Professor Alan Brennan BSc (London), MSc (London), PhD (Sheffield)

The University of Sheffield
Regent Court, 30 Regent Street
Sheffield, S1 4DA

Office: 2019

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 0684
(+44) (0)114 222 0749


ORCiD: 0000-0002-1025-312X


I am Professor of Health Economics and Decision Modelling at ScHARR, University of Sheffield, England.

I studied for BSc Mathematics at Imperial College London and then MSc Operational Research at the London School of Economics before joining the NHS to work in and then lead the Trent Operational Research Unit. Since 1994 I have been leading the modelling team at ScHARR.

I lead a large group of around 35 academic staff, undertaking methodological and applied research and consultancy using mathematical modelling in health and healthcare.

I have been developing and applying modelling in support of healthcare decision-making nationally and internationally, across a large range of diseases, interventions, service planning and policy issues for over 25 years. This has included building and developing the team of modelling researchers from just 4 in the late 1990s to over 30 as of 2015.

I am a regular expert on several NICE Scientific Advice Programme panels, providing input to the design of phase III studies from an economic/NICE perspective, usually for global pharmaceutical and device manufacturers.

Research interests

My fundamental interest is in mathematical modelling approaches to inform decision making in health and healthcare.

I am currently principal investigator or co-investigator involved in over 19 research programmes and projects. Current government / national policy research.

Alcohol Policy
I have been involved in modelling alcohol behaviours and policy since 2008, when we began a programme of research for UK research bodies and policy makers. With Prof Meier, we have developed the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, a leading international centre for alcohol policy and epidemiological modelling research. Our work has influenced government policy on minimum unit pricing for alcohol; shaping and informing policy in UK, Scotland, Canada, Wales, EU Commission, and Republic of Ireland.

Public Health - Health Economics and Decision Modelling
I am co-applicant (Health Economics and Decision Modelling leader) on large research grants for the NIHR School of Public health research and the ESRC funded UK centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.

I have a wider portfolio of public health work including work around screening and prevention of diabetes, linking smoking and alcohol behaviours and developing a joint smoking and alcohol policy analysis model, encouraging behaviours in physical activity and general lifestyle risk reductions. This entire programme relates to the central methodological interest which is in developing and using novel mathematical modelling approaches to support and inform decision making around health and healthcare for international impact.

Health Technology Assessment
I have been heavily involved in health technology assessment and health economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals and interventions for both government bodies in the UK e.g NICE and internationally, and also with the pharmaceutical industry.

I direct a programme of research in Health Economic Modelling / Health Technology Assessment which involves a large team of modelling staff and their collaborators. We are recognized as a leading national and international centre for HTA modelling research. I have been involved in direct leadership of over 30 research projects within the last 5 years, working closely with ScHARR-TAG and DSU.

Teaching Interests

I teach and supervise on Cost-effectiveness Modelling for International HTA on the part-time distance learning Certificate/Diploma/Masters course in International Health Technology Assessment, Pricing & Reimbursement, targeted at people working in international pharmaceutical and device manufacturer companies or international reimbursement authorities. For details see MSc IHTAP&R webpages.

I also teach and supervise Masters level dissertation students on the MSc Health Economics and Decision Modelling. I am the former Course Director for this course, which aims to develop professional level health economist modellers, people who can design and build models and other health economic evaluation projects in a lead role as soon as they graduate from the course.

PhD Supervision

I supervise PhD students in Health economics and Decision Modelling. Syed Salleh Abdul Rahman is working on simulation based Resource Modelling in Health Technology Assessment. I also supervise Sarah Bates, Laura Flight and Ginny Musto. 

I was also lead supervisor for the recently completed NIHR Fellowship PhD project of Paul Tappenden on Whole Systems Modelling for Bowel Cancer.

Please email me at if you would like to consider a PhD programme, and go to the ScHARR PhD pages for more information.

Professional activities

I am a member of SMDM, ISPOR, HTAi, iHEA, HESG, Operational Research Society, MASHnet Advisory Circle and Institute of Mathematics and Applications.

I am currently a co-editor for the journal Value in Health.

Current Projects

  • NIHR: School for Public Health Research. SfPHR: ScHARR fund. 2012-2015.
  • MRC. Time to change! RCT and multi behaviours economic modelling of U@Uni intervention with University freshers. 2012-2014.
  • MRC. Interdisciplinary Alcohol Policy Research Programme. 2010-14.
  • European Commission: FP7-Co-operation health. ODHIN: Optimizing delivery of health care intervention (Screening and Brief Interventions for Alcohol). 2011-14.
  • NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research. CONMAN – RCT of £ incentives for drug users to take Hep B vaccine. 2011-2013 ext.
  • NIHR: School for Public Health Research. SfPHR School wide programme on Alcohol WP6: Evidence for Local Authorities. 2013-2016.
  • ESRC. UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. 2013-2018.
  • NIHR Programme Grant. Type 1 Diabetes – DAFNE. 2007-12 extn.
  • Diabetes UK. Kick-Off Trial (Adolescent Diabetes Education) 2008-12 extn.
  • NIHR CLAHRC. Health economics in Type 1 (WICKED) and type 2 diabetes. 2011-13.
  • HTA. Modelling alternative screening tests for Type 2 Diabetes. 2012-13.
  • NIHR / DH HTA programme. REPOSE – RCT Insulin Pumps vs Education in Type 12 Diabetes. 2012-2016.
  • NIHR: School for Public Health Research. SfPHR: Modelling Diabetes Prevention. 2012-2014.
  • South Yorkshire Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (SY-CLAHRC). Cost effectiveness of IAPT in CLAHRC. 2012 -2013.
  • Technology Strategy Board Assisted Living Innovation Platform. Health economic modelling of novel / developing technologies. 2010-2013.
  • NIHR Programme Grant. Elderly Breast Cancer – modelling and observational study. 2012-2016.
  • NICE Technology Appraisal. Rheumatoid Arthritis Biologics Appraisal. 2013.
  • NIHR Post-Doc Award. Bayesian methods work incl. eliciting potential scale of bias/errors in models. 2012-2015.
  • ESRC New Research Leaders award. Subgroup trends in alcohol consumption and Agent Based Modelling. 2012-2014.

Extended list of publications

Journal articles