Dr Gail Eva

PhD, MSc, PCTHE, BSc (Occ Ther)

Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


I am a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

I completed my undergraduate degree in occupational therapy at the University of Cape Town in 1985 and spent the next five years in South Africa working in hospital and community settings with people with long-term health conditions, mainly spinal injury, head injury, stroke and arthritis.

In 1990, I moved to London and worked at the Royal Marsden Hospital where I became interested in cancer and palliative care rehabilitation. Since then, I have worked in Oxford and London in a variety of clinical, managerial, educational and research roles in cancer and palliative care.  


My research focuses on the social, psychological and occupational consequences of cancer-related disability – in particular vocational rehabilitation, goal-setting, rehabilitation outcome measures in cancer and palliative care, rehabilitation in neurological cancers, and non-pharmacological interventions for managing fatigue. I am particularly interested in the way that people with life-limiting illness conceptualise disability and the implications of this for rehabilitation.

I completed my PhD research at the University of Stirling in 2007, and subsequently held Macmillan Cancer Suport and NIHR post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Oxford and UCL respectively. I am currently a Co-Investigator on the NIHR-funded SURECAN study, which is investigating an intervention called ACT Plus in the aftercare of cancer patients. ACT Plus is a talking therapy based on Acceptance and Committment Therapy (ACT) which integrates physical activity and work support where these are deemed important by the patient. 

Research grants and awards

  • 2018 – 2023 NIHR Programme Grant £2.5 million. SUrvivors Rehabilitation Evaluation after CANcer (SURECAN). Co-investigator; member of the Grant Management Committee. Responsibility for developing, implementing, training  and supervising the vocational rehabilitation component of the intervention. CIs: Professor Steph Taylor, Queen Mary University London, and Professor Trudie Chalder, King's College London.               
  • 2017 – 2018 Teach Brunel & Royal Literary Fund £9,857. What kind of feedback on academic writing helps students improve the way they write? Co-Principal Investigator.    
  • 2016 – 2018 Health Education North West London (HENWL) Strategic Investment Award  £22,843,66. Educating undergraduate occupational therapy and physiotherapy students in motivational interviewing: feasibility and effectiveness. Co-investigator. CI: Dr Jennifer Fortune, Brunel University.
  • 2014 – 2016 NIHR Programme Development Grant £98,257.50. SUrvivors Rehabilitation Evaluation after CANcer (SURECAN). Co-investigator.  CI: Professor Peter White, Queen Mary Univerisity London.        
  • 2012 – 2016 NIHR Post-doctoral Research Fellowship £354,765. The REJOIN study (REhabilitation for Job and Occupational INdependence) – a feasibility study of a randomised controlled trial to evaluate a vocational rehabilitation intervention for people with cancer.
  • 2010 – 2012 Macmillan Cancer Support £158,000. Vocational rehabilitation for people with cancer: realistic and cost evaluation. Co-investigator. CI: Dr Diane Playford, UCL.    
  • 2008 – 2010 Macmillan Cancer Support £51,028. Research Training Fellowship. This Fellowship supported training in statistics, systematic reviews and RCT methodology.
  • 2007 – 2008 Oxfordshire Health Services Research Committee £47,737. The management of fatigue in patients with advanced cancer: a feasibility study of a customised rehabilitation intervention. Co-applicant. CI: Mary Black, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust.
  • 2003 – 2005 Oxfordshire Health Services Research Committee £53,421. Spinal cord compression secondary to cancer: disability and rehabilitation. Lead Researcher. (This study was the basis of my PhD.)


Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • SUrvivors’ Rehabilitation Evaluation after CANcer (SURECAN) (led by Barts and London NHS Trust) (01/11/2018 - 30/09/2023), funded by: National Institute for Health Research, funding amount received by Brookes: £18,320