Chancellor’s Medal won by ScHARR PhD graduate Jiban Karki


The winner of the Chancellor’s Medal 2016 is Jiban Karki from the School of Health and Related Research.

The Chancellor’s Medal is being awarded to Jiban in recognition of the extraordinary work he undertook on humanitarian grounds before and after the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, a Country with which the University has strong links. As Executive Director of PHASE Nepal (Practical Help Achieving Self-Empowerment), a non-governmental organisation he helped to establish in 2006, Jiban’s vision and leadership enabled PHASE Nepal to deliver a huge range of relief projects to those in need whilst continuing its core work on health, education and livelihoods support in the most remote parts of Nepal.

On Friday 24 April 2015 Jiban was preparing his thesis and hoping for a rapid submission. The following morning a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal with dire consequences. Almost 9,000 people lost their lives and over 22,000 were left injured and affected, physically, mentally and emotionally. Over 400,000 buildings collapsed and countless livestock, equipment and materials were lost or buried.

The University of Sheffield has many staff and students from Nepal. There is a thriving Nepalese Society and a field class for International Development Masters programmes that takes place annually. In fact, staff and students had just returned to Sheffield weeks before the earthquake.

By Monday morning after the earthquake a group of colleagues at the University of Sheffield, which included Jiban, gathered to discuss the devastating news. Given Jiban’s extensive knowledge of the Country, the work PHASE Nepal was doing prior to the earthquake, and fact that many of his family, friends and employees of PHASE were located in the worst affected regions, the group of colleagues turned to Jiban for direction and guidance. Despite his enormous personal loss, Jiban remained extremely professional and following his suggestion a joint plan of action was created under the banner of ‘University of Sheffield Friends of Nepal’ with the aim to raise £5000. Through the hugely generous support of colleagues, family, friends, and fellow citizens from Sheffield and elsewhere a staggering £14,642.26 was raised.

Jiban was instrumental in ensuring this reached and supported those most in need particularly remote rural villages which were at risk of being overlooked by larger organizations that were focusing on the capital city.

Jiban displayed selflessness, leadership and absolute dedication to the cause. He took leave of absence from his studies and spent several months in Nepal, leading and managing the delivery of aid through PHASE, whilst continuing to help raise funds, as we have heard achieving way beyond the hoped for target. He was able to mobilise people and resources locally to help the people most desperately in need in Nepal.

The money received through Friends of Nepal, PHASE Earthquake Appeal and large donors such as Caritas, Diakonie, People in Need and others, PHASE staff and volunteers were able to carry out immediate emergency activities reaching over 15,000 families. They provided shelter, food and health aid, as well as more long term recovery and reconstruction.

Jiban was also able to secure the use of ambulances and helicopters to evacuate people from villages to hospitals in Kathmandu. This was a tremendous feat for the organisation and an undeniably huge help for the victims of the earthquake, whose needs Jiban instinctively and without delay put ahead of his own academic work and personal tragedy.

Jiban continues to support those in need via his work at PHASE Nepal. Over the past 12 months, he has clearly shown attributes and skills which are strongly valued by the University: his unwavering commitment to help people and communities who are suffering and in need of assistance; his strong resolve to have a positive impact in the wider world through active global citizenship and his selflessness and outstanding achievement in leading his Non-Government Organisation during the most challenging times all which make him worthy to receive the Chancellor’s Medal 2016.

On behalf of the people of Nepal and The University of Sheffield community, we thank him for his humanitarian contributions during his doctoral studies at The University of Sheffield. Jiban is most definitely a worthy recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal 2016.

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ScHARR In the media in 2016

ScHARR’s research and collaborations receive a lot of coverage in the press and across social and traditional media platforms. We have looked back over the past year to pick out a few highlights from some of our work that received coverage and how far it reached across social media and other notable web citations.

According to our research and collaborations with external partners recieved 23,840 mentions in 2016 with a couple of weeks still to go. Altmetric tracks all of our research outputs, so many of the new mentions were also for research pre-2016, but we will take a look at a few of the notable highlights from this year’s outputs.

