. 

He joined from Goldsmiths, University of London, where he performed a similar role. Through this Dan has experience of developing successful research proposals to the majority of humanities and social science funders across the UK and EU.

Dan has also undertaken his own research, having recently completed a PhD in Classics at Royal Holloway, on the topic of modern adaptations of ancient Greek theatre. Prior to this he worked in a number of different industries, including in the NHS where he assisted clinicians developing clinical audit. 



Julia Howse - Research Development Manager (on maternity leave)

As Research Development Manager, Julia's role includes supporting academic colleagues in developing and submitting research proposals.

Prior to joining LSE, she worked at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and at King’s College London, supporting research applications in a number of fields. Her earlier experience includes supporting the basic science funding committees at the Wellcome Trust.


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Anouska Nithyanandan - Research Development Manager

Anouska joined Research and Innovation in May 2017. She offers LSE academics strategic advice and support to develop successful research proposals that secure grant funding from a range of UK and international funders.

Anouska’s first-hand experience of academia gives her a valuable insight into what it takes to translate great research ideas into highly successful grant applications.

Anouska has a first class MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management from the University of Warwick, and a PhD in Biomaterials Engineering from University College London.

Prior to joining LSE, Anouska worked as an academic at UCL where she sourced and secured significant grant funding for her own research and that of her team, and worked alongside academic partners and industry to build collaborative research projects. She is therefore particularly interested in high impact interdisciplinary research that draws together social science with STEM subjects, as well as supporting early career researchers with their first grant applications. 


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Michael Oliver - Senior Grant Applications Manager

Michael is Senior Grant Applications Manager within the Research Development Team of Research and Innovation. His previous employment was with Sun Life Assurance Society and the Civil Service Home Office. Michael joined LSE in 1986 as a first appointee to the newly created Research Office.  

Michael’s responsibilities include assisting and advising academic and research colleagues in seeking, applying for and obtaining research grants. He ensures that all LSE internal requirements and external sponsor requirements are complied with. Michael is also responsible for the contractual negotiation of the award and drafting contractual agreements between LSE and collaborators.



Dorota Rejman - Grant Applications Manager

Dorota joined Research and Innovation in 2007. She has good experience of both researching funding opportunities that might be suitable for the departments' and centres', costings, negotiations, and helping to draft relevant applications as well as managing awards. 

Dorota provides the interface between applicants and the funding body throughout the contractual development and attends particularly to the twin concerns that all awards comply fully with School policy and regulations, and that the School complies with the policies of the funding bodies.



Charles Tocock - Research Development Manager

Charles has previous experience in funding, grant applications and grant management in the charitable sector. Prior to this he worked in research for a policy think tank and across a variety of third sector and business relationship-building roles. He holds an MSc in global migration from UCL and an undergraduate degree in modern foreign languages from the University of Nottingham. Throughout his studies he developed a keen interest in interdisciplinary social sciences and a strong focus on the importance of academic research and output.

Charles is currently splitting his time between the Research Development Team and Research Awards Team.


Nathalie van-der-Elst

Nathalie van der Elst - Research Development Manager

Nathalie joined Research and Innovation (R&I) in October 2020. She provides strategic support and guidance for LSE faculty by facilitating and developing research grant opportunities to secure UK and international funding.

Nathalie completed a MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from LSE and received her BA in International Relations from Boston University. Her interests include gender justice and care work.

Prior to working in R&I, Nathalie worked in Philanthropy and Global Engagement (PaGE) at LSE where she managed a diverse portfolio cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with UK and international trusts and foundations and the School. 

Research Awards Team

  • Co-ordinates, manages and provides support in all aspects of research grant management (once an application is awarded).
  • Ensures compliance with internal financial regulations and  regulations of research funding bodies.
  • Manages contractual relationship with external research funding bodies.
  • Manages Research Infrastructure and Investment Fund.

Meet the Research Awards Team

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Kerry Hocken - Research Accountant and Head of Research Awards 

Kerry joined LSE in 1990 and after an 18 month stint in Finance Division she moved to what was the Research and Consultancy Office. Kerry has seen Research and Innovation grow from a small team of 6 looking after research awards with annual income in the region of £4m to a team with 30 members of staff and research income in excess of £30m.

