In 1996, she left Southampton and joined the late David Hide to establish the internationally-recognised Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight and completed her training in Epidemiology in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. During this time, she led on number of seminal cohort studies focussing on epidemiological aspects of asthma and allergy and also took up Directorship of the DoH-funded Research and Development Support Unit for South East Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
Her unit was responsible for providing research support and training for all health professionals in the area and this role introduced her to the wider aspects of leadership. Her remit grew and she was seconded to lead on Primary Care Research Networks in the region and, eventually, chaired the national steering group of Research and Development Support Units for two years. During this period, she was also an external tutor for Oxford’s programme on Evidence Based Healthcare and taught alongside the late David Sackett. She has published over 100 journal articles and has completed a number of Cochrane Systematic Reviews.
In 2000, she joined the then newly-formed School of Postgraduate Medicine at the University of Portsmouth, securing her Chair in Health Sciences in 2007. She has held a number of roles at school, faculty and university level at Portsmouth. She led a review of institutional management of research degree programmes, which led to establishment of a Portsmouth Graduate School, has been Associate Head of School of Health Sciences, Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Science and, between 2011-2014, she was Dean of Research for the university. In this role, she led on the development of the university’s Research Strategy (2012-2017) and coordinated the REF 2014 submission for the institution. In 2015, she went back to the Faculty of Science as Dean, with overall responsibility for the leadership and management of the faculty.
She has, over the years, raised over £12m for her research, has been returned to every research assessment exercise and is still highly research active, with two PhD students and two postdocs.
She also mentors a number of female academics at both the University of Portsmouth and other HEIs and was shortlisted for Mentor of the Year award at Women of the Future Awards, 2015. She has completed the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s (LFHE) Senior Strategic Leadership and Top Management Programme and, in 2012, she became a Fellow of the LFHE. In 2014, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of LFHE, she was amongst a handful of invited leaders who presented a TED-style stimulus talk on 'the Art of Research Leadership'.
Outside of work, Tara is passionate about the arts and, in particular, the visual arts. She enjoys singing in community choirs and spending time with her grown up “but still needy” children. She is also the Aurora Champion (LFHE) leadership development programme for women for University of Portsmouth.