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UOA 12 - Allied Health Professions and Studies

Liverpool John Moores University

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

Foreword

Driven by strategic developments in line with national and international health policy, the creation of the Institute for Health Research (IHR) in 2006 reflects the vibrancy of our research culture and demonstrates our commitment to interdisciplinarity.  The IHR unites strengths and critical mass in health research across LJMU through networks operating alongside the University’s organisation structure (i.e. its faculties and schools).  This alignment is complementary to the thematic nature of research presented within this Unit of Assessment (UoA) where, broadly, we are reporting on research activity relating to biomedical/laboratory-based health sciences and health promotion, including human behaviour and human performance-related components.  Research also presented to Panel C in UoA11 (Nursing and Midwifery) features prominently within the IHR networks.

The IHR is built upon a research culture that encourages and facilitates collaboration, not just between academics within LJMU but which extends to colleagues working in the health services and commercial sectors/industrial companies.  Working directly with professionals enables a rapid response  to significant events such as the introduction of new health policy and guidance (Every Child Matters, Department for Education and Skills, 2003 & 2004; Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier, Department of Health [DoH], 2004) the emergence of strategic health priorities (Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England, Cabinet Office, 2004; Sexual Health and HIV Strategy, DoH, 2001 & 2002) or product development (see industrial links below).  At the same time, academic involvement in knowledge transfer ensures maintained standards of practice and quality in service delivery. Specific examples of our competitive and leading-edge research activities are provided in sections that follow and are also evidenced in relation to research income.

The IHR aims to secure the sustainability of high quality applied and fundamental health research at LJMU through a strategic re-positioning and capitalisation on emerging opportunities arising from new interfaces between research groups, both within and external to the University.  Taking a strategic approach to planning for the inauguration of the IHR has ensured that the research strategies of school/faculty-based research groups are already well integrated within the IHR structure and management.

For the first time, our submission to this UoA includes Drug Delivery research, a reflection of its relevance, critical mass and links to biomedical sciences borne out by planning for, and the evolution of the IHR.  Since RAE2001 our health promotion research has strategically expanded as a discipline and also now incorporates both Nutrition and Biopsychology research (the latter now Health and Human Performance) which were previously returned as discrete research groups to this UoA.  

Research students and research studentships

Flexible modes of delivery for research training at LJMU attract a culturally-rich student population that includes both full and part-time candidates, a good mix of international and home/EU students and the University’s own staff.  Such training embodies traditional structured MPhil and PhD routes for research students and the Masters in Research (MRes Healthcare), which provides comprehensive training in research skills and allows subsequent direct transfer to PhD (akin to New Route PhDs which LJMU will offer from September 2008). In addition, the development of career pathways to build the capability of Research Assistants (pre- and post-doctoral) is considered essential, and overtly demonstrates commitment to nurture, reward and retain research expertise, which itself impacts upon the aspirations of research students.  The research training portfolio also includes Professional Doctorate programmes in a number of areas, for example Doctor of Health Sciences in Nutrition, and Doctor of Biomedical Science.

We can report a total of 57 PhD and MPhil completions during the RAE cycle.  This equates to 1.2 completions per FTE research active staff during the assessment period, a level that is broadly comparable to 2001 when allowance is made for the significant number of ECRs included in this submission.  Studentships and the vast majority of other MPhil and PhD students are aligned to the biomedical/laboratory-based health sciences and (bio)psychosocial disciplines.  These completion data reflect a deliberate shift during the RAE reporting period towards the appointment and retention of (predominantly externally funded) Research Assistants working on health promotion research programmes (46.95 FTE compared to 0.6 FTE in 2001).  By tradition, opportunities for studentships in public health and health promotion fields are relatively deficient, principally due to both the changing nature and competing priorities of the relevant NHS funding streams.

In terms of funding source, a number of doctoral students are currently or have been funded by overseas governments (Thai [6] in-part through LJMU involvement in the Thai-UK Collaborative Research Network, Syria [1], Malaysia [1]).  Joint supervision and financial support arrangements for studentships exist with industrial partners (Manesty [1], GlaxoSmithKline [2], AstraZeneca [2]), and with NHS Trusts and charities (e.g. collaboratively between Manchester Children’s Hospital and the North West Bone Marrow Trust fund [1]).  Studentships awarded by competitive peer review processes include: EPSRC new investigator scheme in collaboration with the University of Liverpool [1], Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain studentship [1], Council for the Central Laboratory for the Research Councils (CCLRC)/Science and Technology Facilities Council [5].

Research income

Since the start of this RAE assessment period, the quantity of externally derived research grants and awards translates to in excess of £15m in research expenditure.  Prestigious sources of funding include the European Commission (EU Fifth and Sixth Framework Programme [FP6]), World Health Organisation (WHO), Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the Department of Health, Home Office (HO), UK Charities (The British Academy, The Royal Society, Leverhulme Trust, Sport England). 

Competitively awarded DoH/NHS funding accounts for a high proportion of grant income reported in RA4 (including funding secured to ensure the continuity of evolving research programmes which are also subject to external scrutiny).  Examples include a total of £160k predominantly from Manchester Health Authority (2001-2003) to conduct a series of epidemiological studies on a syphilis outbreak; over £300k from the DoH nationally since 2003 in support of ongoing work as the UK Focal Point on drugs; and £375k from Drug (and Alcohol) Action Teams (DAATS) in Merseyside and more recently Cheshire to collect and perform analyses on inter-agency drug misuse data (1999 to date).  

Our contribution to collaborative research not reflected in full in RA4 equates to a further £1.5m (excluding EU project funding).  Examples include: Bellis (co-applicant) with Imperial College, London ‘Estimating prevalence of problem drug use: multiple methods in Brighton, Liverpool and London’, HO, £267k in total (£93k to LJMU, 2001-2003); Hutcheon (co-applicant) with the University of Nottingham, ‘Assembly of nanoparticle drug delivery systems using novel functional biodegradable polymers’, BBSRC £157k and £400k in total (£95k to LJMU 2001-2003, £188k to LJMU 2003-2006); Sumnall (co-applicant) with Liverpool University ‘Inhibitory control and cue salience in alcohol abuse’, MRC, £262k (2006-2008).

