Our people

The core PIRU team comprises Nicholas Mays (Director), Bob Erens (Deputy Director), Martin Knapp (London School of Economics and Political Science), James Barlow (Imperial College London), Ellen Nolte (RAND) and Mark Petticrew (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine).

The Unit budget allows for input from a broad range of analytical staff and a panel of consultants.

Nick Mays photo Nicholas Mays Director of PIRU
Nicholas Mays has 30 years’ experience in health policy research and analysis, with particular expertise in policy evaluation, policy analysis, systematic reviews of qualitative and quantitative evidence, and international comparisons of policies and reforms. He was principal health policy advisor, New Zealand Treasury, 1998–2003, and continues to advise the NZ Ministry of Health part-time. He is also the scientific coordinator of a multi-million pound programme of evaluation funded by the DH PRP on the impact of current market reforms in the English NHS. In the latter role, he advises on practical designs for evaluation of policy innovations (e.g. on personal health budgets). Read more >>
Bob Erens

Bob Erens Deputy Director of PIRU
Bob Erens has 30 years’ experience of applied research and evaluation in the fields of health services, public health and survey methodological research. In PIRU, his recent projects include evaluations of integrated care and GP patient choice. He previously worked at NatCen where he was Director of the Health Research Group and the Survey Methods Unit, and where he led a number of national studies including the Health Survey for England. He is a co-investigator on the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes & Lifestyles (Natsal) and was a co-Director of the ESRC-funded Survey Resources Network from 2009-11. Read more >>

Martin Knapp Martin Knapp
Martin Knapp has 35 years’ experience in social care, mental health and other health research. Since 1996 he has directed the DH-funded PSSRU at LSE. He was recently invited to direct the NIHR School for Social Care Research. His work has informed policy in such areas as psychiatric hospital closure, social care markets, individual budgets, prevention, age discrimination, psychological therapies, dementia care and supported employment. He has expertise in the economics of social care and a wealth of experience of undertaking rigorous yet responsive, policy-relevant research. Read more >>
Mark Petticrew Mark Petticrew
Mark Petticrew is the PIRU lead for the evaluation of public health interventions, including those that extend beyond the NHS. Previously, Mark co-ordinated the ESRC Centre for Evidence Based Public Health Policy (2001–04). He is co-coordinator of the Cochrane/Campbell Health Equity Field which is developing methods for incorporating an equity perspective into systematic reviews. He is Director of the DH PRP Public Health Research Consortium. Read more >>
Ellen Nolte Ellen Nolte
Ellen Nolte has substantial expertise in international comparative research on health systems and policies in high and middle-income countries. Her work has included providing a rapid response facility to the Department of Health, the PRP-funded 'On-call Facility for International Healthcare Comparisons', which she led during its duration (2005-2014). Her particular interest is in health system performance assessment, chronic and integrated care approaches and health care evaluation. Read more >>
James Barlow James Barlow
James Barlow is an expert in innovations in healthcare, particularly the relationship between the design, planning and sustainable implementation of complex technology, service and infrastructure-based innovations such as tele-care. He leads HaCIRIC, an EPSRC multi-university research centre focusing on the relationship between changes in care services, technologies and supporting infrastructure. He is also a member of the evaluation team for the DH Whole System Demonstrators programme. Read more >>
Richard Richard Grieve
Richard Grieve is an expert in improving health economic evaluation methods where RCTs are not possible (e.g. to minimise selection bias when using observational data from pilot studies). He has also improved methods for analysing data from cluster randomised trials which are often used to evaluate organisational innovations. Read more >>
Nick Black Nick Black
Nick Black is an expert in the evaluation of healthcare, particularly using high quality clinical datasets. His current research includes the development of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), output for dissemination to, and use by, the public, clinicians, managers and commissioners. Read more >>
Raphael Wittenberg Raphael Wittenberg
Raphael Wittenberg is a principal research fellow at PSSRU at the London School of Economics and deputy director of the CHSEO research centre at the University of Oxford. He is joint leader of the PIRU evaluation of Direct Payments in Residential Care Trailblazers. He leads for PSSRU on long-term care financing, including design of a number of projection models. He also works on projects on dementia services and on care of older people. He was for many years a senior economist at the DH, where he led a team providing analyses to the Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships Directorate. Read more >>

Elizabeth Eastmure LSHTM, is an Honorary Research Fellow with experience in health policy research. Her background is in policy analysis and project/programme management. Previous work includes policy and research projects with the Nuffield Trust, NHS organisations and the former Healthcare Commission.

