Prof John Forbes

Professor of Health Economics

Keywords: Health Economics Randomised Controlled Trials Precision Health

John Forbes is Professor of Health Economics at the University of Limerick. Born and educated in California, he studied economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his MSc at the University of York and PhD at the University of Glasgow.

John's research interests range from the analysis of treatment effects in health and health care to the microeconometric analysis of health data. He has a particular interest in how economic analysis can be used alongside clinical trials and other fair tests of innovations in health care. He has published more than 120 research articles in leading journals and his research sponsors include the Health Research Board (Dublin), the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, the Health Technology Assessment Programme, the Scottish Executive, major medical charities and the European Union. 

Current projects:

Health Research Board. The Irish Stroke Clinical Trials Network. With Peter Kelly, Leslie Daly, Martin O’Donnell and David Williams. June 2015 to May 2020 (€2,499,417).

The Scottish Government. Neurointervention and clot retrieval. With Martin Dennis. June 2015 to December 2015.  (£10,000).

University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School – Strategic Research Funding Round 3. Cost effectiveness of implementing enhanced stroke services in Ireland and Scotland. June 2015 to December 2015.  (€20,000).

National Institute for Health Research, UK. A multicentre randomised trial to establish the effect(s) of routine administration of Fluoxetine in patients with a recent stroke (FOCUS Trial). With Gillian Mead, Martin Dennis,  Stephanie Lewis, Allan House, Maree Hackett, Graeme Hankey, Malcolm Macleod, Craig Anderson, Daniel Morales and Frank Sullivan.  June 2014 to July 2018 (£2,329,199).

University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School - Strategic Research Funding Round 2. Characterising surgeons’ perceptions of ambiguity about indications for surgery. January 2014 to December 2015 (€20,000).

Health Research Board – Research Leaders Award. Economics of Personalised Health. August 2013 to July 2018 (€1,461,275).

National Institute for Health Research. European study of therapeutic hypothermia (32-35°C) for intracranial pressure reduction after traumatic brain injury (Eurotherm3235Trial). With Peter Andrews, Gordon Murray, Bridget Harris, Hiren Patel and Owen Moseley.
October 2012 to March 2018 (£1,778,833).

Scottish Government, Chief Scientist Office. The Scottish computed tomography of the heart study: role of multidetector computed tomography in the diagnosis and management of patients attending a rapid access chest pain clinic (SCOT-HEART). With David Newby, Andrew Flapan, Allister Hargreaves, Stephen Leslie, Steff Lewis, Graham McKillop, Scott McLean, John Reid, James Spratt, Neal Uren. August 2010 to July 2015. (£602,834).


  • Walsh TS, Salisbury LG, Merriweather JL, Boyd JA, Griffith DM, Huby G, Kean S, Mackenzie SJ, Krishan A, Lewis SC, Murray GD, Forbes JF, Smith J, Rattray JE, Hull AM, Ramsay P; RECOVER Investigators. Increased Hospital-Based Physical Rehabilitation and Information Provision After Intensive Care Unit Discharge: The RECOVER Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Apr 13.

  • Newby D, Williams M, Hunter A, Pawade T, Shah A, Flapan A, Forbes J, Hargreaves A, Leslie S, Lewis S, McKillop G, McLean S, Reid J, Spratt J, Uren N. CT coronary angiography in patients with suspected angina due to coronary heart disease (SCOT-HEART): an open-label, parallel-group, multicentre trial. Lancet 2015 Mar 14.

  • CLOTS (Clots in Legs Or sTockings after Stroke) Trials Collaboration. Effect of intermittent pneumatic compression on disability, living circumstances, quality of life, and hospital costs after stroke: secondary analyses from CLOTS 3, a randomised trial. Lancet Neurology. 2014 Dec;13(12):1186-1192.

  • Bhopal RS, Douglas A, Wallia S, Forbes JF, Lean MEJ, Gill J, McKnight JA, Sattar N, Sheikh A,Wild SH, Tuomilehto J, Sharma A, Bhopal A, Smith JBE, Butcher I, Murray GD. Effect of a lifestyle intervention on weight change in south Asian individuals in the UK at high risk of type 2 diabetes: a family-cluster, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014 Mar;2(3):218-27.

  • Dennis M, Sandercock P, Reid J, Graham C, Forbes J, Murray G, on behalf of The CLOTS Trials Collaboration. Effectiveness of intermittent pneumatic compression in reduction of risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients who have had a stroke (CLOTS 3): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 2013 Aug 10;382(9891):506.

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