Bob Erens

Associate Professor
and Deputy Director, PIRU

Room 135

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7927 2784

I have over 30 years experience of applied health and social research and policy evaluation, with a particular focus on survey and evaluation methods. Before joining LSHTM, I worked at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in the UK, where I was director of the Health Research Group and the Survey Methods Centre.


Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Health Services Research and Policy


Since 2011, I have been Deputy Director of the Department of Health-funded Policy Innovation Research Unit (PIRU). PIRU includes experts in health and social care research and evaluation methodolgy in order to improve evidence-based policy-making and its implementation across the NHS, public health and social care ( Recent PIRU projects include evaluations of the Integrated Care and Support Pioneers, the implementation of the UK's anti-microbial resistance strategy, and the Heatwave Plan for England. I am also currently involved in a project looking at improving quality in general practice in the UK. 

With colleagues from LSHTM, UCL and NatCen, I was a co-applicant on the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) from 1997-2016, the largest repeated survey on sexual behaviour in the world. As part of Natsal, I led a methodological project which compared results obtained from web surveys with those from the main Natsal CAPI/CASI survey to determine the representativeness of UK web panels and whether data collection via the web was appropriate for Natsal.

Research Area
Health care policy
Health policy
Health services research
Public health
Sexual health
Impact evaluation
Social Sciences
Social Policy
United Kingdom

Selected Publications

Using the Web to Collect Data on Sensitive Behaviours: A Study Looking at Mode Effects on the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.
Burkill, S. ; Copas, A. ; Couper, M.P. ; Clifton, S. ; Prah, P. ; Datta, J. ; Conrad, F. ; Wellings, K. ; Johnson, A.M. ; Erens, B. ;
PLoS One
Men who have sex with men in Great Britain: comparing methods and estimates from probability and convenience sample surveys.
Prah, P.; Hickson, F.; Bonell, C.; McDaid, L.M.; Johnson, A.M.; Wayal, S.; Clifton, S.; Sonnenberg, P.; Nardone, A.; Erens, B.; Copas, A.J.; Riddell, J.; Weatherburn, P.; Mercer, C.H.;
Sex Transm Infect
Methodology of the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3)
Erens, B.; Phelps, A.; Clifton, S.; Mercer, C.H.; Tanton, C.; Hussey, D.; Sonnenberg, P.; Macdowall, W.; Field, N.; Datta, J.; Mitchell, K.; Copas, A.J.; Wellings, K.; Johnson, A.M.;
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Nonprobability web surveys to measure sexual behaviors and attitudes in the general population: a comparison with a probability sample interview survey.
Erens, B. ; Couper, M.P. ; Conrad, F. ; Clifton, S. ; Tanton, C. ; Phelps, A. ; Datta, J. ; Mercer, C.H. ; Sonnenberg, P. ; Prah, P. ; Mitchell, K.R. ; Wellings, K. ; Johnson, A.M. ; Copas, A.J. ;
J Med Internet Res
Measuring sexual behaviour
Mercer, C.; McManus, S.; Erens, B.
Social measurement through social surveys: an applied approach
See all Bob Erens's Publications