Paula Fry Administrator for PIRU

Nick Douglas LSHTM Read more >>

Mary-Alison Durand LSHTM Read more >>

Stefanie Ettelt LSHTM Read more >>

Alec Fraser LSHTM Read more >>

Cecile Knai LSHTM Read more >>

Tommaso Manacorda LSHTM Read more >>

Sandra Mounier-Jack LSHTM Read more >>

Stefanie Tan LSHTM Read more >>

Lorraine Williams LSHTM Read more >>

Martin Bardsley Nuffield Trust Read more >>

Advisory Group

Nigel Edwards (chair of the Advisory Group) is Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust. He was previously a Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund and a Director with the Global Healthcare Group at KPMG LLP. He was Policy Director of the NHS Confederation for 11 years. Nigel was responsible for founding the Health Services Research Network. Nigel is a well-known media commentator, often in the spotlight debating policy issues. He is currently advising the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the development of a strategy for hospital and health care delivery systems.
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Ken Judge is a research professor in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. He held previous university appointments at Bristol, Glasgow, Kent and the London School of Economics, and he was the founding Director of the King’s Fund Policy Institute in London. Ken's main research interests focus on policies to reduce health inequalities and the evaluation of complex community-based interventions intended to promote population health. Ken was until recently a member of the Research Advisory Board for the NIHR public health programme, and a member of the Scientific Reference Group responsible for advising Government Ministers about research aspects of the cross-government programme to tackle health inequalities.
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Sue Richards was Professor of Public Management at the University of Birmingham, and is now a freelance writer on issues of public management and leadership. She has worked in several different academic institutions and has had two separate periods in the civil service, latterly (2005-10) as a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office and a Director of the National School of Government. Her last post was as Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, where she was the UK Co-ordinator of a six-nation collaboration developing ideas about public administration in the 21st century. The main strands of her work have been the theory of public management, the development of public leaders, working through systems of multi-level governance, and public innovation. Read more >>

Clive Smee has an academic background in social research and economics. He is the former Chief Economic Adviser, Department of Health (18 years) and has also worked as an economic advisor in the UK Treasury and Cabinet Office and the New Zealand Treasury and Ministry of Health. A visiting Professor of Economics, University of Surrey, his publications include "Speaking Truth to Power" on the role of analysis in health policy making. He has also worked in development economics and was a member of DIFD's Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact (IACDI) from 2007-10. Other recent work includes advice to the Home Office, the Nuffield Trust and the Research Directorate in Department of Health. Read more >>

Sarah Stewart-Brown is professor of public health at Warwick Medical School. Sarah joined the University in 2003 from the University of Oxford where she had been directing the Health Services Research Unit. Her research interests focus on child public health and public mental health. Her research was influential in the rationalisation of child health surveillance programmes in the UK and the development of a new child health promotion service. Her most recent contributions lie in the development and validation of measures of mental wellbeing for public health use. Prior to her academic career Sarah worked in the NHS both in paediatrics and in public health. Read more >>

Colin Talbot is professor of government and public administration at the University of Manchester. His research interests have focussed on structures, institutions and performance in central government and public services in the UK and internationally. He has appeared as an expert witness before three different Parliamentary Select Committees and has been a specialist adviser to the Treasury and Public Administration committees, as well as providing evidence to the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. Colin edits the International Journal of Public Administration and the Whitehall Watch blog. Read more >>