Of the 23,840 mentions, 820 were news items, our research was cited in 76 policy documents, 82 Wikipedia citations and links within F1000. On social media our research was mentioned in 20,661 Tweets, 1,678 Facebook Shares and 97 Google+ shares. Our output reached as far as the Chinese social network Weibo on 15 occasions. whilst it was linked and featured on 340 blogs, pinned on Pinterest, mentioned on open peer review and ranked on Reddit as well as featured in 11 videos. Our research and collaborations were Tweeted about in 86 different countries with the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada and Spain being the most prominent communicators.

It is important to say that this is the research mentions we are aware of, as Altmetric can only track research that has some kind of digital object identifier – such as a PubMed ID – in the communications.

image of altmetric data for 2016

Our Sheffield Alcohol Research Group continued their strong research output alongside collaborators again. ‘Are recent attempts to quit smoking associated with reduced drinking in England? A cross-sectional population survey’ received a lot of attention with 34 mentions in the news media. Top Sante, Metro News, NHS Choices, Google News alongside many regional news publications ran stories based on the conclusions from the research.

A collaboration between South Yorkshire partners at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Goldthorpe Medical Centre and ScHARR received coverage across the web. The paper was titled: Primary care services located with EDs: a review of effectiveness.
Professor Suzanne Mason, Colin O’Keefe and Suzanne Ablard’s collaboration with Shammi Ramlakhan and Alicia Ramtahal was covered by Pulse, Nursing Times, OnMedica and Medpage Today, as well as a flurry of 134 Tweets.

Dr Andrew Booth’s paper ‘Searching for qualitative research for inclusion in systematic reviews: a structured methodological review’ received a lot of traction thanks to 216 Tweets as well as a mention on the Evidently Cochrane Blog.

Building the Evidence Base of Blood-Based Biomarkers for Early Detection of Cancer: A Rapid Systematic Mapping Review was mentioned by a dozen news outlets. The research was featured in news by Science Daily, Genomeweb, Medical News Today, Health Medicine Network and Health Canal among others. The work was done by Lesley Utley, Helen Buckley Woods and Susan Harnan with collaborators based at institutions in the Midlands.

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Public Health Newsletter Issue 3 – December 2016



It’s certainly getting cold as we head towards Christmas. What better to do than read the Public Health newsletter with a hot cup of tea?

In this edition Dr Sarah Barnes and Dr Hannah Jordan introduce the Wild at Heart project (“Be Wild, Whatever Your Age”), and Prof Michelle Holdsworth shares news of an exciting new project on dietary transitions in Ghana funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UKAid.

As part of helping staff and PhD students get to know each other we’ve decided to include a short piece in each newsletter that introduces one of our PhD students. In this issue we introduce Sophie Reale. Sophie has been a great help to me as part of a small group looking at how we integrate staff and PhD students better in Public Health – thanks Sophie!

Also noted are some congratulations, including for Prof Paul Bissell who is leaving at the end of January to take up the post of Dean at the School of Human & Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. Paul – we will miss you!

Dr Mark Strong

Dr Clare Relton, Senior Research Fellow from Public Health at ScHARR who is leading the team behind the Yorkshire Health Study  (supported by the NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire & Humber) was recently interviewed for the Sheffield Telegraph to discuss the findings. The study aims to measure the city’s weight, drinking, mood and exercise habits.  You can read more about the research and Clare’s interview here.

As part of the work within the Public Health Health and Environment research theme, Dr Sarah Barnes and  Dr Hannah Jordan have recently carried out a small consultancy project to evaluate Wild at Heart, a Lottery funded intervention run by Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust(SWT). The intervention delivers wildlife-related activities for older people and other vulnerable adults in Sheffield to improve their health and well being; reduce isolation; and give them the confidence to get out and about in their community. You can read more about this interesting project here.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/UKAid –
Funding to study dietary transitions in Ghana

We are very excited that our project on Dietary transitions in Ghanaian cities has been selected for funding as part of the Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Programme, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UKAid.

Our project will specifically investigate dietary transitions in Ghanaian cities by mapping the factors in the social and physical food environments that drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods and beverages, contributing to the spread of diet-related non-communicable diseases.  The project will last for 24 months and is expected to start in January 2017. It will be implemented in two Ghanaian cities of different stages of dietary, demographic and epidemiological transition: in Accra (led by Dr Amos Laar and involving Dr Kobby Mensah from the University of Ghana) and in Ho (led by Dr Francis Zotor  from University of Health and Allied Sciences).

