Dr Richard Emsley

Photograph of Richard Emsley

Lecturer in Biostatistics

Centre for Biostatistics
Institute of Population Health
The University of Manchester
1.304 Jean McFarlane Building
Oxford Road
M13 9PL


Richard is a Lecturer in Biostatistics in the Centre for Biostatistics.  He is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Biostatistics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London.  

He is a theme lead on stratified medicine in the MRC North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research

He has previously held an MRC Early Career Centenary Award and an MRC Career Development Award in Biostatistics. 

Memberships of Committees and Professional Bodies

Society Memberships

Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society

Member of the International Biometric Society (IBS)

Member of the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics

Member of the Society for Clinical Trials

Committee Memberships

Chairman, Royal Statistical Society Manchester Local Group (2009 - present)

Member, Royal Statistical Society Medical Section Committee (2013 - present)

IBS representative on the Steering Committee  for the International Year of Statistics 2013 (2011 - 2014)

Other Group Memberships and Roles

Chair, Steering Group for UK Causal Inference Meeting (UK-CIM) (2012 - present)

Secretary of the Mental Health Research Network Methodology Research Group (2006 - present)

Member, International Programme Committee for International Biometric Conference 2014 (2011 - 2014)

British and Irish Region correspondent for Biometric Bulletin (2010 - 2013)

Associate Faculty member, Faculty 1000 (2009 - 2014)

Member of the British and Irish Region IBS Committee (2009 - 2012)

Inaugural member of the RSS Young Statisticians' Forum (2005 - 2007)


Richard's research aims to answer three key questions: Are treatments effective?  How do they work?  Which groups are they most effective for?  This involves the development of statistical methods for causal inference, and efficacy and mechanisms evaluation. Current applications of these methods include trials of complex interventions in mental health and trial designs and associated analysis methods in stratified medicine.

His other research interests include the application of causal inference methods in pharmacoepidemiology and routinely collected datasets (eHealth).  He is a member of the MRC Health eResearch Centre, part of the Farr Institute.

A lay profile about this work is available on the MRC website.

He is the initiator and member of the steering group for the UK Causal Inference Meeting (UK-CIM), secretary of the Mental Health Research Network Methodology Research Group, and a member of the Psychosis Research Partnership project, funded by The Wellcome Trust and led from the Institute of Psychiatry.  He is a co-investigator and theme lead on the MRC North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research and a collaborator on the AR UK Centre of Excellence in Epidemiology.

Richard currently supervisors six PhD students, and welcomes interest from potential PhD students interested in these research areas.  He also supervisors MSc and DClinPsy students.

Methodological Knowledge

Design and analysis of randomised trials

Complex interventions in mental health

Statistical methodology for causal inference

Latent variable modelling including mixture models and latent growth models.


Richard co-leads the statistics teaching on the MRes alliance across the Faculty. He also teaches on the MSc in Clinical Rheumatology.

He has also previously lectured and been module leader on the SPSS module on the Research Methods Programme in the School of Dentistry, and taught on the MSc in Biostatistics Causal Inference module, and the Fundamentals of Epidemiology and Biostatistics modules of the Masters in Public Health course.

Richard contributes to the teaching of fourth-year undergraduate medical students.

Short Couse and other training
Richard delivers short courses in causal inference and mediation analysis and leads the training workshop programme for the Centre for Biostatistics.  On request, he teaches bespoke sessions on mediation analysis to clinical trial units and other University groups.


Richard graduated from the Victoria University of Manchester with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with Statistics in June 2003.  He was awarded an MRC Studentship to study for a PhD in the Biostatistics Group under the supervision of Professor Graham Dunn and Professor Andrew Pickles. The PhD entitled "Statistical Models of Selection and Causation" was completed in 2007.

He joined the staff of the Biostatistics Group and from October 2006 to September 2009 he worked as a Research Associate on an MRC Methodology Grant investigating the design and methods of analysis of trials of complex interventions in mental health. 

In October 2009, Richard was appointed as a Research Fellow after being awarded a 3 year MRC Career Development Award in Biostatistics to continue aspects of this research.  As part of this Award, he spent four months in 2011 as a visiting researcher at the Program on Causal Inference in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health.  He was awarded an MRC Early Career Centenary Award to extend this Fellowship until April 2013.

