He specialises in applied, policy-relevant research in the fields of health and social care which he uses as the basis of advice to governments on the development of their health and care systems.
Nicholas also has a good understanding of the challenges that lie outside the conventional scope of health and social care such the impacts of housing, diet and exercise on health.
His first significant research project was in the field of ageing in the early 1980s.
Early in his career, he worked in the National Health Service in England - with spells in public health and in representing consumers’ interests. He also worked in academic health services research at the University of Leicester, St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School, London, and the Queen’s University of Belfast.
In the independent sector, Nicholas has worked at The King’s Fund where he was director of health services research, and in government, as a senior policy adviser with the New Zealand Treasury.
He joined LSHTM in May 2003 after five years in New Zealand. He maintains a direct involvement in health and wider social policy-making by continuing to provide periodic advice to the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the Treasury.
Nicholas’ principal research activity is as director of the Department of Health and Social Care-funded Policy Innovation Research Unit, which is a collaboration between LSHTM, the London School of Economics (Personal Social Services Research Unit), and Imperial College Business School. One of his current major projects is the evaluation of the integrated care and support Pioneer programme in England, which includes Greater Manchester, currently site of the inaugural central-local government devolution agreement known as Devo Manc.