Besides involving staff from ScHARR (Prof Michelle Holdsworth, Dr Robert Akparibo, Dr Amy Barnes), in the UK it will involve collaborations with the Universities of Liverpool (Dr Mark Green) and Loughborough (Dr Paula Griffiths), and the UNESCO Chair on World Food Systems at the CIRAD in France (Nicolas Bricas).

We look forward to telling you more about the project once it is underway.

Picture: A fast food take-away stall in Accra, Ghana

PhD congratulations go to three of our PGR students on successfully defending their viva –
Samuel Lassa, Sarita Panday and Jiban Karki. Our very best wishes to all of them for the future!

Congratulations to Dr Evangelos Kritsotakis of Public Health, who was successful in the recent ScHARR ResearchStimulation PrizeCompetition for his project – Methodological and applied research on the clinical epidemiology of recurrent infections due to extensively drug-resistant pathogens in critically ill patients.

Promotion success

Congratulations to the following staff who have been promoted in this year’s promotion round:
Dr Sue Baxter
to Senior Research Fellow
Dr Vanessa Halliday
to Senior Lecturer
Dr Mark Strong
to Reader
Dr Janet Harris
to Reader

Departing for pastures new

Congratulations to Prof Paul Bissell our Director of Teaching and Learning, who will be leaving ScHARR at the end of January 2017 to take up the post of Dean of the School of Human & Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield.

Paul will be sadly missed but we wish him every success for the future. Hopefully we will still see him around in an honorary capacity.

Welcome! –  to new Public Health PGR and returning students

At our November section meeting we had the chance to meet some of our new PGR students and returning students, over a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

Thanks to all who came – we had a good turnout of both staff and students. It was a great opportunity to put a face to a name for both staff and students alike, and hopefully this will give us chance to get to know each other a little better!

All PhD students with a supervisor in Public Health are warmly invited to join us at our monthly Public Health section meetings. Tea and coffee, and usually some cake, is provided. The first 20 minutes or so are a time to catch up with friends and colleagues. People are welcome just to come to this, or to stay on for the rest of the meeting where we share news and discuss section and school issues.

Meet Sophie Reale – PhD student and this year’s student rep

Hi everyone, I am a second year PhD student in the strand of food and nutrition. I started my PhD in October 2015 after being awarded a fully funded faculty scholarship. Prior to this I completed a BSc Sport and Exercise Science and MSc Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University. During my undergraduate degree I completed a 6 week work placement at Rotherham Institute for Obesity and went on to be employed as a health care assistant and exercise therapist during the completion of my master’s degree. These experiences developed my research interests and led to the publication of two studies on menu labelling and food choices (Reale and Flint 2016a), and the impact of food labelling on visual attention in adult populations (Reale and Flint 2016b).

My current research is supervised by Dr Sam Caton and Dr Robert Akparibo. It remains in my field of interest but rather than working with obese adults, I am now working with toddlers and investigating portion size. The focus is on snack intake and portion sizes that caregivers serve to their young children. I will be using a mixed methods design combining responses from an online survey, interviews, observations and a pilot RCT.

In addition to completing my PhD I am this year’s PGR rep. I commenced the role in September 2016 in the hope that I would be able to make new PhD students feel as welcome to ScHARR as our previous reps made us feel.

Alongside attending meetings and organising social events, I decided that I wanted to enhance physical activity among students as we spend most of our days at our desks being sedentary! In the summer I managed to persuade some of the girls who had no experience playing football to attend fun weekly training sessions led by myself in Western park. This soon snowballed from 4 to 12 players and we now have a team in the university’s intramural league with weekly matches at Goodwin Sport Centre. We are yet to win our first match but we have scored our first goals and certainly have the biggest support every week, with thanks to our fellow PhD students.

