Sana Zakaria

Sana Zakaria
Research Leader
Cambridge Office


Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology, King's College London; M.Sc. in molecular medicine, University College London

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact RAND Europe Media Relations at +44 (1223) 353 329, x2560, or email

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Sana Zakaria (she/her) is a research leader at the RAND Corporation. Working in science and emerging technology at RAND Europe, her research interests and experience span the fields of research funding and allocation, strategy development, health and well-being policies and systems and biotechnology policies. She is currently leading RAND Europe's Biotechnology policy research focussing on synthetic biology, advances in ML and genome editing, food systems and brain computer interfacing.

Before joining RAND, she was the Head of Impact at NIHR leading on a complex portfolio of research on research, impact literacy and capacity building, delivering projects such as assessing the value of national experimental medicine infrastructure and charting NIHR's pathway to maximising impact as a funder. Previous to this, she headed up the Strategic Performance and Impact function at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), where she was responsible for developing an organisational outcomes framework for evidencing its strategy objectives. She commissioned as well as delivered major healthcare intervention evaluations for the BHF and conducted a major policy review of provision for community-based genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolemia, to influence decision making in the NHS on service provision.

For a decade, Zakaria has worked across the public and third sector in areas spanning health policy, public health interventions, research impact assessments and evaluation as well as organisational strategy development. 

Zakaria has a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from Guys' Hospital King's College London where she also carried out post-doctoral work. 

Recent Projects

  • Value of Experimental Medicine Infrastructure in the UK
  • AI at the helm of a species evolution
  • Value of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
  • Effectiveness of a pilot foodbourne pathogen and AMR surveillance programme

Selected Publications

Sana Zakaria, Jonathan Grant and Jane Luff, "Fundamental challenges in assessing the impact of research infrastructure," Health Research Policy Systems, 2021

Sana Zakaria, Familial hypercholesterolemia cascade testing in the UK today, BHF

Claire A. Hawkes, Terry P. Brown, Scott Booth, Rachael T. Fothergill, Niroshan Siriwardena, Sana Zakaria, Sara Askew, Julia Williams, Nigel Rees, Chen Ji and Gavin D. Perkins, "Attitudes to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Defibrillator Use: A Survey of UK Adults in 2017," Journal of the American Heart Association