Richéal M. Burns

B.A. (Economics and Political Science), M.Econ.Sc. (Health Economics)

PhD student NUI Galway


A graduate of NUI Galway and hailing originally from Donegal, Richéal is currently involved in a three-year PhD project with the National Cancer Registry and NUI Galway, looking at the cost-effectiveness of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) testing for the secondary prevention of prostate cancer in the Republic of Ireland. This HRB funded project also affords Richéal the opportunity to study on an on-going basis at the Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) at Oxford University. She has also been a strong voice for postgraduate students on campus over the last four years, taking up elected representative roles, including SU Executive Postgraduate Office (2011–2012), and she currently sits on both the NUI Galway Governing Authority, and on the University’s Graduate Studies Board, as the postgraduate representative.

The economics of prostate cancer screening: a cost-effectiveness analysis for PSA testing for the secondary prevention of prostate cancer in Ireland

The PhD project involves development and implementation of costing strategies for screening, diagnosis and treatment pathways, patient survey construction including quality of life instruments, systematic literature reviews in the areas of screening, costs of illness and utility measurements and ultimately a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA). The decision model adopted for the CEA was constructed in Oxford (The Oxford Model, 2011) and involves multi-parameter evidence synthesis (MPES) using a Bayesian framework. This project will provide further validation of the model.

The thesis will consist of two parts; first, an examination of the determinants of uptake of PSA testing from both Irish and European perspectives, with a particular interest in socio-economic variation of uptake. Following from this there will be an examination of socio-economic variation in both survival and resource utilisation. This section will be presented in the format of several chapters consisting of full journal articles which have either been published throughout the PhD or are currently under review. The second part of the PhD will consist of the cost-effectiveness analysis which will be presented in the traditional thesis structure. The PhD is expected to be submitted within the three year project timeline.

Keywords health economics, health technology assessment, health policy, cost-effectivness analysis, decision modelling


PhD research funding

  • HRB PhD fellowship

Head of Economics

Prof Alan Ahearne

Contact Economics

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