PhD theses from the PREFER project

Through a number of PhD students involved in the PREFER project, we have been able to contribute further to the science of patient preference studies. Our PhD students have been involved in the project's patient preference studies.

In parallel, they have also been working on separate patient preference studies, that all contribute to testing methods and research questions. The first PhD defense was held on 9 October 2020, and there are more to look forward to!


Choice Modelling in Health: Challenges and Opportunities

Vikas Soekhai's PhD project at the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management is looking at how simulations of patient preference studies can support PREFER outcomes. He defended his thesis on 4 November 2021. In his thesis, he shows how choice modelling can help understand choices in health. In his thesis, titled “Choice Modelling in Health: Challenges and Opportunities”, he addresses several challenges of choice modelling in health and the opportunities we have to overcome these challenges.

Patient Preference Studies to Inform Drug Development and Evaluation

Rosanne Janssens defended her PhD thesis 20 October 2021 at KU Leuven. Focusing on patient preferences for cancer treatment, her PhD aimed at identifying multi-stakeholder challenges and solutions towards designing, conducting and using patient preference studies for informing drug development, regulatory and HTA decisions. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, her research elucidates: 1) stakeholder views on patient preference studies, 2) the impact of patient characteristics and methodological choices on measured preferences in preference studies and 3) how to use results from preference studies in drug decision-making.

PAVING the way: Patient preferences to Assess Value in Gene therapies

Eline van Overbeeke has investigated whether patient preference studies could help bridge the gap between new treatments and well-established decision-making structures. And bring gene therapies to market and patients sooner. She defended her thesis on 9 October 2020 at KU Leuven.

Patient Preferences Throughout the Medical Product Lifecycle

Chiara Whichello (Erasmus University Rotterdam) critically examined how patient preference studies are performed, and how this can affect their systematic integration into the medical product lifecycle. This included the appraisal of different preference exploration and elicitation methods, and a comparison of two methods within the same patient population. In this case study, she examined the preferences and trade-offs of diabetes patients when selecting a device for monitoring their glucose. She defended her thesis on 9 December 2020.

Patient preferences in regulatory decisions

Karin Schölin Bywall defended her thesis on 12 May 2021 at Uppsala University. Her thesis project explores how rheumatoid arthritis patients' preferences for different treatment options can provide added value in regulatory decision making in the drug development process. The thesis is titled "Getting a Say: Bringing patients’ views on benefit-risk into medical approvals".


Ian Smith's PhD project at UMC Utrecht is looking at the factors that impact patient preference outcomes including the impact of educational materials, framing of attributes, and psychosocial constructs and how they can be used to better understand and conduct patient preference studies.





  • Disclaimer: This website and its contents reflects the PREFER project's view and not the view of IMI, the European Union or EFPIA.


The Patient Preferences in Benefit-Risk Assessments during the Drug Life Cycle (PREFER) project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 115966. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).