Professor Richard Lilford, CBE FMedSci, DSc (hon), PhD, FRCOG, FRCP, FFPH, FRCGP (hon)

Professor Richard Lilford

Institute of Applied Health Research
Director of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Centre West Midlands (ARC WM)

Contact details

Room 107, 1st floor, Murray Learning Centre
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Richard Lilford has pursued a successful career in medicine for over 40 years, specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology and more recently, health service research. He has research methodological expertise in the evaluation of complex interventions and prospective health economic evaluations of service delivery interventions. He has designed a framework for the evaluation of complex interventions that draws a crucial distinction between targeted and generic service interventions and is also interested in Bayesian statistics, medical ethics, clinical trials, step-wedge cluster trials, and multiple-indication reviews. He is also invested in global health research, including health and sanitation in low and middle-income countries, treatment and prevention of leprosy and Buruli ulcers, and improving health in slums.

Richard is also Director of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West Midlands (ARC WM), NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Improving Health in Slums, Director of NIHR RIGHT: Transforming the Treatment and Prevention of Leprosy and Buruli ulcers in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and Co-director of (NIHR) Midlands Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC).  He has published over 400 original research papers and is an investigator on over £35 million worth of government, industry and charity sponsored research grants. In 2018 he was awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to health research.

NIHR RIGHT Leprosy project overview
NIHR global health research in severe stigmatising skin diseases


  • Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (FRCGP) 2019
  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health (FFPH) 2003
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) 1997
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG) 1996
  • Membership of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (MFPHM) 1995 
  • PhD in Medicine July 1984
  • Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) 1981
  • Member, Royal College of Gynaecologists (MRCOG) 1979
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB BCh) 1973


Born in Cape Town and educated in Johannesburg, Professor Richard Lilford worked in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Cape Town, before moving to the UK. Eventually he become Head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Leeds where he worked for over ten years. He then spent five years as a senior civil servant before moving into academia at the University of Birmingham in 2001, where he had a number of roles including Head of School of Health and Population Sciences, and Vice-Dean for Applied Health Research. In 2014 he moved to a new role as Pro Dean of Research at Warwick Medical School, before returning to Birmingham in late 2019.

Richard is currently Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Centre West Midlands (ARC WM) and the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Improving Health in Slums, Director of NIHR RIGHT: Transforming the Treatment and Prevention of Leprosy and Buruli ulcers in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and Co-director of (NIHR) Midlands Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC).  He has published over 400 original research papers, and numerous articles, editorials, chapters and books, and has been profiled in both the BMJ (2016;354:i3776) and Lancet (2017;389(i10068):496). His research interests include the methodology of clinical trials, patient safety, service delivery research, and global health. Richard is member of a number of committees and external bodies, including the What Works Trial Advice Panel for the UK Government Cabinet Office; the NIHR Global Health Research Centre Funding Committee; and the MRC Global Health Faculty of Experts. Successful recent NIHR funded grants Richard has led on include the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre, the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Improving Health in Slums, and the NIHR RIGHT Transforming the Treatment and Prevention of Leprosy and Buruli ulcers in Low and Middle Income countries programme.

Married to a former General Practitioner, father to three children and grandfather to seven, Richard is also a keen tennis player.


Teaching Programmes

  • Teaching medical students – whole class lectures on Safety and Quality in Health Care and Health Economics.
  • Teacher on the Mini-Medical School course.


  • Global health (especially low- and middle-income countries)
  • Health Service research
  • Research Methods – Bayesian
  • Decision analysis
  • Health economics (especially service delivery)
  • Clinical trials
  • Evidence based medicine

Other activities

Indicators of Esteem:

  • Spinoza Chair, University of Amsterdam. 1996
  • Thomas Chalmers Bronze Medal. Cochrane Collaboration Colloquium. 1999
  • Honorary Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2005-2012
  • Doctor of Science (Hon) University of Keele. 2014 –
  • NIHR Senior Investigator Emeritus Status. 2015 –
  • Honorary Professor, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. 2015 - 
  • National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator Award. 2008-2011, 2012-2015
  • ACCEA, A Plus Distinction award 2003. Renewed 2007 and 2013. Gold Award 2018.
  • Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci, July 2019) 
  • Honorary Professor, University of Warwick. 2008-13, 2019 –


Recent publications


Scandrett, K, Lilford, R, Nepogodiev, D, Katikireddi, SV, Davies, J, Tabiri, S & Watson, SI 2024, 'Predicting the effects of introducing an emergency transport system in low-income and middle-income countries: a spatial-epidemiological modelling study', BMJ Public Health, vol. 2, no. 1, e000321.

Weir, CJ, Adamestam, I, Sharp, R, Ennis, H, Heed, A, Williams, R, Cresswell, K, Dogar, O, Pontefract, S, Coleman, J, Lilford, R, Watson, N, Slee, A, Chuter, A, Beggs, J, Slight, S, Mason, J, Yardley, L & Sheikh, A 2023, 'A complex ePrescribing-based Anti-Microbial Stewardship (ePAMS+) intervention for hospitals combining technological and behavioural components: protocol for a feasibility trial', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 18.