In areas of high volume, indirect costs (where applicable) or overhead charges are used to support the research infrastructure (i.e. to fund specific research-related administration/ roles such a project management across a department; to fund professional development activities; and/or to provide additional research capability such as staff on short-term contracts for specific projects).  This has also given us scope to pump-prime research activities for which we are not yet able to deliver outputs and to ‘bridge’ breaks in the contracts of researchers on short-term contracts.

In terms of benefits ‘in-kind’, we enjoy good relations with local hospital laboratories and can often use their pathology laboratories for high throughput analyses of samples where required by specific projects (a capacity that enhances our responsiveness).  We are in receipt of thermal analytical equipment to the value of £100k donated by Pfizer and are beneficiaries of a significant parcel of apparatus from Syngenta (including centrifuges, Carey spectrophotometer, 96-well plate reader, 2 HPLC systems and several consumable items) of approximately £200k in value.  As part of an industrial collaboration with Genentech Inc. (USA), significant (£250k) investment in enzyme and protein materials will be forthcoming in early 2008 for a planned pulmonary drug delivery research programme.

Research structure/organisation and management

Research management

The IHR is governed by an Advisory Board which meets quarterly and is Chaired by Bellis.  Members include the Deans of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences, and the leaders of all four research networks (Crossley, Hutcheon, Sheehy and Tocque).  Industry and NHS interests are represented by senior individuals from GlaxoSmithKline and the North West Strategic Health Authority.  The Advisory Board serves to ensure parity in the research and staffing policies across the IHR and the two faculties in which the vast majority of health research is conducted, and strategically aligns research priorities with investment in infrastructure.

Supporting a research culture and building capacity

Membership of the IHR (http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/ihr) is dependant upon individual research profiles and evidence of sustained research activity that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.  The four research networks each operate with a critical mass of approximately forty full members; additional membership categories exist to encourage research students and new staff/Early Career Researchers (ECR) to join and benefit from networking events such as research seminars, interaction with mentors and opportunities to apply for funding from the IHR Research Fund.  At a local level, new recruits to the staff are assigned mentors to support integration into their respective research teams.  Faculties have current ‘Investor in People’ status and operate an appraisal system directly focussed on research that identifies relevant staff training needs.

Under the direction of a Pro-Vice Chancellor, the Research Office and Graduate School Office (RGSO) provides leadership and support in research and postgraduate programmes across LJMU.  The RGSO is responsible for the University’s research strategy; providing information and support for research active staff, the provision of training for staff developing research funding applications and on grant management.  It has responsibility for quality assurance in postgraduate research and also provides core training for research supervisors and new researchers, induction programmes and training in research methods for research students. 

To facilitate a research ethos amongst postgraduates, students are required to present their work at internal seminars, a national conference in their first year of study and an international conference by the time of completion. Postgraduates are also encouraged to publish their research during the course of their studies rather than waiting until the thesis is completed.

Major conferences organised/hosted during the assessment period reflect collaboration with professional bodies and reveal the strength and extent of our international alliances.  Examples include: Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs in the 21st Century (McVeigh; Liverpool, 2007), 4th International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues (Hughes-K; Slovenia, 2006), Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC-UK, Madden; Liverpool, 2006), Preventing Violence: From Global Perspectives to National Action (Bellis; Liverpool, 2005), Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (Ford on behalf of Royal Society of Chemistry; Liverpool, 2004), Club Health 2004 (Hughes-K; Melbourne, Australia), 11th International Workshop on Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships in the Human Health and Environmental Sciences (Cronin, Dearden & Madden; Liverpool, 2004), Heads of University Centres for Biomedical Science (Billington; Liverpool, 2004), Club Health 2002 (Bellis; Rimini, Italy), Cannabis: Shaping a new agenda (McVeigh; Liverpool, 2002).

 

Research themes: Laboratory-based Health Sciences 

Biomedical Sciences

(Billington, Brandt, Burrell, Cronin, Davies-I, Dearden, Evans, Gross, Hemers, Hobbs, Hughes-S, Ismail, Lock, Louhelainen, Lowe, Madden, Rahman, Reed, Reynolds, Rostron, Wainwright)

Major foci of research are antioxidants and toxicology (predictive toxicology in particular), carcinogenesis and disease linked to cell signaling responses. Structural analysis features strongly with links to medicinal chemistry.  A culture supportive of collaborative research can be demonstrated at local, national and international levels.

With involvement in five European Commission funded projects over the entire assessment period, quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) research at LJMU is at the forefront of its field working with multiple partners and research groups across Europe  (Cronin, Dearden, Madden).  Research is predominantly directed to applied use of QSAR models to investigate the relationships between biological activity and physicochemical properties of compounds to predict pharmacological and toxicological enzymic activity.  Examples of the breadth of activity and involvement in EU programmes include (funds are to LJMU): Intelligent Modelling Algorithms for General Evaluation of Toxicities Research Training programme (IMAGETOX, EU FP5, 2000-2004, £134k); ReProTect Integrated Project (EU FP6, 2004-2007, £112k) exploring reproductive toxicity, specifically to draw together data for membrane transfer, e.g. across the placenta or from the blood to the testis; and Computer Assisted Evaluation of industrial Substances According to Regulations (CAESAR, EU FP6, 2006-2009, £130k) to develop QSARs as non-animal alternative models for the assessment of chemical toxicity (as driven by REACH - the proposed regulation concerning the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals).  Additional QSAR research has been supported by a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Fellowship 2003-4 (Dr Aynur Aptula) and has produced deliverables (see outputs RA2MCRON1 and RA2MCRON2). 

LYCOCARD® is an innovative investigative research programme led in the UK by Lowe.  Funded under EU FP6 (Integrated Project, €5.2m, £250k to LJMU), it is investigating the role of lycopene (in tomatoes and tomato products) for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.  Involving 15 partners over a five year period (2006-2011), gaps in the epidemiological evidence base are being addressed by the application of a ‘total food chain’ approach.  Our status as a LYCOCARD® partner reflects our track record in nutraceutical research involving Billington, Lowe and Rahman (El-Agamey, Lowe et al., Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 2004).  The programme complements investigations of the medicinal properties of garlic (cardioprotection), green tea (immunostimulation), ginger, Echinacea and carotenoids (cardioprotection).  The Nutraceutical Research Group was established in 2005, to formalise and capitalise on enterprise activities.  Grants/funding secured reflect commercial (Muller Dairy Products) and industrial interest, (Wakunaga of America Co. Ltd. to investigate garlic and cardiovascular disease), but also collaborative activity (evidenced by Rahman: collaborations with Manchester Metropolitan University; British Council Link Programme with Kohat University and Qarshi Industries Ltd. Pakistan; and the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai, China).  Our profile in centrifugation research continues through the experience of Billington (RA2DBILL4) (and Davies: RA2IDAVI3) with the separation of biological particles using novel density gradient media finding new areas of application.

