Bob Erens

Associate Professor
and Deputy Director, PIRU

Room 135

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7927 2784

I have over 35 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 Unit.

At NatCen, I worked on a wide range of topics, and was involved in a number of challenging and innovative studies, including the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes & Lifestyles, the first survey on the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling in Britain, a survey on the prevalence of elder abuse in England, and a study on the diet of low income households. For several years, I directed both the Health Survey for England and the National Patient Experience Survey programme.

I am currently Deputy Director of the Department of Health & Social Care funded Policy Innovation & Evaluation Research Unit (PIRU), a collaboration between LSHTM, LSE and Imperial College. I am a Trustee of the Social Research Association and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


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


My research interests are in the rigorous evaluation of policy pilots and other health initiatives in England, with a particular emphasis on the use of surveys within policy evaluation.  

My current PIRU projects include evaluations of the Integrated Care and Support Pioneers and the Heatwave Plan for England, along with a study looking at the financing of social care for older people. I am also involved in a project looking at improving quality in general practice in the UK. 

I maintain a strong interest in survey methodology, and where possible design methodological experiments into the surveys being used in our evaluations.

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

Selected Publications

Sexual identity, attraction and behaviour in Britain: The implications of using different dimensions of sexual orientation to estimate the size of sexual minority populations and inform public health interventions.
Geary, R.S. ; Tanton, C. ; Erens, B. ; Clifton, S. ; Prah, P. ; Wellings, K. ; Mitchell, K.R. ; Datta, J. ; Gravningen, K. ; Fuller, E. ; Johnson, A.M. ; Sonnenberg, P. ; Mercer, C.H. ;
PLoS One
Early findings from the evaluation of the Integrated Care and Support Pioneers in England
Erens, B.; Wistow, G.; Mounier-Jack, S.; Douglas, N.; Manacorda, T.; Durand, M.A.; Mays, N.
Journal of Integrated Care
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