Stefan Scholtes

Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management

Director of the Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise (CCHLE)

Diploma, PhD, Habilitation (Karlsruhe University)

My focus in both teaching and research revolves around addressing the organisational and management challenges associated with achieving high-quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare for all. I am particularly interested in exploring and overcoming organisational barriers to service innovation and in studying and developing novel business models, both for-profit and not-for-profit, that underpin successful service innovations. My research is practice-based and informed by active collaborations with health systems in the UK and the USA.

Research interests

While technological advances drive service innovation almost everywhere, healthcare seems stuck in a 20th century service model, centred around a family doctor and a general hospital. This model is safe but has driven up costs for decades. These cost pressures turned into unsustainable workforce pressures when funding growth was frozen after the 2008 financial crisis. The pandemic has pushed this service model to a breaking point – with the most devastating effects for the most vulnerable in society. Incremental improvements of the existing model will no longer suffice to address this societal challenge. A more radical change is required that supports the patient need, improves workforce well-being and engagement, and makes step-change improvements to clinical productivity. Stefan’s research supports this service innovation effort.

Service innovation in healthcare is not primarily a technological or operational challenge but, first and foremost, a business model challenge. To help address this challenge, Stefan has co-founded 2 major initiatives. The Healthcare Utility Initiative, co-founded with Cambridge Judge Business Doctorate student Carter Dredge, has the mission to improve access to affordable healthcare for everyone by developing, refining and supporting new, disruptive not-for-profit business models. The Global Convergence Initiative, co-founded with Cambridge Judge Fellow Anoop Maini, has the mission to end fragmentation in healthcare by developing Precision Population Health Solutions that are configured to optimise health outcomes for specific populations at risk escalation points. These initiatives support a vision of complementing the traditional “GP-Hospital” nexus with vibrant local and national ecosystems of social enterprises, led by entrepreneurs with a social mission, who challenge the status quo and drive health service innovation at scale.

Professional experience

Stefan has over 2 decades of experience teaching MBA students and executives. His executive teaching focuses on the development and delivery of bespoke leadership programmes to support system change and transformation.

Stefan’s research and teaching are strongly practice-based and embedded in close collaborations with executives in health systems, hospitals and primary care practices in the NHS and the USA. He is the founding director of the Cambridge Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise and a founding member of the East of England Joint Evidence and Intelligence Cell between the NHS, Public Health England, Health Education England and Cambridge Judge, established in 2020 to support COVID planning in the region.

Stefan is Chair of the Board of Granta Medical Practices in Cambridgeshire, honorary consultant at Public Health England, and Department Editor for Healthcare Management at Management Science.

Previous appointments

Stefan joined Cambridge Judge in 1996 from the University of Karlsruhe as a Lecturer in Operations Research. Prior to his appointment as Dennis Gillings Professor in 2010, he was Professor of Management Science.


Selected publications

Journal articles

Books, monographs, reports and case studies

  • Scholtes, S. (2015) “Reorganising care at Cambridge University Hospitals.” Cambridge Judge Business School Case Study.
  • Scholtes, S. (2012) Introduction to piecewise differentiable equations. New York, NY: Springer.
  • de Neufville, R. and Scholtes, S. (2011) Flexibility in engineering design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Powell, M.J.D. and Scholtes, S. (eds.) (2000) System modelling and optimization: methods, theory and applications. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic.

News and insights

Increased drug supply security and reduced costs has been achieved by Civica Rx, a health care utility taking a fresh approach, says study in NEJM Catalyst authored by 2 Cambridge Judge Business School academics.

Studies on COVID-19 modelling by Paul Kattuman and marginalisation by Shahzad Ansari are named runners-up in the annual Responsible Business Education Awards of the Financial Times.

Stefan Scholtes of Cambridge Judge Business School wins Collaboration Award in the Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement for work on the COVID pandemic. Khal Soufani of Cambridge Judge is runner-up in Established Academic award for work in circular economy.

Media coverage

India Education Diary | 10 October 2022

University of Cambridge – Vice Chancellor’s awards for research impact and engagement 2022

Stefan Scholtes, Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management at Cambridge Judge Business School and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise, has won the Collaboration Award from the University of Cambridge’s Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement, for playing a pivotal part in enabling evidence-informed healthcare decision making during the COVID-19 crisis through his work in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS in the East of England.

United Press International | 22 June 2021

Study: Second opinion can reduce risk for long-term opioid use

A study looking at opioid use co-authored by Stefan Scholtes, Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, featured in United Press International. The study found that “a “second opinion” by another prescribing doctor within 30 days of an initial opioid prescription reduced long-term opioid use after 12 months by 31%.

Management Science Review Blog | 25 March 2021

A route to decomplexifying hospitals

Hospitals are some of the most managerially intractable institutions in the annals of capitalism.” This is the stark conclusion that Clayton Christensen, Grossman and Hwang draw in their seminal book The Innovator’s Prescription, write co-authors Michael Freeman, Nicos Savva, and Professor Stefan Scholtes of Cambridge Judge Business School in a blogpost for the Management Science Review blog. Few doctors and hospital managers would disagree, if anything, that today the trend is towards larger and more complex hospitals, which does little to improve managerial (in)tractability. This leaves us with a challenge: How does one make hospitals manageable again while still maintaining or even improving the value of hospital services?

Scienmag, 6 November 2019
Admitting patterns of junior doctors may be behind ‘weekend effect’ in hospitals, study suggests

Cambridge Independent, 17 January 2018
Stabilising the patient and curing the ills of the NHS