Brief History of HSRU

2017: Professor Graeme MacLennan appointed as CHaRT Director

Professor Graeme MacLennan 

Doctor Katie Gillies appointed as HCA Director

CHaRT successfully re-registered as a UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UK CRC) Registered Clinical Trials Units

Professor Louise Locock joins HSRU as Professor in Health Services Research

HSRU awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for sustained research excellence in healthcare research


2016:  Professor Craig Ramsay is appointed as Unit Director

Professor Craig Ramsay

Professor Lorna McKee retires from HSRU

Inaugural HSRU Conference ‘Hot Topics in Health Services Research’ celebrates the life and work of Professor Adrian Grant.


2015:  Professor Marion Campbell steps down as Director of HSRU.

Professor John Norrie is inducted as a Fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) (

2014:  CHaRT celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

The NIHR Technology Assessment Review (TAR) contract is awarded for a further five years.

Alison McDonald is inducted as a Fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) (

2013: HSRU celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

Charis Glazener completes 25 years with HSRU whilst Marion Campbell, Alison McDonald and Ruth Thomas all complete 20 years.

Professor Marion Campbell is elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Marion Campbell

Professor Lorna McKee is conferred with the Award of Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Lorna McKee

Professor Marion Campbell is inducted as a Fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) (

2011: Professor John Norrie appointed as CHaRT Director (Professor Jen Burr steps down as CHaRT Director).

Aberdeen Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Group launched to undertake Evidence Syntheses for the NIHR HTA programme and NICE

Another successful CSO Review with the Unit being congratulated on its ‘outstanding’ performance over the previous five years.

2008: Professor Jen Burr appointed as CHaRT Director (Professor John Norrie steps down as CHaRT Director).

The Health Services Research return in the national research assessment exercise (RAE2008) is the highest scoring return for the University of Aberdeen and is joint top of the UK table in health services research.  RAE confirmed that 80% of the research submitted was judged as internationally excellent/world class, with 100% of work identified as of international quality.

HSRU celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

20th anniversary


2007: Professor Marion Campbell is appointed as Unit Director.

2006: A successful CSO review resulting in a further five years of funding.

HSRU moves to new, purpose-built accommodation within the Health Sciences Building, Foresterhill Campus.

Health Sciences Building

2004: The Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT) is formally launched with Professor John Norrie as Director.

2001: The CSO reported that they were ‘extremely impressed with the work of the Unit’ following the five year review.

The Unit's work is consolidated into two larger, interlinking research programmes:

Health Care Assessment (HCA)

Delivery of Care (DOC) 

1997:  A successful CSO review with the Review Team commenting that the work of the Unit is ‘extremely high quality’ and is of ‘national and international standing’.   

Cochrane Collaboration Effective Practice and Organisation of Care group editorial base moved to the Unit

1996: Cochrane Incontinence Group Editorial Base is established in the Unit

1994: Adrian Grant appointed Director.

Senior staff appointed as Programme Directors for three areas of research:

Health Care Assessment
Mental Health Research
Effective Professional Practice

1993: The CSO Review Team commented that ‘the work of the Unit is highly satisfactory and achieved UK standing’ and agreed the continuation of funding.

1988: The Unit formally opens with a staff of two Research Fellows and two Secretaries and a remit to:

  • study or evaluate clinical activities with a view to improving effectiveness and efficiency;
  • work for the implementation of proven changes in clinical activities;
  • encourage and support similar work throughout Scotland;
  • train NHS staff in Scotland, and others, in the principles and practice of health services research in general and health care evaluation in particular.

 Unit 1988

1987: Ian Russell appointed as Director of the Health Sciences Research Unit (HSRU).

1985: The Chief Scientist Office (CSO) invites Scottish Universities to submit bids for a new Health Services Research Unit.

Professors James Petrie and Elizabeth Russell submit a successful bid on behalf of the University of Aberdeen Medical School.