We have news on the ongoing development of Thiscovery


Meet the people behind the platform.

Dedicated to driving large-scale change in health and care

Get to know the team behind Thiscovery, a platform enabling large numbers of people to have meaningful involvement in improving services.

Ruth Cousens

Chief Executive Officer

Ruth is responsible for the overall strategy and leadership of the organisation, the delivery of the business plan and financial and impact targets.

Ruth role involves:

  • Developing new partnerships, company strategy and overall direction of the organisation
  • Developing and managing relationships with stakeholders
  • Working closely with the Executive Team and Senior Leadership Team

Ruth started her career in the UK Civil Service, including a stint in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. From there she moved into the third sector, focussing on management, business development and innovation in organisations that focus on mental health, voice and advocacy. More recently Ruth has concentrated on social innovation and improvement in the health space, working for Nesta’s HealthLab and People Powered results team. From there Ruth had a spell in mental health commissioning and policy working for Cambridge and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group and NHSE (East) Mental Health Clinical Network.

Ruth joined THIS Institute in 2019 as Strategic Development and Enterprise Lead, working on commercialising Thiscovery and also contributing to the overall leadership and strategy of the team. In February 2023 she became interim and then permanent CEO of THIS Labs.

Ruth holds a BA in Engineering and Social and Political Science from the University of Cambridge, an MA in Contemporary British History from Queen Mary, University of London and an MBA from Cranfield University.

“I’m passionate about making high quality health and social care a . I believe this is only possible through real, sustained and meaningful collaboration with the people that use and deliver health and care. I want to develop Thiscovery into an asset for the whole system that will support and enable meaningful collaboration and innovation through actionable insight.”

Andy Paterson

Technical Product Lead

Andy is responsible for the long term technical vision and architecture of the Thiscovery platform. He and the team are using the latest cloud-based technologies to create a platform that is reliable, secure and adaptable to the changing needs of researchers. 

Andy can help if:

  • You want to talk about new functionality for Thiscovery
  • You have new ideas about how technology can connect researchers with participants
  • You want to understand how Thiscovery works

Previously Andy worked at Cancer Research UK as the technical lead for their award-winning citizen science programme. He was also responsible for system architecture for Cancer Research UK’s supporter-facing web systems. Andy’s background is in software design, development and consultancy. He has an MPhil in Machine Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.

“The evidence-building that Thiscovery enables is fundamental to our approach to healthcare improvement.  Developing the Thiscovery platform enables this approach to potentially be used much more widely by research projects outside THIS Institute.”

Jenni Burt

Head of Science

As Head of Science, Jenni leads on our approach to online research and engagement, overseeing the delivery of our projects, and managing the Science team.

Jenni’s role involves:

  • Helping set the overall strategy for THIS Labs and developing and driving the implementation of the business plan
  • Ensuring Thiscovery meets new and existing client needs for health and care improvement projects
  • Developing new methodological approaches on Thiscovery, including our approach to translating traditionally offline methodologies into the online space

Jenni is a health services researcher by background, having been in academic research posts for over twenty years at Universities, including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London – most recently as Principal Research Associate at the University of Cambridge. Her research has spanned pretty much every possible methodological approach, including surveys, interviews, randomised controlled trials, observational research and a whole host of others – but she is predominantly a mixed methods researcher. Jenni has worked on topics including patient experience, the quality and safety of maternity care, the organisation and delivery of primary care, inequalities in care, and long term conditions. Jenni has extensive experience of teaching qualitative research approaches, mixed methods and surveys at postgraduate level and of supervising postgraduate and doctoral students.

Jenni has a BA(Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge – an MSc in Public Health from LSHTM – and a PhD in Health Services Research from UCL.

“Our work is important because I strongly believe that bringing together the insights and expertise from all those who work in or use health and care, using innovative approaches which make it easy for people to contribute, is crucial to improving health and care. I am excited about the possibilities of using my background in academic research to shape rigorous but accessible online research and collaboration to make it easier to define problems and generate solutions. Giving everyone a voice and an opportunity to contribute is something we can help with, and I am really looking forward to seeing the platform develop and grow.”

