Karen graduated from King's College London with a BSc (Hons) and Registered General Nurse qualification. She subsequently held a number of clinical posts in Oxford, Southampton, Gloucestershire and Nottingham, specialising in Oncology and Community Health Care. During this time she completed her District Nurse/community health qualification at Oxford Brookes University. She completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham, funded by a Cancer Research Campaign, Nursing Research Fellowship. Towards the end of her PhD studies she undertook a study visit at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and associated Cancer Centres (supported by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the Florence Nightingale Foundation).
Karen became a Lecturer at Nottingham in 1999, then Senior Lecturer and was promoted to Professor in 2002. She served as acting head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Nottingham from Autumn 2002 and then as full Head from Summer 2003 until the end of July 2007, serving as well on the Faculty of Medicine and Health Executive Board. During her time as Head of School she undertook roles with the British Psycho-Social Oncology Society and Council of Deans of Health, was a member of funding panels for Cancer Research UK, National Cancer Research Institute and the National Institute for Health Research, and served as an RAE 2008 panel member.
Karen was subsequently appointed to a Pro Vice-Chancellor position in August 2008 and was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor in January 2013, both at the University of Nottingham.
Karen serves on the Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the UK regulator for over 675,000 Nurses and Midwives across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Karen joined the University of Kent in August 2017 as Vice-Chancellor and President.
The main focus of Karen’s research and teaching has been patients’ and families’ experiences of cancer clinical trial involvement, cancer trial management and more recently, choice and decision-making in palliative and end of life care. She was responsible for the initiation of the Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care (now the Nottingham Centre for Research in Palliative and End of Life Care) which was established at the University of Nottingham in 2005 with substantial philanthropic funding.
Karen is an invited reviewer for a number of grant giving bodies and academic journals.
Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Kent