The Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) announces the joint-appointment of Professor Madeline Cruice and Professor Lucy Dipper to the role of CATs Chair.

By Mr Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer), Published (Updated )

Aphasia is a condition that can impact a person’s ability to speak, understand speech, read, write and perform simple calculations. It occurs after injury to the brain, usually as a consequence of stroke.

The Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) has been delighted to announce the joint-appointment to the role of CATs Chair of Madeline Cruice, Professor of Aphasia Rehabilitation and Recovery, and Professor Lucy Dipper, Head of Language and Communication Science, both of the School of Health & Psychological Sciences at City, University of London.

Funded by the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) is an international network of multidisciplinary aphasia investigators in rehabilitation, social science, psychology and linguistics research from across more than 50 countries. It aims to enhance aphasia research knowledge, skills, methodologies and infrastructure; increase the availability and validity of multilingual assessments and outcome measures relating to aphasia support; provide international research activities to support junior and early-stage researchers; offer expert advice; and provide resources to enhance the quality and reporting of aphasia research.

The new joint CATs chairs will formally take up their shared role from February 2024, which also marks the transition to a new CATs funding award from the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, UK, which runs until January 2026.

Both highly experienced aphasia researchers, Professor Dipper and Professor Cruice bring distinct and complementary perspectives to this leadership role coming from linguistic and therapeutic academic backgrounds respectively. Following an open application process, Lucy and Madeline impressed the international multidisciplinary interview panel with their comprehensive and ambitious plans for the Collaboration’s future. They also bring a long history of successful collaborative aphasia research as far back as 2010 on the first LUNA pilot project which later progressed to a nationally-funded Stroke Association grant in 2017.

Their CATs vision is of an inclusive and transformative international collaboration of stakeholders in aphasia research, which is committed equally to developing, delivering, evaluating and implementing the highest quality aphasia research for the maximum benefit to people with aphasia, whilst developing the capacity of all stakeholders involved in research to participate in and lead aphasia research effectively.

Reflecting on her appointment, Professor Madeline Cruice said:

I'm thrilled and honoured to have this opportunity to chair the collaboration with Lucy, and with the support of the marvellous Executive Committee. CATs has had a significant role in internationally transforming the aphasia research landscape in the last decade and has been a driving force in connecting people around the world. As a ten-year collaboration, we are in an incredible place in 2023, and I'm excited about our prospects for the next decade, creating a world of better futures for people affected by aphasia.

Professor Madeline Cruice
Professor Madeline Cruice

Professor Lucy Dipper added:

It is a real honour to be taking on this role alongside Madeline.  CATs is such an important international collaboration, supporting us all to conduct the highest quality research aimed at improving the lives of people affected by aphasia; and I look forward to working with the Executive Committee and CATs members to build on the fantastic foundation of our first 10 years.

Head and shoulders photo of Dr Lucy Dipper
Professor Lucy Dipper

Nicole Campbell (Hon.FRCSLT, Trustee, The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia):

The appointment of Professors Madeline Cruice and Lucy Dipper to lead the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists into its next phase is wonderful news that brings optimism and anticipation regarding CATs’ future.  Professor Marian Brady is an exceptionally hard act to follow, and we believe the baton has been taken up by the right people at the right time and we know that CATs will go on to achieve even more than it has done, in the years to come.