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Nicola Cullum, DBE, PhD, RGN, FMedSci

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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Willing to take on exceptional, funded PhD students, in areas relevant to my work.

Personal profile


Nicky is Professor of Nursing in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work in the School of Health Sciences. Since 1st October 2019, Nicky has been Director of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for Greater Manchester; a multidisciplinary research collaboration spanning diverse themes of importance to the people of Greater Manchester and beyond (e.g., mental health, healthy ageing, digital health, healthy inequalities). 

Nicky is also an Honorary Professor in Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne.


Nicky was appointed Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work in September 2011. She became Head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work in August 2015 and then Head of the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work in August 2016 after a restructure. In August 2019 she stood down as Head of Division in order to lead the new NIHR ARC-GM. 

Nicky Cullum trained as a nurse in Liverpool, UK and was awarded a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Liverpool in 1990. She gained postdoctoral research experience at the University of Surrey, UK, in the Department of Health-funded Nursing Practice Research Unit, and the Department of Nursing at the University of Liverpool. Nicky was at the University of York between 1994 and 2011 where worked in the Centre for Health Economics (1994 – 1996) and then the Department of Health Sciences (where she was Head of Research 2007 – 2011).

Nicky was made a Dame for services to nursing research and wound care, in the Queen's Birthday Honours, 2013. She was an Inaugural NIHR Senior Investigator (2008 – 2012, renewed 2013) and was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012. She was awarded the Anne Anderson Award by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2016 and the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Achievement Award for contributions to evidence based medicine in 2006.

Nicky has served on many funding panels including the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Commissioning Board (2003 – 2008), the Medical Research Council Health Services and Public Health Board (2003 – 2007) and NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research Sub-Panels (2009 to 2017).

Nicky was also a founding member of the Cochrane Collaboration and led the Cochrane Wounds Group from 1995 to 2023.  In 2018 she was elected to Cochrane's Governing Board and served until the end of 2021. 

Research interests

Nicky is an applied health researcher, with broad interests in the effectiveness and efficiency of health and social care. Since 2019 Nicky has led the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for Greater Manchester and her research interests have broadened to address questions about how we reduce health inequalities, best deliver health and care services and speed the implementation of successful innovation in health systems.

In the past, most of Nicky’s research focused on wound care where she worked with patients and clinicians to answer important questions about the causes of wounds and effective treatments and ultimately to enhance health outcomes. Until 2019, Nicky led the Wound Care Programme in the Greater Manchester CLAHRC (funded by NIHR) and co-led the Wound Healing Programme in the Dermatology Theme of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.  She has been involved in, or led, important NIHR HTA-funded trials (VenUS I, II, III, IV and PRESSURE) which have shown, in terms of leg ulcer healing, that the four-layer compression bandage is more effective than the short-stretch bandage, that medicinal larval therapy is no more effective than standard care, that ultrasound therapy confers no therapeutic advantage. VenUS IV found that compression hosiery was a cost-effective treatment for venous leg ulcers relative to 4-layer compression bandages.

The PRESSURE Trial established that alternating pressure mattresses are more cost-effective than (cheaper) alternating pressure overlays.  

Nicky was a founding member of the Cochrane Collaboration and was Joint Coordinating Editor of Cochrane Wounds until 2023; a collaboration that has published more than 150 systematic reviews in wound care to date (some of the most highly accessed reviews of the Cochrane Library). 




BNurs (Hons) dissertation supervision

Methodological knowledge

Nicky works in research teams and uses a variety of research approaches, particularly mixed methods, evidence synthesis, randomised controlled trials, observational designs and qualitative research. 


BSc Pharmacology (Liverpool), 1984
Registered General Nurse (Liverpool), 1985
PhD Pharmacology (Liverpool), 1990

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The neuronal cytoskeleton in Diabetes mellitus, University of Liverpool

Oct 1985Sept 1989

Award Date: 1 Dec 1990

Registered General Nurse, University of Liverpool

Sept 1980Apr 1985

Award Date: 1 Apr 1985

Bachelor of Science, Pharmacology, University of Liverpool

Sept 1980Jun 1984

Award Date: 1 Jul 1984

External positions

Honorary Professor, University of Melbourne

Mar 2019 → …

Honorary Professor, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

1 Apr 2016 → …

Honorary Professor, University of Queensland

1 Jan 20141 Jan 2017

Honorary Visiting Professor, University of York

1 Oct 201130 Sept 2016

Professor, Griffith University

1 May 20111 Sept 2018

Areas of expertise

  • RT Nursing
  • Health Inequalities
  • applied health research
  • epidemiology
  • health services research

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Healthier Futures
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Creative Manchester


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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