Recent Publications

Dan Lewer, Petra Meier, Emma Beard, Sadie Boniface and Eileen Kaner
Unravelling the alcohol harm paradox: a population-based study of social gradients across very heavy drinking thresholds
DOI 10.1186/s12889-016-3265-9

Sarah Salway, Parveen Ali, Giles Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Such, Nasaim Khan, Helen Kingston, Oliver Quarrell
Responding to the increased genetic risk associated with customary consanguineous marriage among minority ethnic populations: lessons from local innovations in England
DOI 10.1007/s12687-016-0269-1

Constantinos Tsioutis, Evangelos I. Kritsotakis, Spyridon A. Karageorgos,
Soultana Stratakou, Charalambos Psarologakis, Sofia Kokkini, Achilleas Gikas
Clinical epidemiology, treatment and prognostic factors of extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically ill patients
DOI 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2016.07.007

HA Osei-Kwasi , M Nicolaou, K Powell, L Terragni, L Maes, K Stronks , N Lien, M Holdsworth  and on behalf of the DEDIPAC consortium.
Systematic mapping review of the factors influencing dietary behaviour in ethnic minority groups living in Europe: a DEDIPAC study.
DOI 10.1186/s12966-016-0412-8

Roosmarijn Verstraeten, Jef L. Leroy, Zuzanna Pieniak, Angélica Ochoa-Avilès,
Michelle Holdsworth, Wim Verbeke, Lea Maes, Patrick Kolsteren
Individual and Environmental Factors Influencing Adolescents’ Dietary Behavior in Low- and Middle-Income Settings
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0157744

Tim Pearson, Michael J Campbell, Ravi Maheswaran
Acute effects of aircraft noise on cardiovascular admissions –an interrupted time-series analysis of a six-day closure of London Heathrow Airport caused by volcanic ash
DOI 10.1016/j.sste.2016.03.004

Ravi Maheswaran
Air pollution and stroke –an overview of the evidence base
DOI 10.1016/j.sste.2016.04.004

Ravi Maheswaran, Tim Pearson, Sean D. Beevers, Michael J. Campbell, Charles
D. Wolfe
Air Pollution and Subtypes, Severity and Vulnerability to Ischemic Stroke—A
Population Based Case-Crossover Study
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0158556

Mark Strong
Measuring the health-related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 countries: a baseline analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015
DOI 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31467-2


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Video: Nicola Sturgeon praises ScHARR Public Health

Nicola Sturgeon MSP praised ScHARR Public Health section to a sold-out audience of 1,200 at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) annual lecture on “Scotland and the UK: economic policy after the EU referendum”


Nicola Sturgeon: “…and from my time as Health Secretary in Scotland I’m very aware of, and very grateful for, the quality of the work done by the School of Public Health here. Its Alcohol Research Group carried out  an extensive study on alcohol minimum pricing which underpins the legislation that the Scottish Parliament passed on that issue back in 2012.

Now, that legislation has faced significant court challenges, but following a positive court judgement last month we may now be getting to a position where we can implement it. If that is the case, then work done here in Sheffield will contribute to saving dozens of lives in Scotland every year. And the Public Health School, I think,  is a good example of the excellence of this University’s work.”

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International News

Welcome to the inaugural ScHARR International news bulletin where we share with you updates from the Internationalisation Committee and others from around ScHARR. Enjoy!

Welcome to Prof Luc De Witte

We’d like to warmly welcome Prof Luc De Witte who has recently joined ScHARR. Luc was previously professor of technology in care at Zuyd university of applied sciences and Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and runs an exciting and innovative ‘Health in Slums’ research project in India. Our staff have already managed to get involved in his work developing mobile technology for health in urban slums. Read Luc’s bio here.

Global Challenges Research Fund

This is a new £1.5 billion investment fund over the next 5 years for research projects that tackle international development issues. GCRF projects must be in countries eligible for development assistance. ScHARR has been involved in 5 of the 12 submissions from the University so far to the GCRF, and 2 have made it to the next round so we wait we bated breath for the results! Interested to find out more? Go to


International Research Stimulation Event

Some of our team are hard at work organising a research stimulation workshop, planned for early January/February 2017 where we hope to generate some world class research ideas and bids. Watch out for this!

Global Health Systems Research

Later in November, a large contingent of global health researchers from ScHARR will be attending and presenting at the 4th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Vancouver.


Superbugs in Turkey

Evangelos and Andrew recently returned from Istanbul where they have been working with Turkish clinicians on a study of infections with carbapenemase producing enterobacteriaeceae (i.e. the dreaded SUPERBUGS!) in patients in intensive care.

Andrew and Evangelos.pngA follow up visit in early 2017 is planned with our colleagues from the Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine, Royal HallamshireHospital to build up links.

Find out more about their visit here. (PS you may need to use Google translate if you’re not fluent in Turkish!)