Darlong, J, Govindasamy, K, Ilozumba, O, Choudhury, S, Shrivastva, A, Griffiths, F, Watson, S, Sartori, J & Lilford, R 2023, 'An evaluation protocol of ‘Replicability Model’ project for detection and treatment of leprosy and related disability in Chhattisgarh, India', PLoS ONE, vol. 18, no. 10, e0275763.

Napit, IB, Shrestha, D, Neupane, K, Adhikari, A, Dhital, R, Koirala, R, Gopali, L, Ilozumba, O, Gill, P, Watson, S, Choudhury, S & Lilford, R 2023, 'Autologous blood products: Leucocyte and Platelets Rich Fibrin (L-PRF) and Platelets Rich Plasma (PRP) gel to promote cutaneous ulcer healing – a systematic review', BMJ open, vol. 2023, no. 13, e073209.

Quinn, L, Ahmed, T, Falk, H, Altamirano, AM, Muganza, A, Nakarmi, K, Nawar, A, Peck, M, Man Rai, S, Sartori, J, Vana, LPM, Wabwire, B, Moiemen, N & Lilford, R 2023, 'Burn admissions across low- and middle- income countries: a repeated cross-sectional survey', Journal of Burn Care and Research, vol. 44, no. 2, irac096, pp. 320–328.

Al-Khudairy, L, Akram, Y, Watson, SI, Kudrna, L, Hofman, J, Nightingale, M, Alidu, L, Rudge, A, Rawdin, C, Ghosh, I, Mason, F, Perera, C, Wright, J, Boachie, J, Hemming, K, Vlaev, I, Russell, S & Lilford, RJ 2023, 'Evaluation of an organisational-level monetary incentive to promote the health and wellbeing of workers in small and medium-sized enterprises: a mixed-methods cluster randomised controlled trial', PLOS Global Public Health, vol. 3, no. 7, e0001381.

GlobalSurg Collaborative and NIHR Global Health Unit on Global Surgery 2023, 'Impact of malnutrition on early outcomes after cancer surgery: an international, multicentre, prospective cohort study', The Lancet Global Health, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. e341-e349.

Choudhury, S, Ilozumba, O, Darlong, J, Govindasamy, K, Tsaku, PA, Udo, S, Shrestha, D, Napit, IB, Ugwu, L, Meka, A, Sartori, J, Griffiths, F & Lilford, RJ 2023, 'Investigating the sustainability of self-help programmes in the context of leprosy and the work of leprosy missions in Nigeria, Nepal and India: a qualitative study protocol', BMJ open, vol. 13, no. 5, e070604.

Osuh, ME, Oke, GA, Lilford, RJ, Osuh, JI, Lawal, FB, Gbadebo, SO, Owoaje, E, Omigbodun, A, Adedokun, B, Chen, Y-F & Harris, B 2023, 'Oral health in an urban slum, Nigeria: residents’ perceptions, practices and care-seeking experiences', BMC oral health, vol. 23, no. 1, 657.

WIC Consortium 2023, 'Pathways to care in first-episode psychosis in low-resource settings: Implications for policy and practice', Asian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 81, 103463.

Conlan, C, Cunningham, T, Watson, S, Madan, J, Sfyridis, A, Sartori, J, Ferhatosmanoglu, H & Lilford, R 2023, 'Perceived quality of care and choice of healthcare provider in informal settlements', PLOS Global Public Health, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. e0001281.


Hamilton, F, Arnold, D & Lilford, R 2023, 'Bad research is not all bad', Trials, vol. 24, no. 1, 680.


Kudrna, L, Lilford, R, Adebajo, A & Kumar, K 2024, 'Peer review of funding applications for health research in ethnic minority groups must improve', BMJ, vol. 384, q274. <>

Review article

Napit, IB, Shrestha, D, Choudhury, S, Gkini, E, Ilozumba, O, Gill, P, Bishop, J, Neupane, K, Adhikari, A, Sartori, J, Watson, SI & Lilford, R 2024, 'A randomised Trial of Autologous Blood products, leukocyte and platelet-rich fibrin (L-PRF), to promote ulcer healing in LEprosy: The TABLE trial', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 18, no. 5, e0012088.

Udo, S, Ogbu Sunday, P, Alumbugu Tsaku, P, Olaoluwa Oladejo, I, Meka, A, Chinonso Ugwu, L, Ajisola, M, Akinyemi, J, Oladejo, A, Omigbodun, A, Choudhury, SM, Sartori, J, Ilozumba, O, Watson, S & Lilford, R 2024, 'Raw, Unadulterated African Honey for Ulcer Healing in Leprosy: Protocol for the Honey Experiment on Leprosy Ulcer (HELP) Randomized Controlled Trial', JMIRx Med, vol. 5, e50970.

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