Dr Kate Absolom

Dr Kate Absolom


I am an applied health researcher with a background in social science. A core focus of my research has been developing and evaluating digital approaches in patient reported assessment for both understanding patient outcomes and enhancing cancer care. I co-lead the Patient Centred Outcomes Research (PCOR) group within Leeds Institute of Medical Research (LIMR) and also work within the Division of Health Services Research in the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS). 

I am experienced in a range of methodological approaches including the design and delivery of studies that combine qualitative and quantitative techniques in observational and trial settings. The increasing recognition of the value of patient reported outcomes measures (PROMs) in health care has led to growing research interest in this field and means I collaborate with experts across clinical teams and backgrounds (including statistics, epidemiology, computing, informatics and commercial digital companies). Through these collaborations I have become interested in the use of larger scale patient data to understand the impact of cancer and treatments on future outcomes. An important aspect of this is understanding how health professionals, patients and the public perceive and understand the use patient reported and wider routine clinical and administration data in research.

Over the past few years I have been a member of the Yorkshire based components of National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS), now reformed as the Research Support Service (RSS), where I provide advice to clients preparing research and fellowship funding applications. 

Previously I studied psychology at Lancaster University and completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2005. My doctoral research, funded by Cancer Research UK, evaluated models of follow-up care for people treated for cancer in childhood. Before joining the University of Leeds I held a postdoctoral position with the Late Effects Group, Sheffield where I contributed to a number of studies focussed on the impact of cancer on the lives of younger adults.

Research interests

  • Evaluating and implementing the routine use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) in cancer.
  • The application of patient centred digital technology to support cancer care and clinical pathways.
  • Patient and public engagement in research (including patient and public perspectives of the use of patient reported and routine health/administration data.
  • Understanding the psychosocial impact of cancer and treatment on patients and families.

Selected research grants

  • Does intensive multidisciplinary team intervention improve bowel cancer outcomes in Yorkshire (Bowel Cancer Improvement programme, BCIP). Funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research (Co-I) https://ycrbcip.leeds.ac.uk/ 

  • MyPath: Developing and implementing innovative Patient-Centred Care Pathways for cancer patients Funded by Horizon Europe/UKRI: (Co-I) https://mypath-cancercare.eu/ 
  • Understanding, interpreting and sharing patient reported data: Further in-depth analysis and visualisation of cancer symptom profiles from the eRAPID programme: Funded by National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Programme Development Grant (Co-PI) https://fundingawards.nihr.ac.uk/award/NIHR202959 

Current PhD supervision

  • Ruth Evans: Trustworthy communication of data-driven clinical recommendations
  • Zuzanna Wojcik: Predicting Hospital Utilisation and Chemotherapy Management from Cancer Patient-Reported Outcome Measures
  • Eme Asuquo: Living with and beyond breast cancer among women in Nigeria: a mixed methods study
  • Sarah Milner: The social outcomes of childhood cancer survivors
  • Darci Tillbrook: Uncovering the invisible labour that patients and families undertake to support the safety and quality of breast cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Victoria Robins: Physical functioning after treatment for breast cancer and the impact of age
  • Ellen Tomlinson: (DClin): Exploring the relationship between self-compassion and burnout among UK oncology nurses

Past PhD supervision (completed)

  • Dr Chris Bedding: Improving health-related quality of life in metastatic breast cancer. Taking stock of achievements and delivering better measurement (2023)
  • Sarah Rudkin (DClin): The experience of interval scans for adults living with primary malignant brain tumours (2022)
  • Dr Kathleen Kane: Living better with advanced breast cancer (LIBERATE); Symptom-reporting, self-management and sign-posting support for secondary breast cancer (2021)
  • Dr Cecilia Pompili: Early stage non-small cell lung cancer's treatment journey : patients' perspectives (2019)
  • Dr Lorraine Warrington: Routine self-reporting of symptoms and side effects during cancer treatment : the patient's perspective (2018)
  • Dr Elena Takeuchi: Role of patient-reported symptoms and functioning in the care of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (2016)


  • PhD Follow-up care for survivors of childhood cancer, University of Sheffield, 2006
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, Lancaster University 2000

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Methodology Incubator Member of Health Data Science work stream (2022-present)
  • British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS). Current member and Past Chair (2019-2022)
  • International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL). Current member and Past Co-Chair Clinical Practice Special Interest Group (2018-2020)
  • MRC-NIHR Trial Methodology Research Partnership Outcomes Working Group (2022-present)

Student education

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Health Services Research Division

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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>