Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The Centre for Public Health Research (CPHR) provides world-leading, applied public health research solutions to real world problems from a range of public health disciplines. The centre also supports the translation of this research into practice, policy, and local communities, which improves the health of the public through research.

The Centre enables, facilitates, identifies and disseminates public health research in co-production, both internally across the University and externally with commissioners and communities locally, nationally and internationally.

The work of the research centre is embedded within the University's grand challenge themes and teaching programmes. Research is organised around two themes in which members of CPHR have achieved national and international prominence:

  • Public Health Interventions and Disease Prevention
  • Translational Public Health

These themes are underpinned by our strong methodological expertise in qualitative and quantitative research methods, systematic reviewing, service and intervention evaluation, intervention development, co-production, and embedded research, and add values to the University’s enterprise and impact strategy.

CPHR works collaboratively across the other research centres and actively encourages and supports co-produced multi-disciplinary research through partnerships with practitioners and students. By working in partnership on these themes we aim to develop research capacity and opportunities to get involved in public health research which has real-world, pragmatic impact within the School, with other centres and our external partners.

CPHR has strong links within leading regional and national infrastructures, such as Fuse (Fuse - the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health), NIHR SPHR (NIHR School for Public Health Research) and the NIHR ARC NENC (NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for the North East and North Cumbria).  Part of Fuse and hosted at Teesside University is AskFuse, a responsive research and evaluation service. Since June 2013, AskFuse has supported over 382 enquiries, resulting in over 50 funded projects, working with more than 150 partners in Local Authorities, the NHS, general practice, and voluntary and community organisations across the North East and beyond. The service has been recognised nationally for its innovation and generation of impact from research.

The Centre is led by a team of internationally recognised topic experts supported by Research Fellows, Associates, and PhD students. Academic staff and researchers working in the centre have an extensive publication and funding portfolio.


Our research has been, and is, supported by many funding agencies, including National Institute for Health Research, Public Health England, Economic and Social Research Council, Health Foundation, School for Public Health Research, Clinical Research Network NENC, local government and charities.

We have collaborative bonds with colleagues from all five Universities across the North East (Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland), several European Union countries (e.g., the Netherlands, Sweden) and also from many other countries, such as USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Chile and Colombia.

Members of CPHR publish in prestigious outlets, including PLOS One, British Journal of Nutrition, Caries Research, Nature Scientific Reports, The Lancet, BMC Public Health, BMC Health Services Research, BMJ Open, Journal of Public Health, Health Research Policy and Systems, and Evidence and Policy.


Our research has significant public health impact. We have worked closely with the World Health Organisation to provide evidence and advice to support the revised publication of fluoride monitoring guidelines; helping countries to plan effective surveillance systems for community prevention programmes using fluoride. Our experimentally-based models to estimate total daily fluoride intake from urinary fluoride excretion data, developed in collaboration with University of Chile/Chile, Antioquia University/Colombia, and Newcastle University/UK was also the basis for the WHO fluoride monitoring guidelines, published in 2014.

We collaborated with nine globally recognised fluoride research centres, on a US NIH-NICDR funded project, to develop standardised techniques for determining the fluoride content of biological and non-biological samples. We then led/co-led several projects in which fluoride contents of >750 commercially available foods and drinks were measured; resulting in the subsequent development of a unique fluoride database. Our unique fluoride database provided food safety surveillance information for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to carry out a total diet study on fluoride intake in Ireland.

Other examples include babyClear, HYPER, the impact of Universal Credit and Bump to Buggy, which are provided as short case studies below.

babyClear©: Natural experimental evaluation of a complex intervention to promote increased smoking cessation rates among pregnant women in maternity care

Teesside researchers worked in partnership with Fresh North East (the regional tobacco control office), midwives and stop smoking staff to implement and evaluate babyClear©, a system-wide service reconfiguration. Results showed that quit rates in pregnancy nearly doubled, and there was a significant increase in birthweight among quitters’ babies. 

HYPER (Hearing Young People's Views on Energy Drinks: Research) Study

Teesside researchers explored the views and experiences of energy drinks, involving pupils (aged 10-14), staff and parents from four schools in County Durham. An information leaflet was developed with local parents and used in schools and dentist surgeries across County Durham along with an animated video which health practitioners use when they visit young people. The findings received international media coverage and contributed to a national campaign. UK supermarkets subsequently banned the sale of energy drinks to under-16s. A government inquiry acknowledged the study, and the research team gave evidence to the Science and Technology Committee on the effects of energy drinks on young people’s mental and physical health. Banning the sale of energy drinks to children was included in the government’s childhood obesity plan.

The impact of the roll-out of Universal Credit in 2 North East England localities: a qualitative study

As part of a strategic research partnership with Gateshead Council, Teesside researchers explored the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit in two North East localities. The research revealed a complicated, dysfunctional and punitive system, prone to administrative errors. Lead researcher Mandy Cheetham met Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in November 2018 when he visited the UK, and gave evidence to the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International in person about the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit. Further dissemination and national and local media related activities were undertaken following the publication of the Universal Credit research report, including publications in The Guardian, Public Sector Reform and in BMJ news.

The researchers submitted evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee about the impact of Universal Credit, which was published, and have been involved in developing a Universal Credit theatre performance, based on the embedded research, funded by Gateshead Council.

Bump to Buggy: Physical Activity in Pregnancy project

Bump to Buggy is a multi-agency project involving Fuse, Teesside University, Nouveau Wellbeing, Tees Valley Sport and local councils. It is developing ways to help pregnant women and new mothers to overcome barriers to physical activity. The Sport England funded project is supporting Teesside University PhD student Dr Murali Subramanian to develop a tailored intervention based on mixed methods systematic reviews. As part of the Nouveau Wellbeing 10th Anniversary celebrations in November 2018, The Bump to Buggy project won the Community Partnership award.


Dive into the research topics where Centre for Public Health is active. These topic labels come from the works of this organisation's members. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or