Professor of International Health Financing and Health Systems

Division: Institute for Global Health and Development

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Professor Sophie Witter (BA, MA, PhD) is a Professor of International Health Financing and Health Systems in the Institute for Global Health and Development. She is also a member of the Institute for Global Health and Development Research Centre.

  • Overview
  • Research Interests
  • Research Publications
  • Funded Projects
  • Teaching & Learning

Sophie Witter is a health economist specialising in health financing policy and health systems research in low and middle income countries. She has 25 years experience in these areas, working first in a development agencies and then in the universities of York, Aberdeen and QMU Edinburgh.

Sophie is currently a Professor at IGHD working on health systems research and the ReBUILD programme in particular (funded by DFID, and focussing on health systems development in post-conflict areas, 2011-17). She has extensive experience of health financing research, using mixed methods, as well as providing technical advisory services for Ministries of Health and development partners and teaching at post-graduate level.

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

Sophie is leading research into health worker incentives and the evolution of HRH policy post-conflict, within the ReBUILD programme.

She is also working on a number of other specific research projects, including a systematic review for WHO of paying for performance and family planning, developing guidance for national health financing strategies (with WHO), health labour markets studies in Timor Leste (World Bank), evaluating the impact of insurance for displaced populations in Darfur (World Bank), and leading an evaluation of the Free Health Care Initiative in Sierra Leone (DFID), as well as demand-driven evaluation programmes (DFID).

Research Grants & Contracts Funding:

  • ReBUILD - Research for building pro-poor health systems during the recovery from conflict.      

The ReBUILD Consortium is an international research partnership working for improved access of the poor to effective health care and reduced health costs burdens, through the production and uptake of a coherent body of high quality, policy-relevant new research on health systems financing and human resources for health in post-conflict countries. ReBUILD is led in the UK by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, working with partner research organisations in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe. ReBUILD is funded by the UK Department for International Development.

  • Systems resilience in UNRWA health provision to Palestine refugees displaced by the Syria crisis

This research will focus on the key vulnerabilities of UNRWA health systems in the face of disruptions associated with the displacement of Palestine refugees registered in Syria (PRS).

This research project is funded by Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme which aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises. Visit  for more information.

The R2HC programme is funded equally by the Wellcome Trust and DFID, with Elrha overseeing the programme’s execution and management.

Sophie teaches on health financing, human resource for health, performance-based financing, and complex evaluation approaches.


Sophie welcomes applications from those interested in pursuing a PhD in health systems research, especially in: health system reforms, health financing, and human resources for health.