UoA 6: Epidemiology and Public Health

Our research programmes aim to enhance the health of patients and populations by promoting public health and improving clinical care.  The mix of epidemiological, clinical, statistical and behavioural sciences interface with other disciplines including laboratory science and economics, and underpin our internationally competitive programmes that range from observational aetiological studies through to clinical trials and complex behavioural and health service interventions.   Since 2001 we have built on our strengths in the two themes identified in the previous RAE as demonstrating clear international leadership: Chronic Disease Epidemiology, chiefly the social and biological determinants of health, and Infectious Disease in Populations, with a focus on HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

Epidemiology and Public Health is a core component of the research mission within the Faculty of Biomedicine and the wider UCL community. We collaborate across other Divisions in Biomedicine, particularly Infection and Immunity (UoA3), Medicine and Child Health (UoA4), and with departments outside Biomedicine, notably Anthropology (UoA42), Economics (UoA34) and Statistics (UoA22).  UCL in 1998 created a single Medical School through amalgamation of the UCL and Royal Free Hospital Medical Schools. By 2001, UCL Biomedicine consisted of two faculties (Clinical Sciences (FCS) and Life Sciences (FLS)) and five recently incorporated research institutes. In order to enhance organisational coherence and further integrate the research effort, a period of intense consultation culminating in a formal international panel review (Chair: Sir Keith Peters) in 2005, resulted in the FCS and research institutes being amalgamated into a single Faculty (Faculty of Biomedical Sciences - FBS). Composed of 13 thematically based research divisions, the FBS thematic research programmes are aligned, where appropriate, with partner NHS Trusts. 

The Division of Population Health was formed in 2003 (Director: Marmot [UoA6 Category A and C staff signalled in bold]), bringing together the UCL Departments of Epidemiology and Public Health; Primary Care and Population Sciences (Head: Johnson) and Mental Health Sciences.  The Division hosts three MRC Units – the MRC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU, Director: Darbyshire); the MRC General Practice Research Framework (Director: Nazareth, see UoA8); the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing (formerly National Survey for Health and Development) (Director: Kuh) awarded Unit status in 2007; together with the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Unit (Director: Wardle).

Our programme in chronic disease epidemiology is primarily located within the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. Infectious disease in populations is based within the Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences. Our research groups work closely with the NHS facilities on the Hampstead campus (Royal Free NHS Trust); and with Camden PCT Mortimer Market sexual health services and UCL/UCLH NIHR funded Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre on the Bloomsbury campus. Senior clinical staff hold honorary NHS consultant contracts.  MRC staff hold honorary academic appointments with UCL. 

Through close interaction with our associated NHS Trusts, three hosted MRC Units, and the representation of senior staff on a wide range of national and international research and strategy committees, we consistently aim to ensure that research outcomes are translated into policy and practice.

In RAE 2001 we made one submission in community based subjects.  In RAE 2008, members of the Division are submitted under Panel B under four separate submissions to UoA6 Epidemiology and Public Health, UoA7 Health Services Research, UoA8 Primary Care, UoA9 Psychiatry, Neurosciences and Clinical Psychology.   This presentation of our research activities provides the best fit to the units of assessment, but there are numerous collaborations between research groupings.  UCL’s work in paediatric epidemiology led from the Institute of Child Health is presented on UoA4.

Our submission comprises 63 (58.92 FTE) Category A staff of whom 27 FTE academic posts are HEFCE funded.  Of these, 8 are new HEFCE appointments since the last RAE. In addition our submission includes 7 Category B and 8 Category C staff, primarily staff of our associated MRC Units with whom we share joint research programmes. 

Our research programme has a strong emphasis on research relevant to the needs of patients and local populations and is enhanced by investment from Camden PCT of 1 Clinical Professor, 4.6 WTE Clinical Senior Lecturer posts and 0.5 WTE Clinical Lecturer posts.

Our research funding for the assessment period is £57 million and increased year on year from £6M in 2002 to £11.5M in 2007. 26% was from OSI research councils, 25% from UK based charities, 27% from UK Government bodies and NHS R&D, 20% from overseas (primarily NIH).

Additional funding which supports our research includes core funding for the MRC CTU (£25M, 2001-07) and Survey of Health and Development (£3M, 2001-7) and £17.4M for partner research organisations involved in the Health Survey for England; the embedded Cancer Research UK unit has recently been funded for a further 5 years (£6.6 M).

Download full text of the RA5a statement for Epidemiology and Public Health (pdf 188Kb)

Staff names below link to submitted publications:

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