Meet the team

The E-SEE study is led by the University of York in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire, Exeter, Maynooth and Sheffield. There are many professionals involved in the E-SEE study who are investigating whether different levels of help for parents who have children under two years old can make a difference to the health and wellbeing of those parents and children. Please meet the research team………

At the University of York:

Tracey Bywater – Principal Investigator


I am the Chief Investigator of the ESEE trial, and I lead the Parent Advisory Committee. When I was 25 I was a single mother of two children (a newborn and a 12 month-old). When my children were 3 and 4 years old, I moved to North Wales to study Psychology at Bangor University. I stayed there and obtained a PhD in 2005. My research has always been with families and/or children, as I want to support families and ensure that what families are offered in local services are the best they can be (and are effective).

Sarah Blower – Trial Manager

I am a Research Fellow one of the Study Managers for E-SEE. I am based in the York office and work closely with Nicole. I have worked with lots of organisations all around the UK helping them to design and evaluate services for children and families.



Nicole Gridley – Trial Co-ordinator

As the Trial Coordinator for E-SEE, I  am the first port of call for all parents interested/taking part in the study. I oversee our lovely team of data collectors and work very closely with Sarah to ensure the study is running efficiently. I have a specific interest in the development of language in the early years, and I am an auntie to five very dynamic children/teenagers.


At the University of Exeter:

Vashti Berry – Lead on Service Design and Process Evaluation

I am a Senior Research Fellow working within the Institute for Health Services Research. My background is children’s services research, having worked at the research charity Dartington Social research Unit for over 12 years, with a focus on children’s social, emotional and behavioural development in the context of challenging family contexts such as domestic violence and abuse or reduced parenting capacity.


Kath Wilkinson – Support for Service Design and Process Evaluation

I am an Associate Research Fellow working in health services research alongside Vashti Berry. I support the service design and process evaluation of the E-SEE trial and am the first point of contact for the leaders of the Incredible Years Baby and Toddler parenting groups. I am in regular contact with the leaders to help ensure successful delivery of the groups and to gather important information to help evaluate the programme and how it is delivered.



At the University of Central Lancashire: 

Karen Whittaker – Lead on Practitioner Engagement and Participant Identification

I am a Reader in Child and Family Health at the University of Central Lancashire. I have  an interest in enabling parent engagement in support services and programmes and have published in this area. As an E-SEE study co-applicant/co-investigator, I lead on the plans and processes for identifying parents to participate in the study. In this role I have developed a number of materials for practitioners and delivered a series of briefings in study sites. This work complements my other activities in co-facilitating a North of England Health Visitor and Child Health research network that works with child health and social care practitioners to examine practice challenges and develop research ideas. The network provides a space for members to share there thinking and learn from each other. I am a mother of twins and appreciate the difference good help and support in the early years can make to healthy and happy family life.


E-SEE Data Collectors



I’ve worked in the NHS for many years and also in Local Government. My career has focused on public health delivery, strategy and management. I worked on delivery of public health programmes predominantly with children, families and communities. More recently I’ve been working on a European Public Health Trial with the Medical Research Council.
I’m delighted to now be working with the E-SEE Trial.



For 24 years I worked for Barnardo’s the children’s charity, working with children and young people in schools and as a mum myself I have found being part of the study fascinating. Being able to see the babies developing into toddlers with their own personalities!




I am a qualitative researcher working with families, young and old. My interests are mainly around communication and language in everyday use. I have four daughters and one, very messy dog.




I am a Research Data Collector for the Blackburn with Darwen site of the E-SEE project. I have previously worked as an Assistant Psychologist within Children Psychological Services and Developmental Therapy Unit in East Lancashire. I hold a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and MA in Psychology and Mental Health. Being a busy mum of twin boys and a little daughter myself, I have an interest in, and understand the importance of social, emotional wellbeing in families, especially the need of early support and interventions which can lead to beneficial outcomes in later years of children.



