Who we are

Helix Research and Evaluation is a UK-based social research company, providing a full range of high quality and cost-effective research, evaluation and policy development services.

Established by experienced researchers Ruth Townsley and Margaret Macadam, our approach is responsive, friendly and reliable. We work in partnership with clients to deliver flexible insight solutions, informed by our robust methodological expertise and strong sector knowledge in:

  • education and skills
  • public engagement
  • disability and inclusion
  • employment
  • business and innovation
  • children and families
  • health and well-being

Margaret and Ruth first worked together at the University of Bristol in the 1990s, moving on to develop their methodological skills across a wide range of sectors, before setting up Helix Research and Evaluation in 2018.


Ruth Townsley - image

Ruth Townsley (PhD, BA Hons) has many years’ experience of designing and delivering social research, evaluation and review work for national and international clients. She is an experienced project manager, with a strong and established track record of completing complex projects on time and within budget. Following a career in academic research at the University of Bristol, Ruth worked as an independent researcher, delivering work to clients such as the Welsh Government, RCUK and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Ruth became a director of Helix Research and Evaluation in 2018.


Margaret Macadam - image

Margaret Macadam (MSc, BA Hons) is a skilled social researcher with extensive experience in a range of senior research and evaluation roles in the UK and New Zealand, in higher education as well as central and local government. She combines delivery expertise in academic and policy settings with eleven years of working in research and innovation funding agencies (Economic and Social Research Council and Innovate UK – both now part of UK Research and Innovation), leading on impact evaluation and knowledge mobilisation.  Margaret became a director of Helix Research and Evaluation in 2018.


Caroline Thomas (BA Hons) is a highly-experienced social researcher who has worked as an Academic Adviser to government, supporting the use of research evidence in policy, and as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, managing child-welfare research programmes for the Scottish and English governments. She was also a board member for Research in Practice, helping organisations and individuals to access, understand and apply evidence in their work with children and families.  Caroline now works as an Independent Research Consultant. Recent work includes a synthesis of research evidence for the Care Crisis Review in England and Wales and collaborations with national agencies in England and Scotland to promote public and professional understanding of adoption and fostering.  She holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellowship with the University of Stirling and is a member of the European Council for Research’s Expert Panel for the ethical review of research proposals.  Caroline became an Associate of Helix Research and Evaluation in 2019