Since 1996 Kerry has been the LSE’s Research Accountant and later took full line management responsibility for the Research Awards Team. Kerry is responsible for the School’s research and accounting procedures and processes, providing guidance for the Research and Innovation and the School on research related finance, resource and accounting matters.

She is also responsible for managing and producing the HEFCE 10 year forecasts, year-end returns and HESA Financial Statistical returns in relation to research grant income and the financial data for REF.  

Kerry is committed to ensuring that the Research Awards Team strives towards providing exceptional service delivery and support to the LSE research community, helping to contribute towards the success of the School’s research. 


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Marie Copperwaite - Knowledge Exchange and Impact (KEI) Awards Manager (on maternity leave)

Marie is responsible for the financial management of the School's Higher Education Innovation Fund allocation and Impact Accelerator Account (IAA), assisting academics with the HEIF Bid Fund and IAA Impact Fund application process and award management.



Daniel Coyne - Research Awards Manager

Daniel joined Research and Innovation in September 2020 as Research Awards Manager.

He previously managed the Religion and Global Society (RGS) inter-departmental research unit, a partnership between the Faith Centre and the Anthropology, International Relations and Methodology departments which he helped to establish in December 2019. He joined LSE in February 2018 to launch and edit the RGS blog.

He has an MA in Philosophy and Religion from the University of London and a BSc in International Relations from the University of Southampton. Prior to joining LSE, he worked as an editor in the publishing industry.

He enjoys working with colleagues across the university to support new research projects that enhance LSE’s impact on wider society.



Jane Ellison - Senior Research Awards Manager

Jane supports a broad portfolio of research awards for the School’s academic research community. She has various background experience which includes scientific training, industrial research leadership, management within small business and self-employment.

With her skills and attributes, Jane underpins LSE by ensuring an optimum use of project resource which enables the academic research community to achieve the best results from grant awards.


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Davina Nauth - Research Awards Manager

Davina has worked as Research Awards Manager within the Research Awards Team since 2008. She has managed an extensive portfolio of complex and challenging projects sponsored by a range of UK, European and international funders.

She has comprehensive knowledge, experience and skill in organising research grants, and takes pride in providing a high level of service and support. 

With the evolving nature of research and sponsor requirements, Davina is dedicated to enhancing her knowledge and competence through participating in new training programmes. 


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Benjamin Nevius - Senior Research Awards Manager

Benjamin is one of two Senior Research Awards Managers in Research and Innovation’s Research Awards Team and has over ten years' research administration experience. He has worked at LSE since 2008.

He helps departments and centres manage their research grant portfolios, provides training and support to his colleagues on the team, and assists the research accountant with her duties. He has experience working with all types of funders including the European Commission and Research Councils. 

Prior to joining LSE, he worked for over four years on the Pre-Award team of the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Sponsored Projects, helping staff from the National Museum of Natural History locate funding opportunities and prepare and submit grant proposals, with emphasis on proposals to the National Science Foundation.

Before that, Benjamin worked at the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory services where he managed contracts for a government-funded juvenile delinquency prevention programme. 

He has a master's degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialisation in non-profit administration and planning.



Charles Tocock - Research Awards Manager

Charles has previous experience in funding, grant applications and grant management in the charitable sector. Prior to this he worked in research for a policy think tank and across a variety of third sector and business relationship-building roles. He holds an MSc in global migration from UCL and an undergraduate degree in modern foreign languages from the University of Nottingham. Throughout his studies he developed a keen interest in interdisciplinary social sciences and a strong focus on the importance of academic research and output.

Charles is currently splitting his time between the Research Awards Team and Research Development Team.

Research Policy Team

  • Offers advice on LSE’s Research Ethics Policy.
  • Supports the development and governance of research policy and strategy.
  • Manages the Research Excellence Framework (REF) preparation and submission process, including publications and impact case studies.
  • Creates greater awareness of knowledge exchange and impact (KEI) activities both within the LSE and at an individual level through KEI projects funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and the ESRC Impact Accelerator Account.
  • Encompasses the business partnerships manager, who identifies appropriate corporate research partners and funding opportunities, develops and sets up long-term sustainable research partnerships with the corporate sectors whilst ensuring compliance with LSE regulations.

Meet the Research Policy Team


Jo Hemmings - Head of Research Policy

Jo manages the School's submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) on behalf of the REF Strategy Committee and is secretary to the School's Research Committee.

