Dr Derek Ward MPH MD FFPH

Dr Derek Ward

Institute of Applied Health Research
Clinical Senior Lecturer in Public Health

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 7660
+44 (0)121 414 2269
Public Health, Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Institute of Applied Health Research
Public Health Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Derek Ward was formerly Co-Director of the NIHR Horizon Scanning Research & Intelligence Centre, a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded research programme which aims to provide policy-makers with advance notice of selected new and emerging health technologies that might require evaluation, consideration of clinical and cost impact, or modification of clinical guidance prior to launch on the NHS. 

In addition, he is co-coordinator of the ‘Principles of Health Technology Assessment’ module of the MPH degree course and an examiner for the Faculty of Public Health Part A MFPH.


  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health 2007
  • Member of the Faculty of Public Health 2004
  • MD, University of Bristol, 2002
  • MPH, University of Birmingham, 2001
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, MRCP(UK), 1996
  • MBChB, University of Bristol, 1993
  • BSc (Hons) in Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Bristol, 1990


Derek Ward qualified from the University of Bristol in 1993 and worked in a number of junior hospital posts in Stoke-on-Trent, Bristol, and Birmingham, before completing his MRCP(UK) in 1996. Following this, he took up a research post in environmental epidemiology based at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, working on a large air pollution panel study that led to a number of publications and his MD in 2002.

After a brief period as a Registrar in General Practice, Derek began his Public Health training in the West Midlands in 1999. During this time, he rotated through general public health and specialist health protection posts in Birmingham, Worcester, the Regional Public Health Laboratory, Regional Communicable Disease Surveillance Unit, and the HPA Centre for Infections in Colindale, London. His training included time at the University of Birmingham, where his placement included work on health technology assessments, including a systematic review of behavioural interventions to reduce sexually transmitted infections, and a collaboration with the National Prescribing Centre on new drug monographs.

Derek was appointed as a Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for the Health Protection Agency West Midlands in 2005, where he took on lead roles for healthcare acquired infections and sexual health and HIV.  During this time, he published research on the surveillance of sexually transmitted infections, response to a city-wide outbreak of syphilis, and acted as a clinical expert to the West Midlands Health Technology Assessment Collaboration.

In January 2010, Derek was appointed Deputy Director of the NIHR Horizon Scanning Research & Intelligence Centre, formerly NIHR Horizon Scanning Centre, taking the lead for new and emerging pharmaceuticals. Since the re-awarding of the Department of Health's horizon scanning contract in 2012, Derek was the unit Co-Director until 2017.


Teaching Programmes



Health Services Research; Evidence Based Health Care; Innovation; Horizon Scanning; Diffusion and Uptake of New Health Technologies; New Pharmaceuticals; Health Technology Assessment; Communicable Disease Control; Surveillance; Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV


Derek Ward’s current research interests include the development, marketing, diffusion, and uptake of new technologies; the evaluation of horizon scanning methods, processes, and outputs; future horizons; and international activities in the field.

He is involved in projects to explore the relationship between burden of disease and innovation in health technologies (pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, and procedures) in developed world health systems; identifying and characterising trends in pharmaceutical innovation rates and cost inflation across different disease areas; the accuracy of methods used to predict the future of health services; the development and commercialisation of new point of care tests; and the changing evidence requirements for the introduction of new technologies.


Health technology assessment
Derek previously undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of behavioural interventions in reducing STIs in genitourinary medicine clinic patients on behalf of the West Midlands Health Technology Assessment Collaboration (WMHTAC), and acted as clinical adviser to WMHTAC project considering the role of probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhoea. He also contributed to the monograph series ‘New Drugs in Clinical Development’ produced by the National Prescribing Centre, Liverpool.

Health Protection
Sexually transmitted infections and HIV:
Derek undertook research on patterns of sexually transmitted infection in older age groups, patterns of chlamydia testing and results using routine surveillance and laboratory data, and used epidemiological methods to describe the evolution and subsequent control of a syphilis outbreak in the UK.

Environmental epidemiology:
Derek also conducted a two-year project recruiting 162 children from five primary schools across Birmingham and Sandwell into an air pollution panel study. This compared day to day changes in the children’s’ respiratory health over twelve weeks with levels of particulate and gaseous pollutants and specific acid and anion species using a time series multilevel modelling approach.

Other activities

  • Examiner for Membership of the Faculty of Public Health (MFPH) Part A, since October 2010.
  • Honorary Public Health Academic Consultant with Public Health England (from November 2012).

Previously Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with the Health Protection Agency West Midlands East Health Protection Unit, based in Birmingham (March 2005 to December 2009).


L Doos, D Ward, A Stevens, C Packer. Accuracy of pharmaceutical company licensing predictions: projected versus actual licensing dates. Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research. Article first published online: 22 March 2016. doi: 10.1111/jphs.12132

LC Dixon, DJ Ward, J Smith, S Holmes, R Mahadeva. New and emerging technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A horizon scanning review. Chronic Respiratory Disease advance online publication 11 March 2016; doi: 10.1177/1479972316636994

L Doos, C Packer, D Ward, S Simpson, A Stevens. Past speculations of the future: a review of the methods used for forecasting emerging health technologies. BMJ Open; 2016;6:e010479. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010479

DJ Ward, E Hammond, L Linden-Phillips, AJ Stevens. Trends in clinical development timeframes for antiviral drugs launched in the UK, 1981–2014: a retrospective observational study. BMJ Open 2015; 5:e009333. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-00933

J Smith, D Ward, M Michaelides, AT Moore, S Simpson. New and emerging technologies for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases: a horizon scanning review. Eye 2015; 29: 1131-40. doi:10.1038/eye.2015.115

Ward DJ, Slade A, Genus T, Martino OI, Stevens AJ. How innovative are new drugs launched in the UK? A retrospective study of new drugs listed in the British National Formulary (BNF) 2001–2012. BMJ Open 2014; 4:e006235. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006235

Derek Ward, Orsolina Martino, Claire Packer, Sue Simpson, Andrew Stevens. Burden of disease, research funding and innovation in the UK: Do new health technologies reflect research inputs and need? Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 2013;18(Suppl. 1):7-13 

DJ Ward, OI Martino, S Simpson, AJ Stevens. Decline in new drug launches: myth or reality? Retrospective observational study using 30 years of data from the UK. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002088. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002088 

OI Martino, DJ Ward, C Packer, S Simpson, A Stevens. Innovation and burden of disease: retrospective observational study of new and emerging health technologies reported by the EuroScan network from 2000 to 2009. Value in Health 2012; 15: 376-380.

A Tayo, J Ellis, L Linden Phillips, S Simpson, DJ Ward. Emerging point of care tests for influenza: innovation or status quo. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 2011; 2012 6(4): 291–298.