Successful Gates Foundation bid

Congrats to Michelle Holdsworth and Robert Akparibo on their successful research bid to the Gates Foundation. They’ll be exploring dietary transitions in Ghanaian cities and mapping the factors in the social and physical food environments that drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods and beverages. Read more about it here.

In other news…

Visitors and new friends

In recent months, Dr Ishtar Govia from University of the West Indies (Jamaica), and Professor Sujan Marahatta from Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (Nepal) came to visit. We’re also developing new links with University of San Francisco Quito (Ecuador) and Wits University, South Africa.

Goodbye Michelle!

We also say goodbye to our wonderful admin support and friend Michelle Johnson who amongst other things helped to look after ScHARRlotte when she was not on her travels and kept up ScHARRlotte’s blog. We are now looking for someone to come join our team and care for ScHARRlotte. If you are interested, please contact Andrew Lee or Denise Faulkner ( )

scharrlottePhoto of ScHARRlotte on her travels in Bangladesh





Like to join our committee? The next meeting is on Tuesday 17 January 2016, Pemberton B. All welcomed!

Have an international story or bit of info you’d like to share? If so, contact Andrew (

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The Rise of Co-Production: Benefits, Opportunities and Challenges

Sheffield Voices

By Sara Hodgkinson, Melanie Rimmer and Sarah Salway

In the context of healthcare, new concepts and buzzwords periodically appear, each carrying with them the promise of innovation and progress.  The emergence of ‘co-production’ might initially have appeared to be just another trending catchphrase, yet the term appears to have established some credibility within the public health realm.  Co-production refers to a collaborative process where healthcare providers work with healthcare users to shape health services with the intention of better tailoring them to need.  This approach contrasts with the more typical ways of designing and delivering services where important decisions are made solely by those in positions of power.

The idea behind co-production is that by engaging service users in the design and creation of services, this will achieve better outcomes.  But co-production isn’t just for service provision – it can also be used to make research more relevant by incorporating the views and ideas of local people in designing and carrying out projects (Durose et al., 2011).  Because co-production can potentially include and involve groups of people that are easily excluded from research, it has been of particular interest to health equity researchers.

Several of our recent projects have used co-production.  For example, one study aimed to develop health education materials on the topic of genetic risk associated with close relative marriage. We worked closely with members of the community to understand how they saw the issue, and used these insights to develop a print leaflet and an informational video that were then tested.  The team trained and employed local people as co-researchers to engage and involve local people who might otherwise have been missed.  Community researchers generated useful insights that helped to shape materials that were relevant and sensitive to local needs.  However, the project also had challenges. In particular, not everyone in the community agreed with each other, and the community researchers sometimes found it difficult to navigate the range of perspectives held by different people, demonstrating one of several possible pitfalls of co-production.  Co-production ‘blurs the lines’ between the professional and lay divide (Owens and Cribb, 2012: 268), but it is important not to place responsibility for the production of new knowledge in the hands of lay people alone.  The value of collaboration should not be discounted, but it can be a challenge for co-production to separate the helpful information from that which is simply available. In other words, whilst all lay knowledge is valuable in its own right, not all will be usable.

It has been argued that co-production has the potential to reduce inequalities by giving a voice to service users whose views and needs are frequently overlooked.  As an example, one of our recent projects – ‘WiLD: Weight Loss for people with Learning Disabilities’ – used co-production to explore how the Slimming World weight loss programme might be adjusted for people with learning disabilities.  Insights and ideas from people with learning disabilities and Slimming World group leaders were used to make reasonable adjustments which were then tested in a small feasibility study.  The team then made recommendations to Slimming World for further adjustments.  Co-production was central to the design of the study and fundamental to its overall success. However, involving people with learning disabilities in the research required additional resource and time, and also necessitated various modifications to standard research methods, such as consent procedures. Researchers embarking on co-production projects without adequate awareness and preparation will at the least find the process frustrating and worse still may stray into unethical practice and inefficient use of resources (Salway et al., 2015).