I am currently working as a Data Collector in Blackburn with Darwen and I’m very much enjoying my role. Previously I have worked with children and families in the community development field, encouraging youngsters to participate in environmental and gardening projects.










 My name is Emily Nisbet. I have just completed my MSc in Disability Studies: Inclusive Theory and Research at the University of Bristol. I am a mother to two girls, aged 5 and 2.




I am a qualitative researcher with over 20 years research experience. I have worked in academic, research agency and in-house social and commercial research environments. As a Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, I conducted a qualitative research study exploring the social implications of peanut avoidance among mothers of young children in the Isle of Wight, on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (‘Maternal experiences of peanut avoidance during pregnancy/lactation: an in-depth qualitative study.’ Since working on the E-SEE study, I have become increasingly interested in the emotional health and wellbeing of parents and children – especially those who are disadvantaged/hard to reach.


I am very interested in understanding psycho-social and environmental influences on health and wellbeing and my previous research has explored the things people do to help look after themselves and their families, outside of mainstream health care. I have a son at primary school and also work with organisations helping children and families engage with nature and enjoy outdoor play. I’m looking forward to meeting more families through the E-SEE study.


North Yorkshire


 I am a Research Data Collector in North Yorkshire. I have a MSc in the Psychology of Advertising, Psychology PhD and NVQ in Nutrition and Health.  I have an interest in health research and public health interventions. I am an auntie to three very energetic kids.



I am a research data collector for the North Yorkshire  E-SEE project. I have a BA in Psychology and Health, and an MSc in Applied Developmental Psychology, and I am very interested in interventions in the community which support the development and wellbeing of children and families. 
I have previously worked as an assistant psychologist in the community with children and families,  and have completed  research looking at how conversations and interactions between parents and children effect learning. I’m thrilled to be part of the E-SEE project, and really looking forward to meeting the families who are participating in the trials.


I am a PhD student at York with a BSc in Psychology, and an MSc in Development, Disorders and Clinical Practice. I have previously worked in Bradford schools assessing children on Psychological measures, and have worked on several research projects investigating cognitive and literacy development. I’m interested in interventions which support child development, so I’m really looking forward to meeting families interested in the E-SEE project, and exploring a bit more of Yorkshire!



I am a Research Fellow in Nutrition with over 10 years of experience in health research, focusing on intervention work with children and mothers. My primary focus has been interventions to improve the health and well-being of mothers and their children. I am delighted to be involved in the E-SEE Trial as a Research Data Collector.



I am a Children’s nurse and Health Visitor with a degree in Psychology and a Post graduate diploma in child development as well as an MSc in Health Professional Education. My key interests lie in the areas of child development and in understanding how parenting styles can influence infant and child wellbeing. I am very excited to be part of this research project and look forward to working with the families involved.



I have always had a keen interest in psychology, gaining my BA Hons at Essex University. My career path has taken me through a range of related roles, providing support or services to vulnerable adults, children and young people. Most recently, I worked for a charity, designing bespoke learning programmes for disadvantaged youth, who would otherwise be unable to access education. I loved being part of a team enabling opportunities for young people to explore their interests, skills and areas for development, increasing their chances of success in adult life. I achieved a Masters Degree in Childhood and Youth Studies in 2014 which sparked my interest in research. I current engage in some one-to-one life and social skills work with a 20 year old who has autism, which is very rewarding. I also have two young children. I am really excited, and feel privileged to be part of the E-SEE project.


I gained a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology which developed my interest in different cultures and individual differences. After working in a crown court, with a particular focus on the care of vulnerable witnesses, I worked for a charity that was recommended to prospective volunteers as a way to reduce social isolation. Whilst working here I gained an interest in mental health and decided to pursue an MSc in Psychology, which I completed in 2016. I am really looking forward to being a part of the E-SEE project and meeting the families taking part.


I am currently a part time teacher and a mother to three young children. Working in education and raising my family has led to an interest in how best to support families through all stages of a child’s life. I completed my Master Degree in Education back in 2012 and am looking forward to having the opportunity to be involved in research again.

Suffolk Data Collectors also include; Heather