Find out more about our staff.

Meet the team

Principal Investigator

Dr Jo Blanden, Principal Investigator

Jo Blanden is Reader in Economics and Research Director of the School of Economics at the University of Surrey. She joined the School of Economics at Surrey in 2005 and is a Visiting Fellow at LSE. Her research interests lie broadly in the fields of labour and family economics. In May 2016, Jo became the new Principal Investigator of the research project, 'Delivering Better for Less: Improving Productivity in the Public Services'. This study is fully funded by the Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award.

Research staff

    Nikos Chatzistamoulou, Research Fellow

    Nikos Chatzistamoulou joined the team in November 2015. His current research is in the area of competition, market structure and innovation within the public sector. This builds on his interest in the Econometric Analysis of organisations. His research seeks to explore the way market structure is related to delivery in the primary care sector and to examine the effects of competition in the context of the public sector when quality of services is taken into consideration.

    Ioannis Laliotis, Research Fellow

    Ioannis Laliotis researches the role of the workforce in public sector productivity. In particular, the impact of staffing levels and skill mix, with the main focus being on the healthcare sector. Ioannis’ paper 'Cancelled procedures in the English NHS: Evidence from the 2010 tariff reform' was published in Health Economics in February 2017 and his paper paper 'Promoting normal birth and reducing caesarean section rates: An evaluation of the Rapid Improvement Programme' is soon to be published in the same journal.

    Shimaa Elkomy, Research Fellow

    Shimaa Elkomy researches the impact of the quality of hospital leadership on healthcare outcomes in the NHS. She is also examining the effects of competition and political pressure on the quality of leadership. Her discussion papers ‘Cheap and Dirty:The effect of contracting out cleaning on cost and quality in English hospitals’ and ‘Does Leadership Matter for Healthcare Service Quality? Evidence from NHS England’ can be found in the Better for Less discussion paper series.

    Associate staff

    Zahra Murad, Associate Researcher

    As a behavioural economist, Zahra Murad is investigating the behavioural mechanisms determining productivity and motivation. Zahra has run four experimental projects on understanding and predicting worker motivation given various teamwork structures, financial and non-financial incentives and employee feedback mechanisms. Her research aims to provide policy recommendations to improve productivity in public services. Zahra became a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth in December 2017. She remains an associate of the project.

    Postgraduate research students

    Nigel Burnell, PhD Student

    Nigel Burnell completed a degree in mathematics and economics at the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Economics at the London School of Economics. He subsequently completed an MBA with Distinction through the Open University. Having worked in Financial Services, in Finance, IT and Business Coaching, and in primary care as a Practice Manager, Nigel started a PhD in September 2015. His thesis will investigate the implications of gender differences for research and teaching productivity in Higher Education.

    Professional services staff

    Sarah Bell, Project Co-ordinator

    Sarah Bell is the Project Co-ordinator for the research project 'Delivering Better for Less: Improving Productivity in the Public Services'. She joined the team in July 2016. Sarah maintains the project website and the discussion paper series. She monitors the project finances and is in regular contact with the project funder, The Leverhulme Trust, and the project Advisory Group. This includes arranging meetings of the Advisory Group with the project team at least once each year.

      Business woman and man talking

      Advisory board

      During this large scale study, our team is advised and guided by an advisory board made up of leading scholars and professionals in the field.