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. 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.


Louise Tracey – Lead on Parent and Public Involvement

I co-ordinate the Parent Advisory Committee for the E-SEE study. I mainly conduct research on literacy and I am currently evaluating the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together programme funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The programme is designed to support parents to develop and enrich the home learning environment and support their child’s early language and literacy.


Zoe Hindson – Project Support Officer


I support all research staff working on the E-SEE study from tasks such as ordering stationary, updating the website and running the Facebook page for members of the Parent Advisory Committee, to producing newsletters, organising events and running focus group sessions. I am also the very proud mum of a beautiful, and very energetic, toddler who never fails to make me smile after a hard day at work.


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.


Kelly Blockley – Support for Service Design and Process Evaluation

I work with Vashti Berry on the service design and process evaluation of the E-SEE trial. As part of this, I have regular contact with the Incredible Years Baby and Toddler group leaders to keep up to date with how their parenting groups are going and to troubleshoot any issues that they encounter along the way.



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 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.


Portsmouth Data Collectors also include; Joanna and Sam.