Our people

The PIRU Management Team comprises Nicholas Mays (Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)), Bob Erens (Deputy Director, LSHTM), Martin Knapp (London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)), James Barlow (Imperial College London), Ellen Nolte (LSHTM and LSE), Mark Petticrew (LSHTM) and Elizabeth Eastmure (LSHTM).

As well as its own research staff, the Unit is able to call on a broad range of expertise in the collaborating institutions. It also has call-off contracts with a further panel of 'preferred providers' to support its responsive research capacity.

Senior Investigators

Nick Mays photo Nicholas Mays, Director of PIRU
Nicholas Mays has over 35 years’ experience in undertaking health policy research and providing health policy advice, with particular expertise in policy and programme evaluation, policy analysis, systematic reviews of qualitative and quantitative evidence, and international comparisons of policies and reforms. He is Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine as well as a Senior Associate of the Nuffield Trust. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Health Services Research Centre, Faculty of Health, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He continues to advise the NZ Government. He is a Board Member and Trustee of the Centre for Ageing Better, one of the 'What Works Centres' established with funding from the Big Lottery. 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, he provides expertise on the use of surveys in policy evaluation. He previously worked at the National Centre for Social Research for over 20 years, where he was Director of the Health Research Group and the Survey Methods Unit, and where he led a number of large national studies including the Health Survey for England. He is an honorary senior research associate at UCL and a Trustee of the Social Research Association.
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Martin Knapp Martin Knapp
Martin Knapp has 40 years’ experience in social care, mental health and other health research. Since 1996 he has directed the DH-funded PSSRU at LSE and in 2009 he became director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research. His current research interests are primarily in dementia, child and adult mental health, autism and long-term social care. He has expertise in the economics of social care and a wealth of experience of undertaking rigorous yet responsive, policy-relevant research.
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Mark Petticrew Mark Petticrew
Mark Petticrew is the PIRU lead for the evaluation of public health interventions, including those that extend beyond the NHS. He is co-coordinator of the Cochrane/Campbell Health Equity Field which has developed methods for incorporating an equity perspective into systematic reviews. He is co-director of the DH PRP Public Health Research Consortium and NIHR School for Public Health Research at LSHTM. Previously, Mark co-ordinated the ESRC Centre for Evidence Based Public Health Policy (2001–04).
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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. From 2006-13, he was Principal Investigator of HaCIRIC (Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre), an EPSRC multi-university research centre focusing on the relationship between changes in care services, technologies and supporting infrastructure. He was 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.
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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 was 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 >>

Lay researchers and PPI advisors

Matthew Baker has substantial expertise in cancer research, advising on both the development of clinical trials and population studies focussing on prevention. He has worked extensively with NCRI and CRUK. He is familiar with the NCPES data and has collaborated with a number of research teams concerned with aspects of cancer patients' experience, most particularly in relation to widening patient participation in clinical trials. He is a member of the NCRI Consumer Forum Steering Group and a member of QORU Public Involvement Implementation Group, and is associated with innovations in patient and service user involvement in research.

Gerry Bennison has extensive experience of involvement from a PPI perspective including acting as Public Reviewer for the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research, a Public Panel Member for the DH Policy Research Programme and a Peer Reviewer and Service User Editor for the Social Work Education: International Journal. He is a lay member of NICE guideline groups and a lay peer reviewer for various NIHR programmes. He has knowledge, skills and experience in terms of complex social understanding of wider social inequity and its interface with varying social issues. He is aware of the need to expand dissemination through innovative ways of engagement and has been a member of the Social Care Institute for Excellence Co-Production Network. He has extensive experience of providing informal care and of relatives experiencing End Of Life transitions.

Jennifer Bostock has experience of strategy for public involvement in research via QORU and the NIHR School of Public Health; PPI training as PPI Chair and training lead of the Research Design Service Public Advisory Group; and dissemination via academic and popular media. Jennifer ensures that the Unit’s PPI strategy exhibits best practice. Her background in research ethics, NHS primary care commissioning, regulation (as a former CQC inspector) and health and social care quality improvement (via NAGCAE, HQIP & NICE) provides a set of independent skills to the team. Her own disability living with a long-term condition and her personal experience as a carer helps root the work of the Unit in the reality of service provision.

Core Research Team

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 >>

Ties Hoomans LSHTM Read more >>

Stefanie Tan LSHTM Read more >>

Lorraine Williams LSHTM Read more >>

Mustafa Al-Haboubi LSHTM Read more >>

Rebecca Glover LSHTM Read more >>

Key Collaborators

Gerald Wistow LSE 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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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 formdr 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 puclications 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 rathonalisation 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 ier academic career Sarah worked in the NHS both in paediatrics and in public health. Read more >>

Previous members of the Advisory Group included Ken Judge and Colin Talbot.