- Professor Kat Smith
- Professor of Public Health Policy & Director of Research (SSPS)
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
- 2.27 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
- +44 (0)131 651 1323
PhD, University of Edinburgh, 2008; MSc (by Research), University of Edinburgh, 2004; MA (Hons) Geography, University of Edinburgh, 2002.
Over the past ten years Kat's main research focus has been the construction, translation and impact on policy of academic and other 'expert' knowledges. She is particularly interested in policies affecting public health (especially health inequalities). Kat'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 influence policies affecting health outcomes (including by employing 'experts' and research-based ideas). Kat 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 book series, Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy, which Kat co-edits with Sotiria Grek (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 which won First Prize in Public Health in the 2016 BMA Medical Book Awards. Kat is currently Co-Director of SKAPE (Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy at Edinburgh) and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary journal Evidence & Policy.
In 2015, Kat 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 "to recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising." Kat 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 - for more information about this research, please see the project website. You can see Kat talking about some of her research here & here.
Kat's Edinburgh Research Explorer listing can be accessed here.
Kat is based in the Global Health Policy Unit, and lectures on the following courses: 'Population health and health policy', 'Social determinants of health & public policy' and 'Advocacy, lobbying and health policy'.
Kat currently supervises the following seven PhD students: Justyna Bandola-Gill (understanding and assessing knowledge exchange and research impact initiatives in UK university settings); Rachel Barry (corporate interests in the legal marijuana sector); Taya Collyer (disciplinary differences in studying health inequalities); Katie Hirono (Supporting health and wellbeing through community-informed policymaking); Blanca Kao (how non-health policymakers think about, and respond to, health issues at a local level in Scotland, including via Health Impact Assessment); Rob Ralston (food policy networks in England and Scotland); and Alex Wright (the implementation of Scotland's national alcohol strategy at local level). Supervisees who have recently graduated with PhDs: Rachel Hendrick ('Managing or Maintaining Bias? Examining the System for Regulating Conflicts of Interest in Medical Journal Publishing'); & Becky Hewer ('"Our (In)Ability to Speak": Interpretations and Representations of Prostitution in an English Policy Context').
Smith, K.E., Bambra, C. and Hill, S.E. (2016) (Eds) Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. [Awarded First Prize in Public Health in the BMA 2016 Medical Book Awards]
Smith, K.E. (2013) Beyond Evidence Based Policy in Public Health: The Interplay of Ideas Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hunter, D.J., Marks, L., Smith, K.E. (2010) The Public Health System in England. Bristol: Policy Press.
Editorials, comments and reviews
Smith, K.E., (2016) Editorial: The pursuit of ignorance - The UK’s anti-lobbying clause will jeopardise evidence informed policy making. BMJ, 352 :i1446.
Smith, K.E., Dorfman, L., Freudenberg, N., Hawkins, B., Hilton, S., Razum, O., Weishaar, H. (2016) Opinion: Tobacco, alcohol and processed food industries – why do public health practitioners view them so differently? Front. Public Health 4:64. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00064.
Katikireddi, V., Smith, K.E., Stuckler, D. and McKee, M. (2016) Perspectives: Devolution of power, revolution in public health? Journal of Public Health, Online first. DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw031.
Smith, K.E. (2015) Book Review Essay: Shaping global health policy: global social policy actors and ideas about health care systems. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 32(1): 74-77.
Collin, J., Hill, S. and Smith, K.E. (2015) Comment: Merging alcohol giants threaten global health. BMJ, 351:h6087.
Smith, K.E. and Schrecker, T. (2015) Theorising Health Inequalities: Introduction to a double special issue. Social Theory & Health, 13(3): 219–226.
Smith, K.E. and Collin, J. (2013) Scotland and the public health politics of independence BMJ 347:f7595 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f7595.
Katikireddi, S.V., Higgins, M., Smith, K.E. and Williams, G. (2013) Editorial: Health Inequalities – The Need to Move Beyond Bad Behaviours. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 67(9): 715-716.
Special issues of journals
Smith, K.E. and Schrecker, T. (2015) A double special issue of Social Theory & Health focusing on theorising health inequalities.
Smith, K.E. & Anderson, R. (2018) Understanding Lay Perspectives on Socioeconomic Health Inequalities in Britain: A meta-ethnography. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40(1): 146-170.
