Professor Tim Ensor

Professor Tim Ensor


I am Professor of International Health Systems Research at the University of Leeds and former Head of the Nuffield Centre for International Health & Development. Between 2013 and 2016 I was Director of the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences. 

I am a health economist with more than 30 years of experience in teaching, research and consultancy across a range of low and middle-income countries. I have been Principal Consultant, Health Economics at Oxford Policy Management since 2003 and before that head of the International Programme at Centre for Health Economics, University of York. I spent two years as a senior economist in the Health Economics Unit, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Bangladesh.

Most of my research and consultancy relates to health financing and links to the wider health system. This includes sources of funding, allocation, costing of services, informal health care markets and equity analysis. Recent work includes quasi-experimental evaluations of health financing policies in Cambodia, Zambia and Sierra Leone. Until 2023 I was Principal Investigator for the multi-country urban health systems CHORUS programme. I have written extensively on health financing issues in academic journals, lay publications, research papers and reports for funding agencies. I have advised many international agencies including World Bank, EU, FCDO, WHO and ADB. I am on the UK NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research Funding Committee and the Public Health research panel for Swiss Development Cooperation R4D.

Country experience: Cyprus, Nigeria, Turkey, Romania, Thailand, Vietnam, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kenya, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Serbia, Bulgaria, Nepal, India, Tajikistan, Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Timor Leste, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Research interests

Most of my research, consultancy and teaching has related to the financing of health systems in developing and transitional countries. This has included impact of different sources of funding, health accounts, the allocation of finance, costing of health services. Main areas of current research interest are:

  • Urban health including development of new service and financing models for poorer populations. See CHORUS
  • Informal health care economy – including theoretical and empirical aspects of unofficial health care payments.
  • Financing of maternal care - issues related to financing and provider payment mechanisms, sustainability of introducing skilled attendance and risk-sharing schemes.
  • Evaluations of health financing policies particularly employing econometric, quasi-experimental evaluation methods using survey and HMIS data. See for example evaluations of the impact of financing interventions in Nepal and Cambodia
  • Equity analysis of public sector subsidies – particularly in the context of sector-wide approaches, essential packages and their impact on the poor.

A related interest is to investigate the impact of essential approaches on access to risk pooling for catastrophic care. Health insurance and other sources of funding – including the equity and institutional consequences of different funding options. I have undertaken research and advisory work on health funding options including feasibility and impact of alternative financing systems, methods of geographic allocation and payment of providers.


  • BSc Economics
  • MA Development Economics
  • PhD Economics

Student education

MPH/MSc Health Economics module leader

Health financing and economics sessions for masters courses

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • International health research
  • Research at the Nuffield Centre of International Health and Development
  • Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>