Despite testimonies to the value of co-production, there is still some scepticism and a lack of consensus about what constitutes co-production and how it might best be achieved.  The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) states that “there is no single formula for co-production” (2013), and this is echoed by others who highlight the “elasticity” of co-production as a term, and the broad scope of what the term might be used to mean (Needham et al, 2014: 3).  The term “co-production” can be used to describe such varied methods as: professional and peer support networks for knowledge sharing; reciprocal relationships between service providers and users; and the personal development of individuals through positive use of lay knowledge and capabilities. Without clear definitions and descriptions it can be difficult to ensure that co-production methods are utilised most appropriately and effectively in research or policy making.

So what does the future hold for co-production?  Will we see an upsurge in the use of co-production as researchers and policy makers recognise its worth and seek to improve the relevance of their work?  Or will the ambiguity and challenges put people off from using these methods?  It is clear that – when employed thoughtfully – co-production has the potential to revolutionise particular forms of research and service design. However, to ensure co-production delivers benefits to those who have previously been catered to least, there is clearly a need for significant new skills, resources and commitment to a different way of working.


Croot, L., Rimmer, M., Dowse, E., Harris, J., Hatton, C., Hillier, S., Lavin, J., O’Cathain, A. and Salway, S. (2016) ‘Modifying mainstream weight management interventions for use with people with intellectual disabilities: a user centred approach’, Obesity Facts 2016; 9 (suppl 1): 1-368 available at

Durose, C., Beebeejaun, Y., Rees, J., Richardson, J. and Richardson, L. (2011) Towards Co-production in research with communities, Swindon: AHRC

Needham, C., Durose, C., Mangan, C. and Rees, J. (2014) Evaluating co-production: pragmatic approaches to building the evidence base.  For Co-production Panel, Political Studies Association Conference, 14-16 April 2014, Manchester, UK.  Birmingham: University of Birmingham

Owens, J. and Cribb, A. (2012) ‘Conflict in Medical Co-Production: Can a Stratified Conception of Health Help?’ Health Care Analysis, 20 (3): 268-280

Salway S., Chowbey, P., Such, E, and Ferguson, B. (2015) ‘Researching health inequalities with community researchers: practical, methodological and ethical challenges of an ‘inclusive’ research approach’, Research Involvement and Engagement, 1 (9) available at

SCIE (2013) What is co-production – Defining co-production. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Aug 2016]


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Nicola Sturgeon MSP Praises ScHARR Public Health at SPERI Annual Lecture

ns1The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon called for a shift away from austerity and a move towards major investment in jobs and public services in a speech at the University of Sheffield last night (7 November 2016).

Ms Sturgeon addressed a sold-out audience of 1,200 at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) annual lecture on “Scotland and the UK: economic policy after the EU referendum”

In her address, the First Minister praised the work of the Alcohol Research Group at the University’s Sheffield School of Health and Related Research, whose study on minimum unit pricing of alcohol underpins an Act of Parliament passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012.

She said: “That legislation has faced significant court challenges, but we may now be getting towards a position where we can implement it. If that is the case, then work done here in Sheffield will contribute to saving dozens of lives in Scotland every year.

“The Public Health School is a good example of the excellence of this University’s work.”

Read Nicola Sturgeon’s full speech.

Watch the speech here.

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Researchers putting Sheffield on the path to a healthy future

The Sheffield Telegraph published a special report about the Yorkshire Health Study, the largest long term health study in Yorkshire, led by a team of researchers at ScHARR.

Read more at:

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Five fully-funded PhD studentships available in the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Centre for Public Health, Health Economics and Decision Science

firthcourtbanner1Join the research effort to reduce the burden of chronic disease

Chronic disease accounts for the majority of the burden of disease in the developed world. This burden can be reduced through well-targeted and co-ordinated public health policies. Public Health Decision Science explicitly seeks to identify which combinations of interventions to prioritise for action, and to estimate their return on investment. This programme will prepare graduates for rewarding careers in academia or stakeholder organisations allowing them to contribute to public health decision making to reduce the burden of disease in the UK and internationally.

About the programme

Generously funded by the Wellcome Trust, our four-year PhD Programme in Public Health Decision Science provides unique interdisciplinary training to equip graduates to be public health leaders and decision scientists of the future.

The first year offers a unique training opportunity; students will have access to senior scientists and public health decision makers and take a range of self-selected taught modules to complement their existing skills. Health and social sciences graduates will develop advanced quantitative analytical skills and those with quantitative analytical degrees will receive training in public health. Rotations through three “research attachments” will allow students to experience research in multiple topic areas with potential supervisors before finalising the topic of the research project they will complete during years two to four.

