Researcher Spotlight: Aileen Neilson


Aileen joined Edinburgh University’s Usher Institute and Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit (ECTU) as a Senior Health Economist in 2018.  Aileen’s current role includes leading and developing health economics research in The University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian, contributing to the development of new methods and techniques in health economics through methodology research embedded within applied studies e.g. Randomised Control Trials and other study design. She has experience in conducting and managing health outcomes research and economic evaluation studies in the UK NHS setting and other European countries.

She holds a BSc in Science with Management Studies (Napier University, Edinburgh) and an MSc in Operational Research (Strathclyde University, Glasgow). Prior to joining ECTU Aileen worked as a Research Fellow with the Health Economics Research Unit, Aberdeen University (HERU) for 5 years. She has worked in various clinical areas including oncology (prevention/screening/detection/treatment), orthopaedics and trauma surgery, intensive care, stroke, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and chronic pain. She has 25 years of prior research experience, in academia (e.g. Universities of Nottingham, Dundee, St Andrews, York, Aberdeen), the NHS (Lothian – Primary and Community Care Division) and in health care consultancy roles (e.g. HealthEcon AG, Basel, Switzerland, and the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway incorporated in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health as of 1 January 2016).

Research Interests

Aileen’s research interests are broad, spanning both developing and applying trial- and model-based economic evaluation methods of different interventions/technologies. She is particularly interested in economic evaluations of public health interventions, and research that focuses on the (improved) use of routine administrative data for cost and outcomes measurement in undertaking heath economics analyses/ economic evaluation studies.

Current Projects




Aileen is currently the course organiser for the “Introduction to health economics and resource allocation” elective course on the Masters in Public Healtj (on-campus) which ran for the first time in 2018/19 and is currently running for 2019/20. Aileen also teaches alongside our Research Fellow, Elizabeth Lemmon, on the new undergraduate module on Health Economics which is being offered for the first time in the School of Economics. She also supervises masters’ dissertation projects. Aileen has also taught health economics courses on various masters and undergraduate programs at other academic institutions (online and on-campus).

Aileen has also been a regular presenter on a training course providing an introduction to the identification, appraisal and application of economic evaluation for policy-making in public health (run by HERU in Aberdeen and funded by the Health Economics Network for Scotland).

Aileen is also the Edinburgh representative for the new Scottish Health Economics group.


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