Professor Robert West

Professor Robert West


Robert West is Professor of Biostatistics and is a chartered statistician, mathematician and scientist. He has research interests in the application of statistics to applied health research. In particular he specialises in the use of observational data – including routine NHS data, with its additional challenges and benefits – to support health research. Such data involves handling large datasets with complex structures where issues due to missing data and causal inference must be approached with caution.

His teaching activity is focused on the training of PhD students who are undertaking research projects in breast cancer, cardiology, stroke rehabilitation, ageing and telehealth. He has completed terms on an NHS Research Ethics Committee and an international funding board and now serves on the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research funding board.

Current and previous roles

2010–present: Professor of Biostatistics, University of Leeds

2002–2010: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader in Health Statistics, University of Leeds

2000–2002: Senior Research Fellow, University of Leeds

1998–1999: Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Current research interests

Primary focus is the use of modern statistical methods for applied health research. Being application driven, research cannot concentrate on any one method: answering research questions in the most efficient manner takes priority. Common intriguing challenges include pragmatic model selection, nonlinearity and handling of missing data issues such as the biases that might arise due to attrition in longitudinal studies.

The vast majority of the work is undertaken with observational studies and all of the associated challenges rather than with designed studies such as randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This reflects the needs of colleagues seeking evidence from large existing datasets, from routine data, from cohort studies, or exploring research ideas before designing an RCT.

Social network analysis is of considerable interest as it can be used in applied health research.

Professor West has several current and completed PhD and MD students

Professional activities

Currrent member HS&DR prioritisation committee, HRB CDA panel, previously member NIHR Public Health Research Board, Research Council of Norway International Grants Committee.


  • BSc
  • MSc
  • DPhil
  • ARCS
  • CStat CMath CSci FIMA

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences

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>