Molecular sciences research shows increased expertise since 2001 in relation to unraveling the mechanisms underlying diseases, in particular cancer, due to new appointments in this area.  Louhelainen (ECR) brings additional capability on gene expression, novel approaches such as photodynamic therapy and deletion mapping with research having implications for cancer therapy or monitoring disease progression.  Hemers (ECR) is a relative specialist in gastric and colon cancer (gene expression, regulation and treatment targeting) with outputs published in Gastroenterology (RA2EHEME2, RA2EHEME4) and Cancer Research (RA2EHEME1).  Chemosensitivity and chemoresistance is a further area of focus in relation to anticancer strategies (Evans, ECR).  This work benefits from consortium collaboration with the School of Medicine, University of Maryland, the Christie Hospital, Manchester, the University of Manchester and the Tom Conner Cancer Research Centre, Bradford University.  Chromatin research has enabled methods of purifying proteins and this has been key to research on histones and histone-associated proteins, of relevance in relation to control of gene expression and cell cycle (Reynolds).  Protein synthesis and specifically actin cytoskeleton and translation is a feature of a new research programme pursued by Gross (ECR) for which collaborations with laboratories in the USA (University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey; Rutgers University, New Jersey; Cleveland State University, Ohio) and Germany (Institute of Bio- and Nanosystems – (4) Biomechanics) can already be demonstrated.  Cell mechanics is the subject of joint research between Gross and LJMUs General Engineering Research Institute (GERI, 5* RAE2001).

Our partner status in EU FP6 CARCINOGENOMICS (2006-2011, €10.8m in total, £227,576 to LJMU) builds on collaborative work with AstraZeneca and Syngenta on nasal and upper respiratory tract toxicity, and more recently renal/nephrotoxicity.  The involvement of Lock and Reed will facilitate the development of a battery of mechanism-based in vitro tests representative of various modes of carcinogenic action, in lungs, liver and kidney.

Allied to the molecular sciences and in relation to medicinal chemistry, drug design and discovery, a broad range of expertise span the synthesis, analysis and reactivity of organic molecules, emphasising their biological, medicinal, pharmaceutical and environmental importance.  Ongoing research seeks to investigate photobactericidal activity and agents, demonstrating medical application in terms of antibacterial and antiviral properties such as local disinfection of wound or diseased sites (Wainwright).  Burrell (ECR) brings expertise on the role of nucleotides in normal epidermal homeostasis and wound healing and has initiated collaborative research activity with the Department of Genetics and Pathology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden with financial support from the BBSRC International Scientific Interchange Scheme.  Additional work on antibiotic production and resistance in actinomycetes (Hobbs) relates to the potential to use enzymes from bacteria to treat cystic fibrosis using nanoparticles as carriers (Hobbs, Hutcheon, Rostron).  Atom efficient synthesis of antimalarials (trioxanes, peroxides and ozonides) using high pressure, microwave and photochemical methods, links structural methodologies and molecular research (Ismail).  Interdisciplinary work with the Drug Delivery research group links Rostron and Hutcheon for which outputs have been generated (RA2GHUTC3, RA2GHUTC4), as does collaboration with the University of Brighton (Madden and Rostron) (RA2CROST1).   

The profiling of drugs of abuse (Brandt, ECR) has direct significance for the forensic, clinical and pathology communities.   Research is focussed on the development of a range of analytical methods that can be applied quickly to the separation and determination of both the main products as well as providing an indication of the side products and toxic impurities that could influence strongly the effects of the principal drugs.  Research collaborations with the University of Manchester and Aston University have generated seven outputs contributing to the knowledge base of this work, including RA2SBRAN4.   It is anticipated that ongoing international collaborations with the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (Madrid) and the School of Medicine, University of Santiago in Chile will shortly generate additional research outputs.

Specific achievements since RAE2001 include:

Discovery that dietary supplementation for 14 days with Aged Garlic Extract (Kyolic®) significantly reduced plasma and urine concentrations of 8-iso-prostaglandin F in both smokers and non-smokers by 30-50% (Billington) Dissemination of the first report to identify chemicals present in the seeds of Caragana microphylla which display analgesic properties and can thus be used in complementary medicine (Rahman) As reported in Cancer Research, the first high-resolution deletion mapping of human chromosome 15 using cancer patient material (Louhelainen, ECR) Elucidation of a clear association between Glut-1 glucose transporter and chemoresistance, highlighting how patients may be given improved treatments according to the microenvironmental status of their tumour (Evans, ECR) First example of the effective use of photo-antimicrobials against an important bacterial contaminant of stored red blood cells used for transfusion (Wainwright) Demonstration of the activation of a “repairing” enzyme, tissue transglutaminase, following UV exposure on dermal fibroblasts to provide first hand evidence and possible explanation of the scarring seen in skin following long terms sun exposures (Gross, ECR).

 

Novel Drug Delivery Systems 

(Ehtezazi, Ford, Hutcheon, Roberts, Seton)

A highly functional and well-established research group that has developed and sustained many collaborations with both industrial and academic partners in the UK and abroad (including studentships). Under the direction of Ford, the group is well known for its work in the main area reported here (Drug Delivery) and in materials science.

Drug Delivery research brings together researchers in chemistry, polymer science, materials science, pharmaceutics and biological sciences encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to research. Its focus is towards pharmaceutical aspects of materials research through the design, synthesis and analysis of novel polymers for the in vivo delivery of these materials. Research is coordinated at the interface of materials science with pharmaceutical and engineering sciences. Researchers within the group are internationally recognised in the areas of solid dispersions, compaction simulation, thermal analysis and biodegradable polymers.

