Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences Postgraduate study

Ms Dana R Thomson BA Geography, MSc Global Heath & Population, MSc Social Statistics

Postgraduate Research Student

Ms Dana R Thomson's photo
Related links
Personal homepage

The emphasis of Dana Thomson’s research is identification of populations who are under-represented in large-scale household surveys, and development of tools and methods to improve survey accuracy.

This work is particularly relevant in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where routine household surveys are used to evaluate policies, and track international targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Household survey methods were established in the early 1980s, but have not changed much since. As a result, new tools and methods are needed to address decay in survey accuracy due to major societal shifts that have modified household configuration and behaviours over the last four decades including urbanization and increased mobility.

Dana created the GridSample R algorithm and to select complex representative household surveys from gridded population data. Gridded population datasets, such as, are models of the population in small grid squares (as small as a city block, ~100m x100m) and provide an alternative sample frame when census data are outdated or inaccurate.

I worked previously as a Researcher at Harvard Medical School supporting large-scale health system evaluations in Rwanda, Haiti, Mali, and other countries. For two years, I was seconded to the University of Rwanda where I lectured, and contributed to research capacity-building under the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Human Resources for Health programme. During that time, I supported over a dozen first-time first-authors to publish original research in international peer-reviewed journals, co-organized several intensive practice-based workshops, and created an online course at

I am currently a Postgraduate Researcher in Social Statistics and Demography, and manage the GridSample project at Flowminder Foundation. Using simulated population data and real-world surveys, my research evaluates the accuracy and feasibility of gridded population sampling.

My expertise includes household survey methods development, programme evaluation, and quantitative research capacity-building.

Research interests

Primary Research Group WorldPop:

External Primary Research Group Flowminder Foundation:

Research Interests: Household survey methods, health system strengthening, urban health, health programme evaluation, survey data analysis, deliverable-driven teaching

MPhil/PhD Research, Supervisors and Funding:
Topic: Gridded Population Sampling
Supervisors: Drs. Nikos Tzavidis, Andrew Tatem, Tomas Bird
Funding: ESRC

Ms Dana R Thomson
Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
Ms Dana R Thomson's personal home page
Share Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings