The Centre for Academic Social Care, Public Health, Community and Primary Care (COSMIC) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-professional group of academics, practitioners, clinicians, and support staff. Professor Toby Helliwell (Professor of General Practice at Keele and MPFT) leads the group at MPFT.

COSMIC aligns with the broader remit of the Primary Care and Social Care Research programmes at Keele University led by Professor Christian Mallen (Director of the School for Primary Care Research).

Partners in the COSMIC groupIn order to address the health and care needs of the populations we serve we aim to produce robust, high-quality and relevant research evidence by working together with partners in:

  • Primary Care and General Practice
  • MPFT's Social Care and Community Care practitioners and clinicians
  • Academics from Keele University
  • Key partners in Local Authorities
  • Commissioning groups
  • Integrated care systems
  • The Third Sector
  • Patients, their families and carers
  • Regional Universities

Through this partnership the team will develop innovative research proposals and grant applications, conduct original research, and deliver training, education and support to engage staff in research.

Our Research

Every person is different, with individualised needs that span (and combine) the biological, psychological, and social influences. By bringing together research across public health, social, community and primary care we aim to address the problems that matter most to people, their families and our wider society.

We will work with established and world-leading MPFT research groups in mental health and rheumatology (the most common causes of long-term disability) whilst developing an exciting cross cutting portfolio of research in integrated care that addresses the most pressing health and care needs of our communities including:

  • Community nursing
  • Allied mental health
  • Dementia and older persons
  • Sensory impairment
  • Social work
  • Safeguarding
  • Global health
  • Sexual health
  • Community nursing
  • Therapy and rehabilitation services
  • Disability
  • Charities & third sector organisations
  • Addiction services
  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacy
  • Schools and education
  • Teaching and learning

The group has expertise in a range of research methods including clinical epidemiology, randomised clinical trials, qualitative approaches and mixed methods as well as the use of innovative data collection and research delivery methods.

We are also actively involved in activities to improve the uptake of research findings in practice. Many of our group are involved in the teaching and learning programmes at MPFT such as the Supporting The Advancement of Research Skills (STARS) programme, have supervised PhDs, MPhils, MScs and professional doctorates and actively encourage research and scholarship for MPFT staff.

If you are interested in further study with this group please contact


Research Projects

List of pages

Meet the Team

Professor Toby Helliwell

Professor of General Practice and Primary Care lead in Global Health, and Honorary Professor of General Practice.

Toby HelliwellProfessor Toby Helliwell started his role as Honorary Professor of General Practice within the MPFT Research and Innovation department on the 1 February 2021.

His role at the Trust is to increase health research in the community through key areas of health including general practice, social work and public health to create the best research evidence on which to deliver exemplary healthcare with the aim of improving health outcomes to the patients we serve.

As well as his role at the Trust, he is also a Professor of General Practice and Primary Care lead in Global Health at Keele University and a clinically active GP working in North Staffordshire.

His academic background is embedded in community research which has largely focused on rheumatic illnesses but being a GP he also has interests in a broad range of illnesses managed in the community, from heart disease to diabetes and mental health.

He also works for the Clinical Research Network (CRN) in the West Midlands and represents the School for Primary Care Research on the Primary Care National Speciality Group for the CRN and the National Primary care digital solutions group.

Further information on Professor Toby Helliwell on Keele University's website


Professor Christian Mallen

Head of Keele University School of Medicine.

Christian MallenProfessor Mallen is Head of the School of Primary, Community and Social Care and is NIHR Research Professor in General Practice. He leads Keele's Global Health Research and is also the Director of the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Programme for Primary Care.

Professor Mallen trained in clinical medicine in Nottingham and North Staffordshire, completing vocational training in general practice in 2003. He worked clinically as a GP for NHS North Staffordshire.

Christian's academic training was supported by Arthritis Research UK Doctoral Training, Career Progression, and Clinician Scientist Fellowships. This allowed him to develop expertise in the early diagnosis and management of common musculoskeletal disorders in primary care.

Professor Mallen is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and a Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics. Christian has been awarded both the Yvonne Carter and John Fry Awards for primary care research. He has published more than 250 peer-review papers in leading general medical, primary care and speciality journals

Further information on Professor Christian Mallen on Keele University's website


Dr Paul Campbell

Senior Research Associate.

Paul CampbellDr Paul Campbell is a psychologist by background and completed his PhD (Psychiatry) at the University of Birmingham in 2005.

He currently holds the position of Senior Research Associate within the Research and Innovation Department at MPFT and is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Medicine at Keele University.

He worked as a researcher (Associate, Fellow) for a number of years at the Centre for Primary Care Sciences at Keele University before joining MPFT. Dr Campbell has research interests and experience in health/clinical psychology, as well as the broader fields of epidemiology, public health and social care.

He has an interest and experience in quantitative analysis methodologies and the use of big data, as well as an interest and experience in the use of mixed method approaches. His research has mainly focused on health conditions within a primary care or general population context, predominantly musculoskeletal pain conditions, dementia and mental health and he has been published in over 50 research papers. Teaching experience includes lectures, seminars, and workshops at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as several thesis supervisions to completion (Masters, PhDs) and examinations at this level. Management experience includes project coordination, project management (principal investigator), line management, grant application, and dissemination and impact activities.

Further information about Dr Paul Campbell on Keele University's website.


Dr Gulshan Tajuria

Senior Research Assistant.

Gulshan TajuriaDr Tajuria qualified as a psychotherapeutic counsellor, before completing her PhD in 2018 from Keele University in Primary care and health sciences with a thesis title: Bereavement and loss support for adults with learning disabilities: An exploratory study using Photovoice. Since the completion of her PhD, she has been working as a senior research assistant in the Academic Research team at R&I.

Dr Tajuria’s expertise is in qualitative research, loss and bereavement, learning disabilities, and creative methods in research. She is interested in inclusive research and looking at the effects of loss and bereavement on people’s mental health.