Areas of Interest: alcohol industry,Health inequalities,Policy studies,Policy evaluation,alcohol policy,Advocacy
Personal Website: http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/staff/social_policy/katherine_smith
Twitter Profile: @KatSmithInEd
Description: Katherine's main research focus is on understanding who is able to influence the policies that impact on public health, how and why. Her work in this area has included research exploring how each of the following groups works to influence policy: academics and other researchers; corporations and business interests (including think tanks and consultancies); and third sector/NGOs. She is particularly interested in policies affecting health inequalities, which is connected to her broader concerns with social justice and uneven power relations. Katherine's recent research explores: (i) the role that different genres of ideas (institutionalised, charismatic and vehicular) play in promoting or restricting policy change: (ii) how policy shapes research activities and the ideas promoted by academics to potential research 'users', including via funding opportunities (and perceptions of those opportunities); (iii) the ways in which large corporations (especially tobacco industry and alcohol industry actors) influence policies affecting health outcomes (including by employing 'experts' and research-based ideas). Katherine brought much of this work together in a 2013 book, entitled Beyond Evidence Based Policy in Public Health: The Interplay of Ideas. This book is part of a new book series, Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy, which Katherine co-edits with Richard Freeman (suggestions for contributions to this series are welcome). She has also recently co-edited (with Sarah Hill and Clare Bambra) Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives, published by Oxford University Press in 2016. Katherine recently completed a two-year project funded through an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant exploring the role of: (i) third sector organisations and private actors in mediating public health knowledge; and (ii) 'evidence tools' (e.g. impact assessments, systematic reviews, cost-benefit analysis) as means of improving the use of public health evidence in decision-making. In 2014, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Sociology and Social Policy. These prizes are awarded by the Leverhulme Trust and is using the funding provided through this award to undertake research examining public perceptions of health inequalities using a national survey and deliberative democracy approaches. You can see Katherine talking about her research here.