In October 2012, Richard became a Lecturer in Biostatistics in the new Centre for Biostatistics.  He is also Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Biostatistics at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.


BSc (2003) Mathematics with Statistics, Victoria University of Manchester

PhD (2007) Medical Statistics, The University of Manchester

GradStat (2008)

Collaborators and affiliated staff

Local Collaborators:

Professor Graham Dunn - Professor of Biomedical Statistics

Professor Chris Roberts - Professor of Biostatistics

Martina McMenamin - NIHR Research Methods Fellow

External Collaborators:

Professor Andrew Pickles - Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London

Dr Ian White - MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge

Professor Sabine Landau - Institute of Pschiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London

Professor Tyler VanderWeele - Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University

PhD Students:

Emily Eisner (2011 - 2016). Identifying relapse risk in psychosis using subjectively experienced “basic symptoms”: assessment and predictive validity. FMHS Faculty Studentship Award (part-time).

Lesley Anne-Carter (2012 – 2015). To develop rigorous methods for the analysis, reporting and evaluation of experience sampling methodology data. NIHR Doctoral Fellowship.

Antonia Marsden (2013 – 2016). Causal modelling in stratified and personalised health: developing methodology for analysis of primary and secondary care databases in stratified medicine. NIHR BRU Musculoskeletal Award.

Sarah Steeg (2013 – 2016). Estimating treatment effects from observational self-harm data in England: the use of propensity score modelling to measure associations between clinical management in general hospitals and patient outcomes. NIHR Doctoral Fellowship.

Lydia Morris (2013 – 2016). Randomised Controlled Trial, and examination of mechanisms, of a transdiagnostic group for clients with anxiety and depression. NWDTC CASE studentship.

Natalie Berry (2014 - 2017). How can we use technology to deliver interventions in serious mental health problems? MRC HeRC Studentship.

Selected publications


  • Emsley RA, Dunn G. (2013). Process evaluation using latent variables: applications and extensions of finite mixture models. In Brentari E., Carpita M (Ed.), Advances in Latent Variables. Milan, Italy: Vita e Pensiero. eScholarID:200330
  • Barrowclough, C., Emsley, R., Eisner, E., Beardmore, R. & Wykes, T (2013). Does change in cannabis use in established psychosis affect clinical outcome? Schizophr Bull, 39(2), 339-48. eScholarID:195817 | PMID:22037770 | DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbr152
  • Dunn, G., Emsley, R., Liu, H. & Landau, S (2013). Integrating biomarker information within trials to evaluate treatment mechanisms and efficacy for personalised medicine. Clin Trials, 10(5), 709-719. eScholarID:208422 | PMID:24000376 | DOI:10.1177/1740774513499651
  • VanderWeele TJ, Emsley RA. (2013). Discussion of “Experimental designs for identifying causal mechanisms”. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, 176(1), 46-46. eScholarID:181364


  • Emsley RA, Dunn G. (2012). Evaluation of potential mediators in randomized trials of complex interventions (psychotherapies). In Carlo Berzuini, Philip Dawid, L Bernardielli (Ed.), Causal Inference: Statistical perspectives and applications. Wiley. eScholarID:121938
  • Molassiotis, A., Emsley, R., Ashcroft, D., Caress, A., Ellis, J., Wagland, R., Bailey, C., Haines, J., Williams, M., Lorigan, P., Smith, J., Tishelman, C. & Blackhall, F (2012). Applying Best-Worst scaling methodology to establish delivery preferences of a symptom supportive care intervention in patients with lung cancer. Lung Cancer, eScholarID:157147 | PMID:22385926 | DOI:10.1016/j.lungcan.2012.02.001


  • Emsley RA, Dunn G, White IR. (2010). Mediation and moderation of treatment effects in randomised controlled trials of complex interventions. Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 19(3), 237-270. eScholarID:1d17838 | DOI:10.1177/0962280209105014


  • Emsley RA, Lunt M, Pickles A, Dunn G. (2008). Implementing double-robust estimators of causal effects. The Stata Journal, 8(3), 334-353. eScholarID:1d17837

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