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Professor Kat Smith

Professor of Public Health Policy
I am a Professor of Public Health Policy at the Strathclyde School of Social Work and Social Policy and Honorary Professor at the School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh (where I previously worked). I am currently involved in the following five areas of research: (i) research exploring public, policy and academic understandings of health inequalities in the UK (supported by grants from the ESRC and by my 2014 Philip Leverhulme Prize award), which uses a combination of surveys, deliberative mini-publics, interviews and documentary analysis; (ii) research examining innovative health taxes, which is exploring the potential for different types of taxes in a range of different income settings (this includes work focusing on Scotland, which is funded by an ESRC impact accelerator award); (iii) research exploring the impacts of the UK's research impact agenda; (iv) I am leading a policy-focused workstream of SIPHER, a UKPRP funded consortium that is working to support policymakers to achieve an upstream shift in policy responses to public health and health inequalities via a complex systems modelling support tool; and (v) I am also involved in a separate UKPRP funded consortium called SPECTRUM, for which I will be helping to develop deliberative approaches to examining public preferences for tackling the costs of unhealthy commodity products (alcohol, cigarettes, ultra-processed food, etc). My earlier research (undertaken at the universities of Edinburgh, Bath and Durham) involved analysing corporate (particularly tobacco industry) efforts to influence EU and European Member State policies, comparatively assessing UK policies to tackle health inequalities, and evaluating national and local strategies to improve public health in the devolved UK. These various projects have been written up in various journal articles, a monograph entitled ‘Beyond Evidence-Based Public Health Policy: The Interplay of Ideas (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2013), a co-authored book on The Impact Agenda (2020, Policy Press) and a British Medical Association award-winning edited collection, ‘Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives’ (Oxford University Press 2016). I am currently Co-Editor-in-Chief of Evidence & Policy and Co-Editor of the book series Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge & Policy.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • The dynamics of policy change;
  • The interplay between evidence, expertise, policy and practice;
  • Policy efforts to reduce health inequalities (and related social and economic inequalities);
  • Innovation in health taxes;
  • Efforts by external actors (corporations, advocacy groups and academics) to influence public policy.

Understanding and supporting public engagement in efforts to strengthen the use of evidence in public policy.


Deliberative DemocracyHealth InequalitiesHealth TaxesInclusive GrowthKnowledge Translation