PhD Dissertation

On 16 December 2020, at 15:30 hours CET, I will defend my PhD Dissertation:

“Current Challenges in Health Technology Assessment: Assessing costs and cost-effectiveness of novel treatments in haemato-oncology”

at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

You can download a PDF version of my dissertation, and its online Appendix.

To watch the defence online, please click here.

If the above link does not work, this is the back-up link (lower quality).

PhD student Health Technology Assessment

Erasmus University Rotterdam


Frederick W. Thielen is a PhD student in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands). His research interests include health economic modelling of haematological diseases as well as pharmaceutical pricing and market access of new (and therefore mostly [very] expensive) cancer drugs.

Whenever possible, he is conducting research in R and is guided by the following principles:

  1. Can I do it in R?
  2. If not, how can I make it possible in R?


  • R and Python
  • Health Technology Assessment
  • Pharmaceutical pricing and market access
  • Decision modelling


  • PhD in Health Technology Assessment, ongoing

    Erasmus University Rotterdam

  • MSc (Res) in Health Sciences, 2015

    Maastricht University

  • BSc in European Public Health, 2013

    Maastricht University



After huge frustrations with several Markov models in Excel, I decided to change my work routine in 2015. I found R to be a powerful companion and sticked to it ever since.


I am a nurse by background and worked at a university hospital for nearly 10 years. For me, this was the hardest but also most rewarding work of my career.


Homebrewing is one of my favourite hobbies since 2016. If I could programme the entire process in R, I would do it right away.



PhD student

Erasmus University Rotterdam; Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management

Sep 2015 – Present Rotterdam

Responsibilities include:

  • Analysing clinical trial data
  • Health economic modelling
  • Teaching
  • Supervising Master theses


Trimbos instituut - Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction

Sep 2014 – Aug 2015 Utrecht
Writing of my Master thesis and supporting research on several mental health related topics.

Teaching assistant & module coordinator

Maastricht University

Sep 2013 – Aug 2014 Maastricht
Teaching assistant for the Master study ‘Europen Public Health’ and module coordinator for the pre-academic study programme for European Public Health.

Research Assistant & Intern

RAND Europe (Cambridge office)

Feb 2013 – Aug 2013 Cambridge, UK
Writing of my Bachelor thesis and supporting research on several health related topics.


Python Bootcamp

Introduction to programming with Python.

Best Student Poster Award 2018

My prizewinning poster was entitled ‘The Cost Of Healthcare For Children With Sickle Cell Disease: An Analysis Of Healthcare Utilization And Expenditures In The Netherlands’. We analysed the costs associated with sickle cell disease in paediatric patients in the Netherlands.
See certificate

R Programming

See certificate

2013 ESST European Award for Aspiring Undergraduates in Science, Technology and Society

My prizewinning essay was entitled ‘Entering your heart. How sparsely tested medical innovations find their way into medical practice’. In this essay I sought to illuminate the complex position of health care innovations in the nexus of general (societal) and particular (private commercial) interests and how innovations are glorified and staged in order to be marketed and thus sold.
See certificate


The RETHRIM project

The RETHRIM project

RETHRIM is an EU sponsored research consortium that has initiated a phase III clinical trial to investigate the usefulness of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for the treatment of Graft-versus-Host-Disease.

Recent Publications