Sarah Tyson

Sarah Tyson, FCSP, MSc, PhD


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Personal profile


Sarah is Professor of Rehabilitation in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work. She is also part of the University’s cross faculty Stroke Research Centre. Her research work focuses on stroke rehabilitation particularly balance and mobility and the organisation of stroke rehabilitation services.

She teaches on undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral programmes on evidence based practice and research methodologies, and is the Senior PGR tutor in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work with responsibility for the PhD and MPhil programmes in the Division.


Sarah trained as a physiotherapist at Sheffield Hallam University in the early 80’s, Clinical work specialising in neurological rehabilitation in the UK and New Zealand led to MSc in Rehabilitation Studies at Southampton University and then teaching physiotherapy at Brunel University where she also completed her PhD in stroke rehabilitation. She moved Back Up North to Manchester in 2001 working first at the University of Manchester and then the School of Health Sciences at the University of Salford, where she was the Associate Head of School for research and led the Rehabilitation Research Group. She joined the University of Manchester in 2012. She has over 100 publications and £4million of research funding from the Dept of Health, NIHR, research councils, medical charities, professional bodies and the Knowledge Transfer Partnership/Technology Strategy Board.

Research interests

Sarah’s group uses a mixed methods approach, working at all levels of the MRC Framework for the Evaluation of Complex Interventions to

  • develop measurement tools and explore their application in clinical practice
  • elucidate the mechanisms of patients' disabilities, particulalry postural control and mobility problems
  • understand patients’ problems from a patient/ carer and service perspective
  • develop, evaluate and implement novel interventions and models of service delivery
  • evaluate current interventions and models of service delivery.

She has a particular interest in the challenges of implementing evidence-based complex interventions in to practice.

Current projects include

  • Howz for stroke - funded by GMAHSN with Louise Rogerson of Intelesant to test the feasibility of an app to monitor daily routine and reduce social isolation for stroke survivors living alone
  • Work with Dr Ulrike Hammerbeck - funded by the Stroke Association to investigate the effect of high repetition arm training early after stroke on neuroplasticity.   
  • Motorised Rehabilitation of Walking (MoRoW) – a i4i funded project to develop a novel, fit-for-purpose robot to train sit-to-stand and walking for people with severe mobility problems.
  • Ankle Foot Orthosis Trial (AFOOT) – a RfPB funded trial to compare the effectiveness of two commonly used types of ankle foot orthosis with stroke survivors (a bespoke and an off-the-shelf orthosis. This is the first randomised controlled trial of ankle foot orthoses for stroke in the UK.
  • ReaCT - a RfPB funded study led by University of Leeds to develop an in-depth understanding of post-stroke therapy provision, including how the NICE (2013) and National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke (2012) recommendations (of forty-five minutes of physical, occupational and/or speech) therapy per day) are interpreted and implemented by therapists and experienced by patients and their carers in stroke units.
  • SSNAPIEST - a HS&DR funded project to use data from the Stroke Sentinel National Audit Programme to investigate the effectiveness of stroke therapy in the UK. Specifically we will identfiy therapy pathways and investigate htier relative clinical nad cost eeffectivness, quantify variation in therapy provision (particularly suitability for, access to, and intensity of therapy) and identify and quantify the organisational and patient related factors that contribute to variation in therapy provision. We will also characterise sub-groups of stroke survivors for future research into personalised rehabiltiation.   
  • work, funded by the University, with Dr Weightman in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering and Dr Warren Mansell in the School of Psychological Sciences to develop upper limb rehabilitation robots and explore the application of Perceptual Control Theory in rehabilitation
  • Work, funded by NIHR, with Claire Mitchell, Dr Audrey Bowen and Dr Paul Conroy in the School of Psychological Sciences (Speech and Language Therapy) to delveop electronic rehabilitation applications for people with dysarthria.


I teach evidence based practice, statistics and research methods and supervise research dissertations on undergraduate and post-graduate courses within the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.

I am also the senior PGR tutor in hte Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, which includes programme director for PhD & MPhil programmes

My collaborations

Collaborators -University of Manchester

Prof Pippa Tyrrell

Prof Andy Vail

Dr Audrey Bowen

Dr Paul Conroy

Dr Janelle Yorke

Dr Andy Weightman

Dr Warren Mansell

Dr Sorrell Burden

Dr Matt Gittins

Dr Ulrike Hammerbeck


Collaborators –External

Samantha Jones - Manchester Royal Children's Hospital

Naomi Davies - Manchester Royal Children's Hospital

Dr Ben Bray, KCL

Dr John Rothwell, UCL

Louise Rogerson, Intelesant

Jonathan Butters, Butters Innovation Ltd

Annette Weekes PDS ENgineering Ltd

Dr Louise Connell UCLAN

Prof Anne Forster, University of Leeds

Dr David Clarke, University of Leeds

Dr Kris Hollands University of Salford

Prof Alison Hammond University of Salford

Prof Richard Baker Univeristy of Salford

Dr John Parson, University of Auckland

Research Team

Louisa Burton

Dr David Lugo Palacios

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Academic lead, Greater Manchester Major Trauma Rehabilitation Network               
  • Fellow of Chartered Society of Physiotherapy                                                                          
  • Patron, Greater Manchester Neurological Alliance                                                 

Methodological knowledge

As a mixed method researcher I use a wide range of methods to answer clinical research questions. I have experience of clinical trial designs, survey and epidemiological methods, ‘exploratory basic science’ and systematic reviewing including the use of meta-analysis. Although primarily a quantitative researcher I also use qualitative methods such as interviewing, focus groups, observations and service evaluation approaches.


Fellow of Chartered Society of Physiotherapy



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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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