Pertinent areas of research into polymers for drug delivery include enzyme catalyzed polymer synthesis, the design and synthesis of novel polyesters for nanoparticle drug delivery, the incorporation of drugs into biodegradable polymers, protein containing polymers for biocatalytic and biomedical applications, and controlled oral drug delivery.  These areas have borne the products of well-established and ongoing collaborations with the University of Nottingham (since 2001: RA2GHUTC1, RA2GHUTC2) and The Robert Gordon University (since 2003: RA2GHUTC3, RA2GHUTC4, initiated by Rostron).  A new area of research in the group is the improved synthesis of drugs, monomers and polymers by microwave synthesis.  Studies of pulmonary drug delivery include the microencapsulation of anti-inflammatory drugs and the stabilisation of biological molecules for delivery to the lung, as well as studies on the mechanism of delivery of polymeric drug delivery systems via inhalation.  Industrial links with Novartis Pharma AG and Pfizer Global Research & Development have been facilitated through LJMUs GERI in relation to research examining the application of computational fluid dynamics in designing dry powder inhalers (Ehtezazi).

Dosage form research is a significant focus under this research theme (Ford, Roberts, Seton) where the properties of materials utilised for drug delivery and their manufacture into suitable formulations for delivery are investigated.  Current projects include the development and modification of novel materials for use in drug delivery formulation.   Research collaboration in this area with GlaxoSmithKline has elicited a number of publications (RA2MROBE1 and RA2MROBE2; Ernst et al., J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2007) and we are excited by the expansion of this collaborative academic-industrial relationship to include another existing NHS collaborator: the Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust (Alder-Hey) (RA2JFORD1).  Thermal analysis is used for the characterisation of drugs, pharmaceutical excipients and polymers. This method is integrated into other areas of materials research where the properties of novel polymers can be compared with existing materials.

To enhance the pharmaceutical manufacturing of drug delivery formulations the compaction properties of drugs, polymers and excipients are assessed and tablet process problems such as capping and punch sticking can be solved. We are one of the few academic units to maintain research into compaction simulation (Roberts, Ford et al., J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2003 and 2004). Studies on the role of moisture on the physical properties of drugs, pharmaceutical excipients and hydrophilic polymers contained in hydrophobic polymeric dressings and wound management are also taking place (RA2JFORD4).

A newer area of research concerns the nature of crystallisation processes and the manipulation of conditions to exert control over nucleation and crystal growth, in particular the influence of solvent on crystallisation and the ability to select polymorphs of a particular drug (Ford and Seton). Subsequently the effects of modifications of crystal habits and polymorphs of drugs on their compression properties can be assessed. Seton has secured an EPRSC First Grant Scheme award (£125k, 2005-7) to investigate polymorph selection and control in the context of drug manufacturing processes using crystal engineering techniques (RA2LSETO3).  Seton is also an academic partner for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to identify and source additives for the development and formulation of new anti-corrosive de-icing products, embedding improved technical capability (with Salt Union Ltd, 2005-2008, European Social Fund £71k).

Collaborative research is also being undertaken into the evaluation of the effect of food on the intrinsic solubility of drug substances (Hutcheon, Ford, Roberts). The effect of food on the solubility and subsequent absorption of drug molecules in vivo has long been known to critically influence bioavailability. Industrial and regulatory focus has recently shifted to attempt to understand more fully the phenomena involved so that they can be controlled and exploited in dosage form design.

Specific achievements since RAE2001 include:

First study of polyester-co-lactones microspheres for drug encapsulation and release (Hutcheon) Reporting of a novel technique (with commercial potential) for encapsulation of substrates within hollow vaterite microspheres demonstrating an inorganic substrate as encapsulant compared to conventional organic materials (Seton) Highlighting the dangers of taking alcohol with certain drug formulations because it alters how the tablet, not the drug, might behave in an alcoholic environment (Roberts, ECR)   Discovery that there are very significant variations in the configuration of the upper airway when different aerosol devices are used for inhalation (Ehtezazi).

 

Research themes: Health Promotion

Health-related Behaviour and its Consequences

(Bellis, Beynon, Cook, Crossley, Fairclough-SJ, Gee, Hackett, Hughes-K, McVeigh, Porcellato, Sumnall, Tocque, Umeh)

Major strengths to highlight are the contributions staff make to the development and evaluation of health promotion initiatives and specifically to demonstrate how an evidence-into-practice approach can inform professional practice and health policy at all levels (international, national, regional and local). Additionally, we show how the effective use of health surveillance data can inform research and health promotion or treatment interventions, and importantly, how this can play a role in shaping policy. 

With demonstrable and significant presence at international and national levels, the team led by Bellis includes academics, health professionals and research support staff working on projects covering substance use, sexual behaviour, violence and public health intelligence systems.  The significance of this work can be demonstrated by reference to published and forthcoming NICE public health programme guidance (www.guidance.nice.org.uk/PHP).

The National Collaborating Centre for Drug Prevention (NCCDP) was established at LJMU in 2004 following a competitive peer review application process initiated by the Health Development Agency.  As a research partnership between LJMU and NICE, the NCCDP maintains a broad network of local, national and international experts in drug misuse theory and practice.  As Principal Investigator for the NCCDP, Sumnall directs a team of eight staff building the evidence base for drug prevention, including contributions to wider public health.  They identify the most effective characteristics of programmes and interventions, i.e. those which have the most impact upon preventing drug misuse, to inform national and local policy and practice on drug misuse prevention and provide guidance for those delivering front-line drug prevention services.  Its research exemplifies ways to elicit intelligence about different at-risk and drug-using populations (recreational users through to injecting drug users) and treatment services particularly through the involvement of end-users.  The development of national guidance on drug use prevention among young people (McGrath, Sumnall et al., NICE, 2004) and the identification of effective interventions at different tiers of models of care for young substance users (Burrell et al., NCCDP, 2005) are such examples, but also highlight where its research has impacted positively on policy and practice.  The NCCDP has received competitively awarded funding from the DoH for an impact evaluation of the Families First project for drug using families in Middlesborough (£83K) and a multisite evaluation of projects operating in the Government’s High Focus areas (£150k).  This work in particular is gaining international exposure and influencing evidence for drug prevention worldwide (see Esteem: Bellis and Sumnall).