Smith, K.E. and Stewart, E. (2017) We Need to Talk about Impact: Why Social Policy Academics need to Engage with the UK’s Research Impact Agenda. Journal of Social Policy, 46(1): 109-127. [Awarded the 2018 Cambridge University Press Award for Excellence in Social Policy Scholarship]
oswell, C. and Smith, K.E. (2017) Rethinking Policy ‘Impact’: Four Models of Research-Policy Relations. Palgrave Communications, 4, Article Number 44 (2017).
Smith, K.E. and Stewart, E. (2017) Academic Advocacy in Public Health: Disciplinary ‘Duty’ or Political ‘Propaganda’? Social Science & Medicine, 189: 35-43.
Cullen, D., Smith, K.E. and Collin, J. (2017) ‘Half-Cut' Science: A qualitative examination of alcohol industry actors' use of peer-reviewed evidence in policy submissions on Minimum Unit Pricing’, Evidence & Policy.
Collin, J., Hill, S., Eltanani, M., Plotnikova, E., Ralston, R., Smith, K.E. (2017) Can public health reconcile profits and pandemics? An analysis of attitudes to commercial sector engagement in health policy and research. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0182612. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182612
Hirono, K. and Smith, K.E. (2017) Australia’s $40 per pack cigarette tax plans: the need to consider equity (Special Communincation), Tobacco Control, Published Online First: 10 April 2017. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-05360.
Wright, A., Smith, K.E. and Hellowell, M. (2017) Policy lessons from health taxes: a systematic review of empirical studies. BMC Public Health, 17: 583.
Hellowell, M., Smith, K.E. and Wright, A. (2016) Hard to Avoid but Difficult to Sustain: Scotland’s Innovative Health Tax on Large Retailers Selling Tobacco and Alcohol. The Milbank Quarterly, 94(4): 800- 831.
Shortt, N., Mitchell, R., Pearce, N. and Smith, K.E. (2016) Taking health geography out of the academy: measuring academic impact. Social Science & Medicine, 168(16): 265-272.
Garthwaite, K., Smith, K.E., Bambra, C. and Pearce, J. (2016) Desperately Seeking Reductions in Health Inequalities: Perspectives of UK researchers on past, present and future directions in health inequalities research. Sociology of Health & Illness, 38(3): 459–478.
Smith, K.E. (2015) Understanding Responses to the Political Context of Health Inequalities in Research and Policy: How post-structural theories of power can help. Social Theory & Health, 13(4): 355-76.
Stewart, E. and Smith, K.E. (2015) Black magic and gold dust: The epistemic and political uses of ‘evidence tools’ in public health policy-making. Evidence & Policy, 11(3): 415-37.
Scott-Samuel, A. and Smith, K.E. (2015) Fantasy Paradigms of Health Inequalities: utopian thinking? Social Theory & Health, 13(4): 418–36.
Smith, K.E., Fooks, G., Gilmore, A.B., Collin, J. and Weishaar, H. (2015) Corporate coalitions and policymaking in the European Union: How and why British American Tobacco promoted ‘Better Regulation’. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 40(2): 325-72.
Kapilashrami, A., Smith, K.E., Fustukian, S., Kandalik Eltanani, M., Laughlin, S., Robertson, T., Muir, J., Gallova, E. and Scandrett, E. (2015) Social movements and public health advocacy in action: the UK people's health movement. Journal of Public Health, advanced online access doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdv085 (first published online: June 26, 2015).
Smith, K.E. and Kandlik Eltanani, M. (2015) What kinds of policies to reduce health inequalities in the UK do researchers support? Journal of Public Health. 37(1): 6-17. [Editor’s Choice]
Smith, K.E. & Stewart, E. (2014). Influencing policy - public health advocacy and health inequalities. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 44(4), 316-321.
Smith, K.E. (2014) The Politics of Ideas: The complex interplay of health inequalities research and policy. Science and Public Policy, 41(5): 561-574 doi:10.1093/scipol/sct085.
Scott-Samuel, A., Bambra, C., Collins, C., Hunter, D.J., McCartney, G. and Smith, K.E. (2014) The impact of Thatcherism on health and wellbeing in Britain. International Journal of Health Services, 44(1): 53–71.