She also oversees the work of the Research Policy Team - which looks after the Research Ethics Committee and the research ethics policy - and the School's research impact strategy, with particular emphasis on the impact elements of the REF. 

Jo joined Research and Innovation in 2000, so REF 2014 was her third RAE/ REF to date, and she is currently preparing for the next REF in 2021.


Kieran Booluck

Kieran Booluck - Impact Support Manager

Kieran provides support to individuals, departments and centres across the School in developing and fulfilling research impact strategies, with a particular focus on producing high-quality impact case studies for REF 2021.

Kieran was previously editor of the LSE Impact Blog, a sector-leading online forum publishing research and commentary on topics related to research policy, scholarly communications, and maximising the impact of academic research.



James Burns - Graduate Intern - Research Environment

James joined Research and Innovation in July 2019 after graduating from LSE with a BSc in Government and Economics in the same year. 

He is assisting with preparations for REF2021, including drafting the School’s institutional-level statement and supporting departments in the writing of their unit-level statements.



Iraklis Chatzitheoklitos - Graduate Intern - Research Impact Support

Iraklis joined the Research and Innovation Team in February 2020. He is an LSE graduate, having complete the MSc History of International Relations. His primary focus as a graduate intern is to assist the LSE Research Impact Manager and Impact Support Manager in developing impact case studies (ICSs) for submission to REF2021.


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Lyn Grove - Research Governance Manager

Lyn assists the Research Policy Team in matters regarding research governance with particular reference to research ethics and (mis)conduct.

She provides advice and support on the School’s research ethics procedures and supports the work of the Research Ethics Committee. She plays a key role in ensuring that the School’s research ethics policy reflects sector-wide good practice. She also supports the School’s research ethics training and development activities.

Lyn has been at LSE since 2001. For many years she was the centre manager of the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series.

Lyn has a PhD from the UCL Institute of Education. Her thesis examined the effects of funding policies on academic research.



Barbara Kolaric - Committees and Governance Manager

Barbara joined Research and Innovation in August 2019. As the Committees and Governance Manager she is responsible for coordinating activities and meetings of the School’s Research Committee, its working groups and sub-committees.

Prior to joining LSE, she worked as Policy Manager for the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia, and has held various positions in the Croatian public administration in the area of research and innovation policy, planning of calls and evaluation of innovative projects to be funded using EU Structural and Investment Funds and grant funding of technology transfer activities at Croatian universities.

She is also an LSE graduate, having completed the MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union at the European Institute in 2013.



Wendy Leung - REF Support Manager

Wendy joined Research and Innovation in February 2019 as REF Support Manager, providing advice and training across the School in preparation for its submission to REF 2021.

She began her career in medical research before going into academic publishing where she spent several years as a managing editor for Psychology journals. Most recently, Wendy was based at UCL supporting research programmes across the life and medical sciences and she also spent some time at KCL, working closely with academics to develop their research strategy.

Wendy holds an MSc in Biomolecular Archaeology from the University of Manchester with an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of East Anglia.


Systems and Operations Team

  • Develops and maintains Research and Innovation's IT systems.
  • Provides management information and benchmarking data, monitors and streamlines business processes.
  • Leads Research and Innovation's communications strategy.
  • Manages operations across Research and Innovation.

Meet the Systems and Operations Team

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Amanda Burgess - Head of Systems and Operations

Amanda is responsible for developing and maintaining Research and Innovation's IT systems used in the support of research award management, the provision of management information from internal systems and external benchmarking data, monitoring and streamlining business processes, and managing operations across Research and Innovation.

Amanda develops and manages Research and Innovation's communications and social media activities including the website, Twitter and the monthly newsletter "Research Briefing".

She has worked in Research and Innovation since 1993, undertaking various roles including team leader of the Research Awards Team and a four-year secondment to LSE Enterprise. She has a strong commitment to customer service and service delivery.



Crispin Williams - Research Systems Manager

Crispin joined Research and Innovation in late 2018. He is the system administrator and expert user for Pure and provides first line support for all Research and Innovation systems.

Before joining the team, Crispin spent a number of years working for the NHS and has provided support in the implementation of various online systems to provide greater automation and improve management information within a corporate setting.


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LSE Research and Innovation, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom