Professor Elizabeth Hughes


Liz is a professor of mental health at the school of healthcare at the University of Leeds. She is a mental health nurse by background and worked in acute inpatient services and substance use services in London and the South of England. She has an academic career spanning almost 20 years. Her first academic post was in the Section of Psychiatric Nursing at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College London. There, she worked on a large randomised trial of training community mental health staff to integrate substance use into routine mental healthcare. It was during this time that she undertook a PhD on this topic.  In 2006, she obtained a post in the Centre for Clinical Academic Workforce Innovation at the University of Lincoln.  It was during this time that Liz worked for the National Dual Diagnosis Programme at the Department of Health creating "actionable tools" to support the implementation of the National Dual Diagnosis Practice Guide.  Liz obtained a post at the University of York in 2011 and during this time she developed the programme of research related to the intersection of sex and mental health - she was involved in several funded grants including Queer Futures (Examining the experiences of suicide and self-harm in LGBTQ youth - led by Professor Elizabeth McDermott at Lancaster University). She obtained a Chair in Mental Health Services Research in 2015 at the University of Huddersfield. This was a joint appointment with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Liz moved to the University of Leeds to take up a Chair in Mental Health in the School of Healthcare in September 2018. In her current role, Liz is leading on developing a programme of research related to co-existing conditions and mental health, supporting research capacity in the school, and local mental health and drug/alcohol services, as well as providing teaching to the undergraduate nursing programme related to her clinical and research interests.


  • Chair of Faculty of Medicine and Health Ethics Committee

Research interests

Liz's research interests span broadly the intersection of physical health and mental health.  This began as an interest in drugs/alcohol and mental health. More recently she has developed an interest in the intersection between sex and mental health and has led an NIHR study which evaluated sexual health promotion for people with serious mental illness (The RESPECT study ). Liz has also undertaken studies exploring staff views and practice in relation to sex, sexuality and sexual violence in mental health care. She is currently leading a national study which seeks to examine how mental health needs are identified and addressed after attendance at sexual assault referral centres, and is a co-investigator in REMEDY - an RCT of switching antipsychotics for people with psychosis who experience treatment-related sexual dysfunction (led by Professor Mike Crawford at Imperial College, London- started February 2018. She is co-investigator in HSDR study identifying and evaluating mental health early intervention services and self-care support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people: A multiple methods study- starting January 2019. Liz is a mentor to a Learning Disability Nurse specialist who has been awarded an NIHR pre-doctoral fellowship to examine sexual relationships in adults with learning disability.


  • PhD Health Services Research Kings College London
  • DipHE Nursing Studies, King Alfred's College, Winchester
  • BSc Psychology, University of Portsmouth

Professional memberships

  • RCN Clinical Advisor

Student education

I provide input to the Nursing Programme related to my clinical and research expertise.

Research groups and institutes

  • Mental health (Healthcare)

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>