NHS Lothian Local Infrastructure

In 2019, The South East Scotland Innovation Central Office was set up at Waverley Gate in Edinburgh. This is led by the Director of Innovation Prof. Tim Walsh and with oversight provided by the NHS Lothian Innovation Champion, Grahame Cumming. The core support team is managed by the Innovation Project Team Manager Samantha Smith.

The team work across the South East Scotland Innovation Network and in addition to supporting innovation projects, they are continually involved in developing further the networks of innovative solution providers, and at identifying potential sources of external funding through which to form innovation collaborations.

Professor Tim Walsh


Tim Walsh is Director of  Innovation for NHS Lothian, and Health Innovation South East Scotland. He is also Professor of Critical Care at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant in Critical Care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

He is Head of the Academic Dept of Anaesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine in the University of Edinburgh, and Co-director of Acute Care Edinburgh a multidisciplinary research grouping in the University of Edinburgh Usher Institute.

Tim leads a multidisciplinary clinical research group with interests including transfusion medicine, sedation in the critically ill, recovery from critical illness and the epidemiology and prevention of ICU acquired infection. He has a particular interest in large pragmatic clinical trials, complex health intervention trials, and the evaluation of novel diagnostics and technologies in acute care. He is a past Chairman of the UK Critical Care Research Network and UK Critical Care Research Group.

Grahame Cumming

NHS Lothian Innovation Champion

Grahame is the NHS Lothian Innovation Champion, providing a central contact point within the Board and with external organisations in support of the delivery of the vision for a healthier and wealthier Scotland through open innovation collaboration activities.

This is an exciting role for him, as in addition to providing the opportunity for continual learning and engaging directly with a range of internal and external stakeholders – it enables him to draw upon his 27 years of strategic planning experience within NHS Lothian, which has seen him involved in service planning for a range of specialties and patient groups.

Grahame was a member of the local collaborative team that developed a successful award winning approach to the home monitoring of blood pressure that is now being spread across the country.

Outside of the NHS, Grahame is a Director of a charity that utilises the power of football to run lifelong learning, employability and health & wellbeing programmes in the community. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and Manufacturing, which encourages and supports enlightened thinking to solve complex social problems.

Samantha Smith-Garrett

Senior Innovation Programme Manager

Samantha joined NHS Lothian in October 2019 as Innovation Project Team Manager and was responsible for setting up the South East Regional Innovation Hub PM team.

Taking up the post of Senior Innovation Programme Manager in March 2023, Samantha now provides leadership in developing a large complex and diverse portfolio of innovation projects and programmes, working with clinicians, academics, service managers, third sector, and industry partners. This includes defining innovation challenges and working with partners to address these challenges. Her portfolio includes COPD and Long-Term Conditions Management, Paediatric Asthma, Cancer, Hip Fracture, and testing the feasibility of a medical drone delivery network which connects hospitals, pathology laboratories, distribution centres and GP surgeries across Scotland.

Samantha is passionate about leading service redesign and mapping clinical pathways to identify innovative opportunities for system wide change across health & social care to support the delivery of frontline services and improve outcomes for families and the care they receive.

Outside of work, Samantha is a die-hard Hibs fan & Leith resident with her front door looking directly into Easter Road Stadium. Sam is a season ticket holder where you will find her on Saturdays.

Robin Scott

Innovation Project Manager

Robin started working for NHS Lothian in 1994 as a part-time Medical Secretary whilst studying at Napier University – where she went on to achieve degrees in both Business and Finance. Having worked up the NHS Lothian corporate ladder, she eventually became a Business and Administration Manager working with external companies before undertaking further studies in Project Management. In 2019, Robin was successfully awarded the practitioner level Prince2™ accredited qualification which sparked her interest in a change in profession.

Now working as an Innovation Project Manager, Robin is supporting regional innovation projects that are proving to be exciting not only to herself – but to the NHS and the people of Scotland.  She believes that with the help of industry, academics and home grown talents, it is envisaged that together we can all make a difference to both the NHS and to the local economy and grow Scotland’s reputation as world class leaders in Innovation and Research & Development.

When Robin isn’t working or studying, she’s busy walking her dog, gardening, camping or you could even bump into her at a rally on her motorbike.

Veronica Arias

Innovation Project Manager

Veronica moved from Lima (Peru) to Edinburgh to study an MSc in Marketing following her first class BA (Hons) degree in Communications. More recently, she passed with merit an MSc in Psychological Studies and an MSc in Occupational Psychology following a BSc in Psychology.