Luke Steer

Knowledge Manager

Luke is responsible for ensuring information and knowledge is created, captured, organised, shared and used effectively by our team. He works with everyone at THIS Labs as well as our collaborators, developing and managing systems and processes for effective information and knowledge management.

Luke has been part of the Thiscovery team since its very beginnings at THIS Institute. Prior to this, he held digital marketing positions in the technology and educational publishing sectors. Luke is a digital communications and information specialist and holds a first class BSc (Hons) in Publishing with E-business from Loughborough University’s Department of Information Science.

“It’s crucial that research projects effectively engage the right people in answering the right questions. Thiscovery supports research teams to make this happen. Effective engagement builds confidence in results. It makes change more implementable. It ensures outcomes impact all of us fairly.”

Sam Minter

Marketing Executive

Sam is responsible for the marketing of Thiscovery and increasing its user base. He also works with clients, website developers and others to manage the content on our website, make tasks more intuitive, and enhance the platform’s user experience.

Sam has previously worked in communications, PR and marketing roles across the retail, agriculture, finance and education sectors. Prior to joining Thiscovery, he held a communications position within the Admissions Office at the University of Cambridge. 

Sam is interested in delivering an engaging experience to growing communities with a shared passion. He holds a first class BA (Hons) in History from the University of Lancaster.

“Thiscovery is developed by like-minded people with a common drive for positive change. We extend this shared principle to the platform itself and are focused on improving how Thiscovery engages with people on things that matter.”

Dr Jordan Moxey

Science Programme Manager

Jordan oversees the programme of projects hosted on Thiscovery. She works with clients to deliver research and consultation projects that aim to build evidence about how to improve health and social care, drawing on her own research about how to use online platforms effectively for healthcare improvement.

Jordan’s role involves:

  • Strategic oversight and delivery of Thiscovery’s programme
  • Development of effective partnerships with Thiscovery’s clients
  • Methodological research on how to use online platforms to collaborate at scale on healthcare improvement

Jordan initially joined THIS Institute as a researcher working on some of Thiscovery’s first major projects. Previously, she worked as an academic doctor in a range of specialties including acute medicine, general surgery, intensive care and general practice. She has extensive research and project management experience, having led qualitative and mixed methods research studies in primary care and maternity care, consultancy projects and quality improvement and wellbeing initiatives in a variety of clinical settings. 

Jordan’s academic qualifications include First Class and Honours degrees in International Health (BMedSc) and Medicine and Surgery (MBChB (Hons)) from the University of Birmingham, and a Distinction in Management (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School. She is studying for a PhD in Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge focusing on online methods for collaborating at scale on healthcare improvement. 

“Our goal here at Thiscovery is to empower people and organisations to come together to tackle important issues related to improving health and society”

Nicky Wilkinson

Senior Project Manager

Nicky is responsible for operations and supporting the long-term success and sustainability of Thiscovery.

Nicky can help you if:

  • You’re an organisation looking to partner with Thiscovery
  • You’re interested in working for Thiscovery as part of our fantastic team
  • You have other operational related questions

Nicky works with the team on projects focused on expanding Thiscovery as an organisation that is poised to deliver long-term improvements to society.

Nicky started her working life in the pharmaceutical industry, working for large pharma and small biotech in the data management of clinical trials. She left to join the fast-moving consumer goods sector, and held a range of senior roles with R&D and Supply Chain, delivering complex programmes, most recently in the digitisation of global R&D product development and regulatory compliance tools.
Nicky holds a BSc in Biochemisty and Nutrition from the University of Nottingham, and an MBA from The Open University.

“We are a collaborative and engaged team, with our focused aim to enable everyone to help improve healthcare. The Thiscovery team are here to listen to your research ideas.”

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Interested in joining the team?

We are proud to have a culture that is productive, welcoming, supportive, collaborative, creative, ambitious, understanding, and committed.

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