Professor Tom Walley

Professor Tom Walley, Institute Director, HMRI

Research Interests

  • Evidence-based, patient-centered research
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Policy
  • Clinical Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness
  • Health Technology Assessment

Why did you get into research?

I started my career as a junior doctor in Ireland and the UK before taking up the challenge of promoting the greater use of research evidence in health care and in policy. I saw the need to fill knowledge gaps between medical research and clinical practice to make healthcare work better for patients.

From 2008 I worked in various roles within the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) –  and worked to build it up to become the largest funding stream for clinical research in the UK. The NIHR covers both the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of medical interventions such as pharmaceutical, surgical, psychological, diagnostic and screening. During this time, I established key programs and promoted greater links across the NIHR in key research areas.

With all of these positions, I worked to promote the greater use of research evidence in health care policy by responding to research needs and feeding back the results of important projects – with the patient at the centre of all.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

I came to HMRI in November 2018 and was charged with leading a new Strategic Plan to take HMRI to 2024 and beyond. As Director of HMRI I am looking forward to expanding the role that HMRI plays locally, nationally and globally in delivering better health outcomes for patients. HMRI can play a key role in improving health of our communities. It’s my role as Director to work with our researchers and other stakeholders to ensure that we meet those needs now, and in the future.


Professor Tom Walley is the Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute. With an extensive career in the UK with the NIHR (the research arm of the UK NHS), along with Academic appointments at the University of Liverpool, Professor Walley has also worked as a Consultant Physician at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals.

From 2004, in his work at NIHR, Professor Walley started as Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme where he secured an expansion of remit and increased funding so it became the major vehicle publicly-funded clinical trials in the UK: and later established and led other programs (Efficacy and Mechanistic Evaluations, Systematic Reviews).

Professor Walley is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and of the British Pharmacological Society.  He headed a research group at Liverpool University, focusing on prescribing, pharmaceutical policy, and clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. He was later associate pro-vice chancellor for clinical research in the university.

In June 2008, Professor Walley was awarded a CBE by the Queen for services to medicine. 

In November 2018 Professor Walley took up the post of Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

Future Focus

I am focused on meeting the needs of patients. As such, I’m looking forward to working with HMRI researchers, the health districts and our community to drive better health outcomes for communities locally, nationally and globally.


  • NSWRHP Governing Board
  • NSWRHP Translation Committee
  • UoN Research Committee
  • HMRI Research Council
  • Health Research and Translation Advisory Council (HRAC)
  • Research Australia
  • ASMR