Over the assessment period we have further developed our involvement in research on the night-time leisure environment.  This research spans complementary activity concerned with risk-taking behaviours including substance use and sexual health (Cook, Crossley, Sumnall, Umeh).  Focusing predominantly on the 16-25 year old age group, the international platform from which this work stems (the European network IREFREA [www.irefrea.org/] linking substance use [alcohol and drugs], sexual risk taking and prevention in young people across Europe) has been a contributing factor in the significant impact our work has had on local and regional policy.  Working at a strategic level with the Public Health Team at Government Office North West, the Health Protection Agency (North West) and the North West Regional Alcohol Strategic Group, we have raised the profile of alcohol as a public health issue, particularly in relation to binge drinking by young people and the alcohol consumption by schoolchildren (RA2KHUGH1, RA2KHUGH4).  A number of research findings in this new area of epidemiology relate to pioneering work originally exploring how individuals behave whilst abroad and on holiday (drug, alcohol and tobacco use, sexual activity) (RA2MBELL2, RA2KHUGH2, RA2KHUGH3).  Additionally, surveillance systems have been developed in conjunction with the North West Public Health Observatory (Tocque) and health professionals to capture alcohol-related intelligence on harmful and hazardous drinking, e.g. that may be used specifically to inform health promotion interventions and policy for reducing alcohol-related harm (including data from accident & emergency departments). Our standing in this emergent area of public health research is reflected in measures of esteem (Bellis), and in the impact of our outputs (RA2KTOCQ1; inclusion in the DoH Chief Medical Officer Update October 2007) and demonstrates how our initial research/models at local and regional level can contribute to interventions and policy at national level.  

As a founding member of the WHO Global Violence Prevention Alliance (2004), we have since invested resources in developing a multidisciplinary team of researchers (currently five staff directed by Hughes-K) to ensure that presence at international and national levels is sustained.  Conferred as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention in 2007, we provide the WHO with the scientific and technical information it requires to conduct violence prevention activities at country, regional and international levels. Over the last three years staff have worked with the WHO to take forward recommendations on violence prevention in the UK, and to produce international policy briefings (Bellis, Hughes et al.,WHO 2006, see www.euro.who.int) and fact sheets on alcohol and violence in multiple languages. This collaboration is now continuing through a joint work programme over the next four years initiated by work to develop the intelligence and capacity needed to implement effective violence prevention both in the UK and internationally. 

McVeigh heads one of the largest substance use research teams in the UK (currently over 30 staff).  This group is renowned for its work with drug services and related agencies both in the application of routine drug, health and related crime data to inform services/service providers, but also for its evaluations of interventions and engagement with service users.  Relationships with DAATS throughout Merseyside and Cheshire and other areas of the North West are extremely strong.  This can be evidenced by repeated funding of research, evaluation and surveillance functions since 1999 for which over 90 outputs in the form of commissioned reports have been produced since 2001.  The relevance of this work to national policy and practice is evidenced by Beynon (ECR) (RA2CBEYN2) and RA2JMCVE1; its impact substantiated by our invited involvement in the development of guidance on demand reduction training with the United Nations (West Africa) for example.

Research that focuses on children/adolescents features strongly and cuts across many activities within the whole health promotion theme.  Here we provide two examples of locally-based research with the potential to inform behaviour change intelligence at international levels.  Understanding the influences on the uptake of smoking by children has been the focus of the unique and world-leading Liverpool Longitudinal Smoking Study funded by the Roy Castle Foundation (1995-2007).  With early direction provided by Porcellato, this 12-year study has tracked a birth cohort of 250 children throughout their school years.  Whilst the detailed findings of the study are currently being determined (plus the performance of additional comparative and validation studies), it does document and aid the understanding of the significant influences of peer pressure and curiosity in children and adolescents and provides direction for the development of relevant interventions. Highly influential work led by Hackett is informing health promotion and social marketing campaigns, particularly at local and regional levels that aim to improve eating habits and nutritional status of children.  Models derived from two of the largest datasets of their kind in the world (RA2AHACK2) and Europe (RA2AHACK4) have international significance not replicated elsewhere and are now gaining recognition (see Hackett: Esteem).  Hackett has also delivered research to the Food Standards Agency which has significantly impacted upon school food/meals policy.  The recruitment of Davies-I (ECR) in 2006 to work alongside Hackett exemplifies intentions to sustain interdisciplinary collaborations across the research themes presented here (see outputs of Billington and link to Gee [tobacco]).  

A further predictor of obesity is the subject of synergistic research into school-based physical activity among primary school children that aims to improve the health of this population (Fairclough-SJ). Our Sport England funded ‘All-Ways Active’ project (as referenced in Choosing Activity: a physical activity action plan, DoH 2005) has served as guidance for school-based physical activity through Sport England’s ‘Everyday Sport’ resource for schools. Fairclough-SJ is leading the national evaluation of the Youth Sport Trust’s ‘TOP Activity’ programme that is designed to provide alternative physical activity opportunities to children through after-school clubs.

In addition to specific achievements mentioned below, a characteristic of this research group is its centrality to contemporary and topical public health issues and milestones.  Examples include evaluation of the impact of smokefree England (the ban on smoking in public places from 1 July 2007; Gee) in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, significant media attention following publication of our research on the public health implications of celebrity lifestyles (RA2MBELL4), and on levels of harmful alcohol consumption in areas of England. 

Building on our considerable expertise in assessing and reporting on the effectiveness of health interventions, a further and evolving dimension to our research portfolio is applied health economics.  This is evidenced by Sumnall (RA2HSUMN3) and the publication of a major review to support NICE guidance on alcohol education in Schools (Jones et al., NICE 2007).  Our most recent appointment under the auspices of the IHR (and reflecting synergies between some aspects UoA12 and UoA11 see James [UoA11]) leads a new and expanding health economics team.  It will not only assess the cost effectiveness of behavioural and/or community-based interventions, but will work in partnership with public health teams in primary care trusts across the North West of England to compare and evaluate packages of care and screening programmes.

Specific achievements since RAE2001 include:

The identification and publication of important features of an outbreak of syphilis infection that subsequently informed UK-wide NHS and multi-agency-led prevention campaigns (Cook) The provision of accurate information to consumers on the effectiveness of commercially available quick test kits to detect drug-facilitated sexual assault drugs in beverages (Beynon, ECR) Stakeholder engagement to conduct the first full examination of public, business and sex traders’ views on street sex working areas (Bellis) Policy/task-force uptake of findings relating to the development of unique techniques to map obesity in children (Hackett) In response to national policy drivers, the development of national guidance for the NHS on community-based interventions for the reduction of substance misuse amongst vulnerable and disadvantaged young people (Sumnall).

