In conversation with LDA Research’s director Lucy Doorbar

As LDA Research continues to grow and broaden its medical market research from working with English speaking countries to offering research in the Spanish and LATAM markets, we speak to founder Lucy Doorbar about the company’s values and vision


Lucy Doorbar founded LDA Research, a medical market research company, after learning the value of listening to real lived experience, in order to play a part in providing better products and healthcare services for people.

Following a year working on a colorectal surgical ward, she learnt the difference good health care can make, sparking her interest in healthcare.

She went on to study sociology and psychology at university, with a view to pursuing a career in the healthcare and research industry, and began her career in social research with the National Service Framework for renal failure with children.

‘I also worked with various charities for childhood stroke, HIV, and the Royal College of Nursing supporting children in pain,’ said Lucy.

She then took an opportunity writing market research reports and interviewing for healthcare, which led to a position with a small consultancy. Thrown in at the deep end, she gained a wealth of experience, and moved onto research roles at the Planning Shop International and Ipsos before going freelance following the birth of her daughter.

‘After a year of freelancing, and getting more work than I could manage alone, I decided to set up LDA Research in 2011.’
As the business grew her role evolved from doing recruitment, moderation and analysis, to stepping back and managing the business.

‘Because I used to recruit and moderate my own interviews, I learnt the value of finding the right respondent, and I went onto build our own database to support our projects which has grown from tens to thousands today.

‘Methods for recruitment have changed over the years with the days of cold calling left behind. I’ve passed on the techniques I developed, and built on these with my team. As well as putting a lot of effort into finding the best respondents for research, we value every person who takes part in a research project with us.’

To date the growth of LDA Research has been very organic, grown almost entirely from word of mouth and reputation. As a result her team has grown but the ethos remains the same.

‘We take a lot of pride in what we do. I know from the feedback we get that the quality of our work, whether it’s the quality of respondents, project management, communication, moderation, or industry knowledge, is always high because they are at the heart of what we do.

‘Due to the effort we put into finding the right people, we have developed a niche for harder to reach targets, whether this is an IT manager, hospital C-suite and payors, or rare disease patients. ‘We have developed good relationships with patient groups and also run our own social media group for rare disease patients. We are never complacent, and are always willing to go the extra mile, to get the respondents we need for any project no matter how big or small.

‘The very best projects for me, are the ones where our clients feel they got precisely what they needed, and our respondents have felt useful and valued for their contributions.’ 

Lucy said that from the very start of her time working in hospital, social research and through to her work now with her own company, she has learnt the power and value of listening to real lived experience in order to provide better products and services for people.‘I feel strongly about giving people a voice, and through our work with the Rare Disease Network and our podcasts Rare Together, it has been very rewarding and humbling to be able to hear and share the voices of people who have incredible challenges to overcome.’

Lucy is keen to continue developing their work with the rare disease community. ‘My interest in the rare disease community came from a personal connection I developed with a charity Hope for Hollie and the Nieman Picks Disease Group. The shared experiences of a challenging journey to diagnosis, feelings of isolation, and the need to become an expert in your condition, make the rare disease community a group with very specific needs for support and a need to be heard, and I am passionate to develop our support with this community.’

While Lucy had to learn on her feet, managing social media, marketing, HR and finance, she said that she has been fortunate with the team she has grown who have learnt to multi task and support each other as a result.

‘Our team are very close, and despite the fact we are working from various locations, we all work well together and our team meetings and social engagements are always a big success.’

As the company continues to grow, Lucy is keen to keep the team spirit it has today, keep the respondents at the centre of what they do, and continue to value and respect the relationship she has with them.

‘Being a mother of two, it can be challenging running a business, but I am also keen to provide a role model for my daughters. They have seen that if you try hard enough you can achieve your goals.’

Last year Lucy went to promote LDA Research in New York at the Quirks convention, and this year she is broadening its market reach from working with English speaking countries to offering research in the Spanish and LATAM markets.

LDA Research is an international qualitative research provider. Set up in 2011 by Lucy Doorbar, the LDA team specialises in providing global intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry and medical device sector. We have a network of international associates as well as dedicated healthcare panels in the UK and US.