Economics and Regulation in Translational Science


Examining the economic and regulatory challenges of developing, implementing and sustaining innovations

Health care systems around the world are under pressure to deliver health benefits while improving quality and productivity and reducing waste. Expectations of health care innovations are typically high. However, health systems may find it difficult to balance investment and disinvestment, while demonstrating value (both financial and as benefits for patients), especially when an innovation in one part of the system generates benefits that accrue in a different part. While standard economic tools are useful for making broad policy and strategic decisions, translational health economics requires additional tools based on service-level data to inform local investment, disinvestment and monitoring decisions at the provider level.

In this module, we will introduce economic principles and tools and apply them to case studies. You will consider issues such as the benefits and disadvantages of an innovation across a system, how investment and disinvestment decisions are informed at service level, and the use of tools to assess whether and when an innovation is likely to generate value.

Course Aims

On completion of this module, we expect our students to be able to:

  • Discuss the different ways that ‘value’ might be defined and measured throughout the innovation pipeline – including return on investment, meaningful benefits for patients and improved system efficiency

  • Consider the strengths and limitations of different ways of measuring the benefits and drawbacks of an innovation

  • Differentiate the roles of regulators, health technology assessment bodies, providers and payers in the route(s) to market and post-market access, and how their roles complement the critical roles of patients and health care professionals

Research methods and techniques taught in this module:

  • Tools for measuring the value of innovations to patients (e.g. patient-relevant outcome measures)

  • Economic tools for health technology assessment (e.g. cost-effectiveness analysis using quality-adjusted life years, budget impact analysis)

  • Economic tools for local investment decisions (e.g. activity-based costing, capital budgeting, discounting, net present values vs payback, project analysis techniques)

  • Regulatory tools intended to accelerate the translation of innovations into practice (e.g. value proposition, early access schemes and adaptive pathways)

Examples of case studies to be discussed in this module:

  • Near-patient testing in primary health care

  • Scaling up HIV treatments in sub-Saharan Africa

  • New treatments for single-gene disorders (e.g. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy)

  • Gene therapies - clinical and commercial perspectives

Programme details

The first weeks of this module is spent working on introductory activities using a Virtual Learning Environment, a week is then spent in Oxford for face-to-face teaching and group work (this takes place on the dates to be confirmed), there are then a series of extended Post-Oxford activities (delivered through the VLE) over the following 4-6 weeks which are designed to support you in the preparation and delivery of the practical elements of your assignment. You will be required to submit your written assignment electronically (usually on a Tuesday at 14:00 UK Local Time).


Students enrolled on MSc in Translational Health Sciences: £2000.00 from 2020/21. Short Course in Health Sciences: tbc


Details of funding opportunities, including grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships and benefit information are available on our financial assistance page.


Dr Stuart Faulkner

Dr Stuart Faulkner is the Programme and Operations Manager at the Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI), Oxford

Dr Yaling Yang

Dr Yaling Yang is a Senior Researcher in Health Economics at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on performance in a group presentation and submission of a written assignment which should not exceed 4,000 words.


This course is part of the MSc in Translational Health Sciences.  Applications for this course can be made via the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website.  This website includes further information about this course and a guide to applying

This course will also be open to students to take as an accredited short course in health sciences.  Please contact to register your interest in the course. 

Academic Credit

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. Please contact us for more details.

Please contact if you have any questions.



Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

Please ensure that you have access to a computer that meets the specifications detailed on our technical support page.