Available funding

We award 5 studentships per year (three funded by the Wellcome Trust and two by the University of Sheffield), two of which can cover overseas fees.

Each studentship provides

  • a stipend of £19,919 pa increasing to £23,997 pa over the 4 years
  • tuition fees for 4 years, worth £5,052 pa for Home/EU students or £18,750 pa for international students.
  • A generous contribution to research and travel costs


  • will be an academic high achiever with an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (including but not limited to mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, psychology, quantitative sociology, politics, economics, systems engineering, business studies, or geography)
  • have completed a relevant Masters degree and/or gained significant relevant work experience
  • will have quantitative maths skills equivalent to A at A-Level (can be evidenced through degree level courses)
  • will demonstrate English proficiency (IELTS) if you are an international students


The closing date for receipt of all required documentation and references is

16 December 2016.

More information & how to apply

Please visit


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Scottish courts back minimum alcohol price

Plans to set a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland have today (21 October 2016) been backed by the Scottish courts.

Research conducted by experts from the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group (SARG)1 at the University of Sheffield have been influential in providing evidence to inform policy which now paves the way for the Scottish government to implement the new plan, passed by MSPs in 2012.

The Scottish government, health professionals, police, alcohol charities and some members of the drinks industry believe minimum pricing would help address Scotland’s “unhealthy relationship with drink”.

mainHealth gains

Experts from SARG based at the University’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) estimated that implementing a 50p minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland would have the following effects after one year:

  • 60 fewer deaths due to alcohol
  • 1,300 fewer hospital admissions due to alcohol
  • 3,500 fewer crimes due to alcohol

The health gains will continue to increase over 20 years and researchers estimate that the full effect of the policy would be:

  • 120 fewer deaths due to alcohol each year
  • 2,000 fewer hospital admissions due to alcohol each year

Under a 50p MUP in Scotland, alcohol consumption is estimated to fall by 3.5 per cent overall and by seven per cent among harmful drinkers compared to 1.2 per cent among moderate drinkers.2

For harmful drinkers, this equates to 250 fewer units of alcohol per year – approximately equivalent to 125 pints of beer, 25 bottles of red wine or over six litres of vodka.

The Scottish Court of Session particularly examined whether equivalent benefits to public health could be achieved by increasing alcohol taxes. Analyses by the University’s research group, which were commissioned by the Scottish government, show that:

  • To achieve the same reduction in deaths as would be achieved by a 50p MUP, alcohol duties would need to be increased by an estimated 27 per cent.
  • To achieve the same reduction in deaths among harmful drinkers as would be achieved by a 50p MUP, alcohol duties would need to be increased by an estimated 36 per cent.
  • To achieve the same reduction in deaths among harmful drinkers in poverty (the group at greatest risk from their drinking) as would be achieved by a 50p MUP, alcohol duties would need to be increased by an estimated 70 per cent.

Professor Petra Meier, Director of SARG, said: “Our analyses of minimum unit pricing have consistently shown that the policy is an effective and well-targeted approach to reducing the harm caused by alcohol.

“Increasing alcohol taxation is also an effective approach but large tax increases would be required to achieve the same effects as a 50p minimum unit price. This is because minimum unit pricing targets the high-strength and low-cost alcohol which is disproportionately purchased by heavier drinkers.”

Under the plans, a price of 50p per unit of alcohol would be set, taking a bottle of spirits to a price of at least £14.

Additional information

1 Estimates of the effects of minimum unit pricing and increases in alcohol taxation are produced using the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model. Further information can be found at the following links:

A summary of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model

The most recent estimates for Scotland of the impact of minimum unit pricing and taxation on health outcomes (PDF)

The most recent estimates for Scotland of the impacts of minimum unit pricing and taxation on alcohol-related crime and workplace related outcomes (PDF)

The most estimated for England of the impact of minimum unit pricing

2 Moderate drinkers are those consuming no more than 21 units per week for men and 14 units per week for women. Harmful drinkers are those consuming more than 50 units per week for men and 35 units per week for women. One unit of alcohol is 7.9g of pure ethanol. There are approximately two units in a normal strength pint of beer, 10 units in a bottle of red wine and 40 units in a litre of vodka.

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