Professor Stephen Smye

Professor Stephen Smye


Professor Stephen Smye is Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds and a Specialty Cluster Lead (and Deputy Medical Director) for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network based at King’s College London. He was Research and Innovation Director at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals from 2004- 2017.

Professor Smye is a medical physicist with degrees from Cambridge University, Imperial College, and Leeds University. He was a member of the NIHR Strategy Board until 2019 and the Royal College of Physicians’ Standing Committee on Academic Medicine until 2020. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 2005. He was also Director of the NIHR Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care for Leeds, York and Bradford from 2010 to 2013.

Other previous roles include Head of Medical Physics & Engineering, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, (1998-2008), Director of the NIHR Comprehensive Clinical Research Network (2008-2014), President of the Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine (2001-2003), membership of the NIHR Advisory Board (2007-2016) and membership of a number of awards panels including those for NIHR Senior Investigators (2013-2015), NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (2012), Wellcome Trust/Department of Health, Health Innovation Challenge Fund programme (2010-2015), Wellcome Trust Pathfinder Awards (2015) and DH Chief Scientific Officer Research Fellowships (2009-2010, as chair). He was also an invited member of the international peer review committee for the Canadian Institute for Health Research strategic initiative: Strategy for Patient Orientated Research (SPOR): Networks in Chronic Disease (2015). He was also a member of the member of the Physics panel of the HEFCE Research Excellence Framework Impact Pilot Exercise (2010).

See and for details of his current national leadership role in the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

He is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London and a Professorial Fellow of the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham. In 2020, the Institute of Physics awarded the Rosalind Franklin medal and prize to the EPSRC/BBSRC The Physics of Life UK Network (PoLNET) Steering Group, of which Stephen Smye was a member,”… for the contributions made to catalysing the substantive growth of the Physics of Life community in the UK by stimulating new, adventurous partnerships between multiple researchers in UK biological physics”. He was awarded an OBE for services to Health Research in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.

Research interests

His main research ambition is to promote interdisciplinary research at the interface between the physical and life sciences. He has a particular interest in developing mathematical models in medicine and biology; current and past areas of work include cancer drug delivery, electroporation, MRI of cartilage, renal dialysis, neonatal ventilation, clot lysis, bioimpedance, modelling reactive hyperaemia and aerosol physics.

He is a co-investigator (equivalent) on the UKRI Physics of Life Network Plus 3 ( and PI for the Rosetrees Trust “Physics of Medicine” Network. These linked networks are intended to drive strong interdisciplinary research at the interface between the physical and life sciences. He is working in Leeds to promote collaborations between mathematics, the physical sciences and medicine. He has been a co-investigator on a number of major grant awards from the Wellcome Trust and EPSRC and was a member of the EPSRC/BBSRC-funded Physics of Life Network 2 lus Steering Group (2016-2019), which was awarded the Institute of Physics Rosalind Franklin medal and prize in 2020.

He has acted as an external grant reviewer for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, Department of Health, Canadian Institute for Health Research, Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, Rosetrees Foundation, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Killam Research Fellowships.

He has also been a member of the Editorial Boards of Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine (2010) and the Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology (1996-2003) and Deputy Editor, Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (2004-2008).

He has been a reviewer for numerous journal including Archives of Disease in Childhood, Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express, Clinical Sciences, Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, Journal of American Society of Nephrology, Journal of Biological Physics, Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Kidney International, Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, Medical Engineering and Physics, Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation, Nutrition, Physics Letters A, Physics in Medicine and Biology, Physical Biology, Physiological Measurement, Proceedings (B) of the Royal Society, and Thorax


  • MA (Cantab)
  • MSc (Imperial College)
  • PhD (Leeds University)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine
  • Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
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