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 Division at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Sophie is also a member of the Institute for Global Health and Development Research Centre.

Sophie Witter is a health economist specialising in health financing policy and health systems research in low and middle income countries. She has 30 years experience in these areas, working first in development agencies and then in the universities of York, Aberdeen and QMU Edinburgh.

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

Professional Social Media:

Sophie is a Professor at IGHD, leading the health systems cluster and working on a number of programmes focused on health systems in low and middle income, including fragile, settings. She has extensive experience of health financing and human resources research, using mixed methods and leading complex evaluations, as well as providing technical advisory services for Ministries of Health and development partners, and teaching at post-graduate level.

Active research interests

Health systems research, health financing, human resources for health, health worker incentives and labour markets, performance-based financing, resilience of health systems, financial barriers, health systems in fragile and conflict-affected settings, gender equitable health systems, learning health systems

Research Methods

Theory-based evaluation; participatory action research; life histories; mixed methods; realist evaluation; dynamic systems modeling, political economy analysis, discrete choice experiments, economic evaluation, systematic reviews


Results4TB: Designing and evaluating provider results-based financing for tuberculosis care in Georgia: understanding costs, mechanisms of effect and impact

This 4-year project will help design a pilot results-based financing (RBF) scheme with Georgian policy-makers and programme managers, examine its impact and cost effectiveness and give further evidence to RBF and TB programming around the globe.

Find out more about Results4TB


Verbal Autopsy with Participatory Action Research (VAPAR)

Co-Investigator of this programme, undertaken in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen and funded by the Medical Research Council, this project aims to co-create knowledge on how to strengthen health and health services and reduce inequalities of access and health in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

Find out more about VAPAR


NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Health in Situations of Fragility at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

In collaboration with the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and COMAHS, Sierra Leone, this project is developing an understanding and the tools to address the relationships between health services and communities, focussing on mental health and non-communicable diseases. Sophie is Deputy Director of the Unit.

Find out more about NIHR RUHF


ReBUILD for Resilience

ReBUILD for Resilience will look at health systems in fragile contexts experiencing violence, conflict and other shocks. As in ReBUILD the aim is to produce high-quality, practical, multidisciplinary and scalable health system research which can be used to improve the health and lives of many millions of people.

Find out more about ReBUILD for Resilience


Co-Voices application

Co-Voices is a bespoke web-based application developed as part of NIHR RUHF. The application allows for survey and photo-voice data collection: research participants can offer answers to specific questions, be followed-up over time, and additionally upload photographs and audio content.

Find out more about Co-Voices


The Political Economy of Universal Health Coverage Reforms: building capacity and engagement of francophone West Africa

This project aims to develop a strong, effective and equitable research partnership between research institutions in the UK and francophone Africa and to strengthen research capacity in the area of political economy for UHC. The goal is to contribute to progress towards UHC by building networks with stakeholders and communities.

Find out more about the PEA of UHC


Reducing the Burden of Severe Stigmatising Skin Diseases (REDRESS)

Researchers on the REDRESS project are working in Liberia to improve the management of SSSDs. Using an approach that focusses on the individual’s needs, REDRESS will compile a base of evidence to enable the development and testing of innovative health care interventions.

Find out more about REDRESS

Sophie teaches on health financing, human resources 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.

  1. ReBUILD research consortium; 2011-19
  2. Establishing a Global Centre for Research on Health in Fragility; 2017-2021.
  3. Identifying and fostering resilience through health systems analysis of UNWRA provision for Palestinian refugees from Syria; 2016-18
  4. Designing and evaluating provider results-based financing for tuberculosis care in Georgia: understanding costs, mechanisms of effect and impact. 2017 – 2021
  5. Verbal Autopsy with Participatory Action Research (VAPAR): expanding the knowledge base through partnerships for action on health equity; 2017-2022
  6. Removing financial barriers to access reproductive, maternal and newborn health services; 2012
  7. Cost-effectiveness of community health worker; 2013