 

Health and Human Performance 

(Crossley, Fairclough-S, Harrison, Lattimore, Law, Malinowski, Montgomery, Sheehy, Sumnall, Tattersall, Wareing)

Health Psychology predominates the research activity within this theme, addressing fundamental questions about the psychological determinants of health behaviours and performance (including performance impairment).   

Our work on health belief models is innovative in the way it has advanced theory by conceptualising a role for maladaptive coping mechanisms in the regulation of health.  The focus on health beliefs and maladaptive coping is linked with our work on stress.  Commissioned by the Health & Safety Executive (£100k, 2004-2007), we are currently concluding our investigations of how awareness and attention to the body and physical symptoms may inflate symptoms of stress-related illness (Fairclough-S, RA2SFAIR4).  Our expertise also specifically relates to eating as a way of coping and how disordered eating represents a challenge to health, particularly in relation to obesity (Lattimore). Health beliefs, coping mechanisms and eating disorders are significant risk factors for suicidality.  Led by Sheehy, research on suicide risk is the focus of novel prospective research in which motor and reading disorders in childhood and subsequent suicide risk in adolescence are being assessed (RA2NSHEE2).  These topics also relate to research into the factors that are likely to enhance the effectiveness of health-behaviour interventions including modelling the impact of health risk communication messages.

Taking a complementary approach, Crossley has pioneered the conceptual development and direct application of ‘narrative psychology’ as a critical perspective to health-related behaviours and illnesses.  The central aim of this approach is to explore how people make sense of traumatising and transitional health-related events through the use of narratives, and in turn, to examine how those narratives connect to the historical, social and political context.  Specific application of this methodology to adaptation to chronic illness and ‘risky’ health-related behaviours has advanced our understanding of risk and importantly ‘resistance’ (RA2MCROS1, RA2MCROS2), bringing with it implications for health education and promotion interventions. 

Mirroring our research strengths in behavioural psychology, the development and application of investigative approaches exploring determinants of human performance and impairment feature strongly within this theme.  Our work to understand brain processes and how they link to human behaviour and performance is particularly relevant from a diagnostic and treatment perspective (Malinowski).  It is the focus of international collaboration with the Institute for Experimental Psychology (University of Leipzig), the University of California, USA (Department of Neurosciences) and the Cuban Neurosciences Centre (Havana).  This area of work focuses on attentional processing and deficits that may be common to a range of neurological diseases.  Likewise, we have also demonstrated how psychophysiological data can be used to inform guidance on physical (work/rest) interventions as coping strategies, alongside wider research activity on the influence of high mental demand and prediction of imbalance in psychological well-being (Fairclough-S). 

Long-standing and strong co-operation with colleagues in LJMUs Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES, 5* RAE2001) enables cross-fertilisation of research expertise and experience, particularly in relation to sleep deprivation and chronobiology.  As above, this is another significant area of experimental research exploring functions of sleep, sleep and the prefrontal cortex, the impact of sleep loss on decision making and the development of sleep and circadian rhythms in young babies (Harrison, RA2YHARR1).  Co-location with RISES has provided access to high quality research facilities in which there has been major investment since RAE2001.

Enhancing the understanding of social cognitive processes in human interaction is the focus of an ESRC Research Fellowship (£129k, 2007-2009).  Under the mentorship of Sheehy, Law (ECR) is investigating the role of executive functions in attentional biases towards faces and eye-gaze.  Using dual task methodology (the impact on one task of doing another at the same time) this work seeks to explain how people exert control over their responses.

It is within this theme that proof of the positive impact of interdisciplinarity fostered by the existence of the IHR can be provided.  The IHR has united researchers investigating the synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of a range of psychoactive amphetamine/ tryptamine ‘designer’ drugs (i.e. the clinical/pharmacological and toxicological aspects of illicit drug use, see Brandt: Biomedical Sciences) with those who aid our understanding of the effects of drug-use on specific functions including behaviour and performance (Montgomery [ECR], Sumnall, Wareing [ECR]).  The different approaches and theoretical perspectives of these researchers have formulated a significant body of knowledge relating to the cognitive performance deficits and MDMA (Ecstasy).

Specific achievements since RAE2001 include:

The application of an innovative approach to the investigation of sustained visual attention, highlighting the potential impact on the diagnosis of various neurological diseases and resulting in publication in Nature (Malinowski) The development and uptake of substance-specific information for users of controlled drugs based on theoretical and behavioural studies of both the long-term impact of drug use on health, performance and welfare and the interaction between the individual and the environment in which decisions are made (Sumnall).

Research Infrastructure

Dedicated research facilities for this UoA span approximately 4,000m2. A significant proportion of laboratory equipment has been acquired with support from the Science Research Investment Fund and the refurbishment of four research laboratories was previously reported to RAE2001.  The University operates a rolling programme of capital works in line with implementation of its strategic property review.  A future (2008+) £30m capital investment project will provide a new/replacement 7,000m2 facility including laboratories for physiological and neuro-psychology, health psychology and experimental psychology research.

Research laboratories are well furnished e.g. [ultra]centrifugation; scanning and transmission electron microscopes, laser confocal microscope, atomic force microscope, DNA sequencer/profiler [capillary system and real-time PCR]; Biorad two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis system and associated software; denaturing and temperature gradient agarose gel electrophoresis systems; new LC-MS and NMR instruments; thermal analysis equipment, including dynamic differential scanning calorimetry; ActiGraph and TriTrac accelerometery; Mocrodiet networked dietary analysis and Petra semi-automatic dietary analysis; Kjeltec™ system; under-water weighing tank; paediatric treadmill.  Ample portable anthropometric, accelerometry and pedometer devices as required for field data collection.  A computing laboratory is housed which uses state-of-the-art molecular modelling software to enhance the understanding and prediction of biological activity of drugs and pesticides and LJMU also supports an animal unit. All laboratories and related research facilities have good, local technical support. 

In addition to laboratory space (where applicable), research students have allocated desk space in designated postgraduate rooms with networked computing and printing facilities.