She joined Scottish Widows as a Relationship Support Consultant for the Intermediary Sales Head Office Team and gained a Certificated in Financial Planning within a year of joining the company. Then moved to Standard Life as Research Sales Analyst where she collaborated in the implementation of a new Customer Relationship Management system.

Following her experience in change projects, she joined the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI) as a Project Officer where she supported the delivery of around 100 collaborations between academia, businesses and third sector organisations. Here she gained a PRINCE2 accreditation and also supported the creation of DHI’s Demonstration and Simulation Environment, a space to experience digital capabilities and explore new ways of gathering, analysing and using citizen data to support preventative care.

Veronica is keen to deliver projects around mental health and work closer with front line staff. When she is not working or studying, she will probably be doing a portrait or wandering around an art gallery as she is passionate about art.

Amirah Aslam

Innovation Project Manager

Amirah is a graduate of Biomedical Sciences (Physiology) and has most recently completed a MSc in Forensic Anthropology. She has clinical working experience within both primary and secondary care settings within NHS Tayside and Lothian. These roles were within Cardiac Physiology, Respiratory Physiology and Blood Sciences.

After completing her MSc, Amirah completed a fixed term position as Scientific Officer for the East of Scotland Research Ethics service in 2019. Since then, she has gained PRINCE 2 accreditation and worked within the Information Governance and Data Protection office at NHS Fife. Here, she worked closely with the R & D department, represented NHS Fife on the PBPP panel, dealt with the daily data protection queries and risks arising around the business and was responsible for submitting applications to the Caldicott Guardian.

Amirah is passionate about tackling health inequalities and mental health disparities within Scotland. She is looking forward to working on projects that will facilitate the health and care of vulnerable patients. In her free time she enjoys travelling, painting and volunteering at her local food bank.

Ryan Orr

Innovation Project Manager

Ryan has a BA in Business Studies from the University of Stirling with a most recent MSc in Computing at Napier University.

Having worked in many sectors such as telecommunications, retail, private and public accommodations sites Ryan most up to date role was in healthcare for one of America’s biggest health care companies where his role consisted of remote implantation of software, customer relations and data manipulation. Seeing how a privatised health care system worked he found a new appreciation for the NHS and joined in 2021.

Beginning his career in the e-Health customer service team he contributed to some large-scale IT projects such as the role out of Windows 10 devices across Lothian hospitals and local GP’s, as well as more technical projects such as a Theatres TrakCare project involving the introduction of Screens and devices to help with the migration from ORSOS to TrakCare.

Ryan is passionate about machine learning and creating patient pathways using dashboards and applications. With a keen interest in new emerging technology, he will be a great asset for the HISES team.

Outside of work you’ll find Ryan throwing a ball for his dog Roxy or spending time with family and friends. You may also see him eating his way through Edinburgh restaurants with his love for food.

Rory Maguire

Innovation Project Manager for CAELUS 2

Rory graduated in 2018 with a Law and Business Management (LLB) degree from the University of Glasgow.

In 2020, Rory joined the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland at the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic as a Quality Coach and Trainer then moved to Edinburgh in 2022 and joined Healthcare Improvement Scotland as a Project Officer with the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG) and then subsequently within the ihub Scottish Patient Safety Programme.

Rory has recently joined the HISES Team as a Project Manager for the South East of Scotland working on the UK’s first medical drone delivery Project CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland). Rory’s passions lie in working in a dynamic environment as part of a motivated team, seeking to enact change.

Outside of work, Rory plays Hurling, loves getting into the hills and getting out for cold water dips.

Emily Stewart

Innovation Project Manager

Emily first moved to Edinburgh in 2014 to obtain her undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh in Biomedical Sciences (Neuroscience). She then spent 2 years living in Stockholm and studying at Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University where she obtained an MMSc and MSc in Health Informatics. Whilst there, she had a particular interest in exploring the possibilities of using artificial intelligence on health data.

Following university, Emily was able  to secure a position within the eHealth department of NHS Lothian, where she was pivotal in the implementation of multiple projects, including the Trak Theatres and Patient Outcomes project. Whilst there she gained her PRINCE2 accreditation and learnt a great deal on project life cycles. With her recently acquired skills and alongside her passion in health informatics, she was able to secure herself a role as Innovation Project Manager within HISES. She now hopes to be able to make a difference to healthcare throughout Scotland.

Emily still incorporates Scandinavian culture in her life, not least by frequently baking Swedish cinnamon buns. She is also an avid runner and will be found running along the various Edinburgh cycle paths on the weekends.