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.


Sarah-Jane Marriott (BSc.Hons, MSc.Econ) is an international development consultant with expertise in monitoring, evaluation and learning. She has 25 years’ experience of working with government, private, and third sector organisations, nationally and internationally. She has worked as a policy advisor, a programme manager, a consultant specialising in policy and programme evaluation, and latterly as an executive coach and facilitator. Sarah-Jane has strong sector knowledge in health, education, rural livelihoods, water and sanitation, and has worked with organisations on governance and empowerment programmes. She has extensive experience in leading, conducting and advising on programme evaluations for national and international organisations such as WaterAid, Marie Stopes International, Health Unlimited, DfID, Comic Relief, and New Zealand Agency for International Development.



Maia Jones (MSc Econ, PGCE, BA Hons) is an FE college lecturer in Wales, where she coordinates the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health Care) course.  She delivers high quality bilingual learning experiences across a range of higher education modules, and supervises dissertation students, advising on research methods and design.  Maia has a long-standing interest in community-based research and has conducted projects focusing on education and young people.  She is fluent in spoken and written Welsh. 


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


Claire Mellier-Wilson (MA, BA Hons) is a participation specialist with 15 years’ experience supporting a wide range of public, private organisations and charities in the areas of sustainability, systems change and participation.  Claire’s core interest is to enable people to play an active and influential part in decisions which affect their lives.  Prior to becoming freelance consultant in 2013, Claire worked for 10 years for The Environment Council, a stakeholder and community engagement charity in London, which spear-headed the facilitation and stakeholder dialogue movement of the 90’s and 00’s in the UK.  Claire’s work is founded on three main capabilities: facilitation; participatory research and impact evaluation.  Recent projects include: Comparative analysis of the French and UK Climate Citizens’ Assemblies, facilitation of local Climate Citizens’ Assemblies, Participation Associate with the National Trust, Facilitator of a Consortium for the ‘Shout out Loud’ project with English Heritage. 

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