Research Governance

By its very nature, a large proportion of our research falls under the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care (2nd Edition, 2005), requires adherence to the Data Protection Act 1994 and in some instances the Human Tissue Act 2004. The University has its own central Research Ethics Committee (REC, reporting to Academic Board through the Research and Graduate School Office).  It is a requirement that all research involving human volunteers is approved by the University REC (which includes lay membership) or by a local NHS REC (or Central Allocation System) where applicable.  It operates in accordance with specific ‘Regulations and Guidelines for the use of Human Volunteers in Research Projects, Practical Classes and Consultancy’ which are in turn informed by requirements of Research Councils, the National Research Ethics Service and relevant professional representative bodies.  A sound research governance and ethics culture exists throughout the University which is reflected in the volume of research activity requiring scrutiny.

 

Staffing policy

It is a requirement that all academic appointments carry an obligation to develop a personal research profile.  To achieve this they are supported by a staff development programme. A key element to enhancing research activity has been the introduction of individual performance targets for publication, conference presentation and grant application. The performance expectations increase with seniority. 

An annual invitation for applications for Readerships and Professorships is extended to all academic staff of Senior Lecturer/Grade 8 staff and above.  The stringent process of application involves external review (two external referees) and internal scrutiny by a Conferment Panel comprising Deans of Faculty and the University Director of Research amongst others.

There have been inevitable changes in the critical mass of each of the research groups previously submitted due to the duration of the assessment period and staff departures particularly, but representation of all groups has been sustained.  For information: 11 of the 22 staff submitted to RAE2001 are included here, nine of the original staff have either left the institution, are deceased, or retired.  There is notable growth in the number of staff employed within the Health Promotion (Health-related Behaviour) theme over the assessment period.  Commensurate with the number of staff included in this submission compared to RAE2001, we report an increase/doubling of readers and professors submitted (now ten and eight respectively), the latter in particular reflecting our career development strategy, the quality of research performed by existing staff and a dynamic research culture.  

New appointments are broadly limited to areas presented within the research themes to maintain focus of activity.  This assists new staff in developing their skills to exploit research opportunities and assistance is provided to ensure that the generic skills of research are acquired, e.g. recognition and development of opportunities and guidance in research applications, through individual mentoring and support through theme areas. New Category A appointees over the course of the assessment period are for Health Promotion: Prof. Crossley (2003), Davies-I (2006), Fairclough-SJ (2001), Gee (2005), Lattimore (2004), Law (2007), Malinowski (2003), Montgomery (2005), Porcellato (re-joining LJMU in 2007 after four years at the University of Salford), Prof. Sheehy (2006), Umeh (2004) and for Laboratory-based Health Sciences: Brandt (2005), Burrell (2007), Ehtezazi (2002), Gross (2007), Hemers (2005), Louhelainen (2006), Roberts (2003), Seton (2001), Wainwright (2005).  

Together with a significant number of ECRs, we have confidence in the long-term sustainability of our research profile in all areas within this UoA.

 

Research strategy

In RAE2001 our submission to this UoA received a grade four.  Since then, faculties/schools have been reconfigured (2003), and allowing sufficient time for the new structure to ‘bed-in’, the IHR has been superimposed on that structure (2006).  We now present stronger and more cohesive research themes from those returned in 2001. The timescale since the inauguration of the IHR does not allow the full effect to be shown in the present exercise, but we can point to a substantial improvement in the quality and quantity of research income and outputs (including publication in high impact journals such as Gastroenterology, Nature, Cancer Research and Clinical Chemistry).

The IHR will facilitate fulfillment of our main objectives for the next five years.  In brief these are to: 

  • sustain the upward trajectory in the number and quality of research outputs and depth of experience by providing an environment and infrastructure to support and retain staff and students within each of the research themes
  • widen the exposure of staff to opportunities for national and international collaboration and interaction with the user community, other academics and industrial stakeholders
  • increase the number of studentships particularly Research Council studentships awarded
  • sustain the amount of external funding overall, with an increase in that awarded from highly competitive sources such as the Research Councils

More specifically, we highlight the following areas of research as being of strategic importance and as having the greatest potential to impact on human health: 

  • over the next four years the designation of WHO Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention will enable greater focus on prevention measures that aim to tackle the root causes of violence in families, communities and society, and consequently to prevent violence developing in future generations
  • to maximise our involvement in the field of cardiovascular diseases and cancer as the outcomes of LYCOCARD® emerge, and proactively seek new collaborations at all levels to influence the dietary habits of the wider population
  • to capitalise on collaboration with GERI on the mechanics of cell structure in relation to susceptibility for anti-cancer treatment
  • as part of the UK Clinical Research Network, support the national research network to undertake important clinical studies into the safety and effectiveness of medicines for children
  • to capitalise on interdisciplinary expertise on behavioural and experimental approaches to aid our understanding of the determinants of health and performance impairment, with particular reference to risk behaviour and resistance to health promotion/social marketing campaigns

Subtle changes to and in our interpretation of the UoA descriptor since RAE2001 have increased the breadth of our submission here which makes direct comparison with our research strategy at that time difficult.  The presence and influence of the IHR is also now reflected within our strategic objectives.  We have exceeded the metric-based research targets for this UoA set in 2001 (income, research student completions) and can demonstrate considerable progression in the majority of activity-based targets.  These include our neutraceutical research in relation to coronary heart disease prevention and the unprecedented growth in the staff-base for Health Promotion. 

Whilst the majority of our health-related funding has historically been derived from local governmental sources (primary care trusts, local authorities) through competitive tender, our own financial monitoring systems have demonstrated a shift in this profile whereby funding that has been awarded at a national level now predominates.  This shift is an indicator of financial stability and sustainability on which staff can capitalise on through IHR membership.

The nature and extent of our collaboration with service users and industry are detailed within the research theme narratives above. Additionally, we have shown where research evidence has fed into professional and industrial practice.  Together with strong leadership in each area and a significant presence within influential policy and strategic networks, we operate from platforms that enable us to prepare and respond to national and international priorities.

Esteem Indicators

Staff continue to make important contributions to the research environment external to the institution, thereby maintaining our high national and international profile.  In addition to the selected activities listed below, collective measures of peer esteem are provided here for established staff (i.e. non-ECR): twenty staff have delivered at least one invited research-related address at major conferences fifteen staff have delivered at least one keynote research paper, two-thirds of which were at international conferences editorial board membership positions have been occupied by fifteen staff (several staff undertake this role for more than one journal), including the following journals: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Toxicology, Neurotoxicology, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Advanced Nursing.  These activities are in addition to grant referee, MPhil/PhD examination and journal referee activities undertaken by all staff included in this submission.

