Health Economics Research Unit (HERU)

The Health Economics Research Unit (HERU) at the University of Aberdeen was established in 1977.  HERU has become one of the leading health economics research centres internationally, with a reputation for delivering both applied and methodological work of the highest quality across a broad range of policy-relevant fields including technology assessment, workforce, person-centred care and public health. HERU receives core funding from the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates.  Substantial additional funding also comes from competitive research grants, training activities, commissioned research, and the University of Aberdeen. 

The aim of HERU is to:

  • Research economic approaches to health and health care at standards of international excellence.
  • Develop and apply economic techniques to improve health care and population health in Scotland.
  • Make available to the health service a body of expertise in health economics.
  • Build and sustain capacity in the economics of health.

Our research is organised into four themes:

  • Workforce and Organisation of Care – examines how financial and nonfinancial incentives influence the behaviour and performance of the people and the organisations delivering care.
  • Health Behaviour – uses economics to understand health behaviour and evaluate health behaviour interventions.
  • Assessment of Technologies – conducts economic evaluations to inform NHS decisions on the adoption and withdrawal/modification of health technologies and services. We lead methodological research around the development and application of cost-benefit analysis in health economics, ensuring a person-centred approach to economic evaluations.
  • Methods of Benefit Valuation –develops and applies economic methods to help understand what people value, contributing to the aim of person-centred care.

HERU is internationally known for its research developing and applying preference elicitation methods (discrete choice experiments, time preferences and contingent valuation) and economics of the health workforce.

HERU has a wide range of training opportunities available. These are detailed at the SHE Capacity Building page.

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