Bellis: member of WHO expert advisory groups for Policy, Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence; acts as UK Focal Point for Violence and Injury for the WHO; Chair of the EuroSafe Working Group on Violence; expert advisor on drug prevention to the United Nations, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Council of Europe; member of DoH Expert Advisory Group on Alcohol-related Harm; member of EU Task Force on Youth-Specific aspects of Alcohol.

Beynon (ECR): invited member of the Royal College of Nursing Drug-facilitated Sexual Assault Working Group, and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ Hepatitis C Prevention Working Group; keynote address at 2nd National Conference on Reducing Drug-Related Deaths (Manchester: November 2006). 

Billington: current PhD supervisions include the winner of the 2007 award for the best Anglo-Thai student in the UK (Science [including medicine] category); invited presentation at the Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting 2007 (Bangkok: November 2007); Chair of the Heads of University Centres for Biomedical Science (2005-08); RAE2008 Panel Member (Panel C, Sub-Panel 12).

Cook: member of the English HIV Commissioners Group.

Crossley: keynote addresses at 3rd Conference on Critical Health Psychology (Auckland: April 2003) and 12th European Congress of Sport Psychology (Greece: September 2007).

Dearden (Category C): invited to join EU REACH Working Party on methods for determining physiochemical properties of Chemicals (2006); invited presentation to the Gordon Research Conference (New Hampshire: 2003); recipient of the International QSAR Award 2004 in recognition of significant contributions to the advancement of QSAR in environmental sciences.

Fairclough-SJ: member of NICE Programme Development Group on children’s physical activity; founder member (Deputy Chair) of the Research into Exercise, Activity and Children’s Health (REACH) Group: a focal point for paediatric physical activity research; British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences accredited sport and exercise science interdisciplinary researcher.

Fairclough-S: Director, European Chapter of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society from 2006; President-elect, Psychophysiology in Ergonomics, International Ergonomics Association, 2007.

Ford: member of the International Editorial Advisory Board, Encyclopaedia of Pharmaceutical Technology; elected Senior Vice Chairman, Thermal Methods Group, Royal Society of Chemistry (2003-4); plenary lectures include ‘Improving Compaction properties’ Solid Dosage Form Manufacturing, FMC Biopolymer (Brussels: October 2003).

Gee: member of the Board of the International Society of the Built Environment.

Gross (ECR): invited speaker to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Translational Control Meeting in both 2004 and 2006 (USA).

Hackett: keynote address at 2008 international meeting of the Association for the Study of Obesity; invited member of the ‘Big Noise’ Social Marketing Group; invited workshop at the Education Management Exchange National Data Conference: Collecting and using data in schools to measure nutritional standards and improve the health of schoolchildren (London: February, 2006).

Hemers (ECR): won the ‘Young Investigator’ award at the 15th International Symposium on Regulatory Peptides (Toulouse: September 2004). 

Hobbs: keynote address and symposium Chair at the 159th Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology (York: September 2006); invited speaker at the 13th International Symposium on the Biology of Actinomycestes (Melbourne: December 2003).

Hughes-K: member of the Advisory Panel for the Orientation and Integration of Local and National Alcohol Policy; keynote address Eurocare Bridging the Gap conference (Helsinki: November 2006); invited speaker at the EMCDDA expert meeting on environmental prevention measures to reduce alcohol-related harm (Lisbon: June 2006).

Law (ECR): awarded ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2007-9.

Lock (Category C): Fellow British Toxicology Society; member of Programme Committee American Society Toxicology.

Louhelainen (ECR): invited address at the 6th World Congress on Advanced Oncology (Crete: 2001).

Lowe: invited presentation at the 2001 Gordon Research Conference (could not attend due to illness); invited address at the Fat Soluble Vitamins meeting (Jena, Germany: March 2006).

Madden: invited participant at Rainbow workshop (Milan: December 2006); invited speaker at e-ChemInfo Community of Practice meeting (Philadelphia: October 2007).

McVeigh: member of the DoH Steering Group on Coastal & Ex Mining Drugs Projects; invited to UN Office for Drugs & Crime (West Africa) Expert Group meeting for the development of a demand reduction training manual (Dakar: 2005).

Rahman: plenary speaker (2) and invited Chair, Garlic Symposium (Washington: April 2006); invited address at the Indochina Pharma Symposium (Vietnam: November 2005) and the 18th FAOBMB Symposium (Lahore: November 2005); invited Chair, Global Conference on Heart Disease (Winnipeg: October 2006).

Roberts (ECR): invited address at ‘Challenges in Oral Drug Delivery’ Science Symposium at the British Pharmaceutical Conference, 2007; Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences commended poster at BPC 2006.

Seton: grant referee for EPSRC and the Science Foundation, Ireland; invited member of the Particle Technology Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Sheehy: ESRC Virtual College Member, 2002-6; Executive Board Member, Economic & Social Research Institute, Dublin (1992-2006); Commissioning Panel, ESRC First Grants Awards, 2006; International Advisory Group Member, Asia-Europe Environmental Technology Centre, Thailand (2000-4); Chief Scientist Office Health Services Research Committee, Scotland 2006-7.

Sumnall: invited member of the Young People’s Drug Strategy Evidence Working Group (a cross-Governmental group tasked with developing elements of the new UK Drugs Strategy to be launched in 2008); member of EMCDDA Expert Group on prevention and population prevalence of drugs; invited member of cross-governmental Evidence Based Steering Group of the National Young People and Drugs Programme Board; invited panel member to discuss the UK experience of drug prevention at the Society for Prevention Research meeting (Washington: May 2007).  

Tattersall: Visiting Professor (since 2006) University of Fribourg, Switzerland; ‘Lathom Lecture’ on Work-life Balance at Pilkington’s European Technology Centre, 2003.

Tocque: invited member of the Census, Neighbourhood Statistics, Population Registers Health Service Advisory Group; member of the DoH/HPA Sexual Health Data Group (2001 to 2004); invited member of the Statistics and Public Health Domain Reference Group, providing independent assurance and sign-off processes on information standards for use within the NHS; grant referee for Hong Kong Government Research Council.

Wainwright: invited speaker at American Society of Photobiology conference (Puerto Rico: 2006).

Wareing (ECR): invited speaker at the British Association for Psychopharmacology Post-doctoral Symposium (Harrogate: July 2007).