Smith, K.E. (2013) Understanding the Influence of Evidence in Public Health Policy: What can we learn from the 'tobacco wars'? Social Policy & Administration, 47(4): 382–398.
Smith, K.E., Kay, L. and Torres, J. (2013) Think Tanks as Research Mediators? Case Studies from Public Health. Evidence & Policy, 9(3): 371-390.
Smith, K.E. and Katikireddi, S.V. (2013) A Glossary of Theories for Understanding Policymaking. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 67(2):198-202.
Smith, K.E. (2013) Institutional Filters: The Translation and Re-Circulation of Ideas about Health Inequalities within Policy. Policy & Politics, 41(1): 81-100.http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/030557312X655413
Smith, K.E., Savell, E. & Gilmore, A. (2012) What is known about tobacco industry efforts to influence tobacco tax? A systematic review of empirical studies. Tobacco Control, 22(2):144–53.
Bauld, L., McKell, J., Hay, G., Carroll, C. & Smith, K.E. (2012) Benefits and employment: how problem drug users experience welfare and routes into work. Journal of Social Policy, 41(4): 751-768.
Weishaar, H., Collin, J., Smith, K.E., Grüning, T., Mandal, S. & Gilmore, A. (2012) Global Health Governance and the Commercial Sector: A Documentary Analysis of Tobacco Company Strategies to Influence the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. PLoS Med 9(6): e1001249. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001249
Shirane, R., Smith, K.E., Ross, H., Silver, K.E., Williams, S. & Gilmore, A. (2012) Tobacco Industry Manipulation of Tobacco Excise and Tobacco Advertising Policies in the Czech Republic: An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents. PLoS Med 9(6): e1001248. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001248
Smith, K.E. (2012) Fools, Facilitators and Flexians: Academic Identities in Marketised Environments. Higher Education Quarterly, 66(2): 155-73.
Smith, K.E. and Hellowell, M. (2012) Beyond Rhetorical Difference: A cohesive account of post-devolution developments in UK health policy. Social Policy & Administration, 46(2): 178-198.
Smith, K.E. & Joyce, K.E. (2012) Capturing Complex Realities - Understanding Efforts to Achieve Evidence-Based Policy and Practice in Public Health. Evidence & Policy, 8(1): 57-78.
Bambra, C., Smith, K.E., Garthwaite, K., Joyce, K.E. Hunter, D.J. (2011) A labour of Sisyphus? Public policy and health inequalities research in the UK from the Black and Acheson Reports to the Marmot Review. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65: 399-406.
Fooks, G., Gilmore, A.B., Smith, K.E., Collins, J., Holden, C. & Lee, K. (2011) Corporate Social Responsibility and Access to Policy Élites: an Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents. PLoS Medicine, 8(8): e1001076. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001076.
Bambra, C., Smith, K.E. (2010)"No longer deserving"? Sickness benefit reform and the politics of (ill) health in the UK. Critical Public Health, 20(1): 71-83.
Smith, K.E.(2010) Research, Policy and Funding - Academic treadmills and the squeeze on intellectual spaces. The British Journal Of Sociology, 61(1): 176-195.
Perkins, N., Smith, K.E., Hunter, D. J., Bambra, C., Joyce, K. (2010) "What counts is what works"? New Labour and partnerships in public health. Policy & Politics, 38(1): 101-117.
Joyce, K.E., Smith, K.E., Sullivan, C., Bambra, C. (2010) 'Most of industry's shutting down up here. . .': Employability initiatives to tackle worklessness in areas of low labour market demand. Social Policy & Society, 9(03):337-363.
Smith, K. E., Gilmore, A. B., Fooks, G., Collin, J., Weishaar, H. (2009) Tobacco industry attempts to undermine Article 5.3 and the "good governance" trap. Tobacco Control,18(6): 509-511.
Smith, K.E., Bambra, C., Joyce, K. E., Perkins, N., Hunter, D. J., Blenkinsopp, E. A. (2009) Partners in health? A systematic review of the impact of organizational partnerships on public health outcomes in England between 1997 and 2008. Journal of Public Health, 31(2): 210-221.
Harrington, B., Smith, K.E., Hunter, D., Marks, L., Blackman, T., McKee, L., Greene, A., Elliott, E., Williams, G. (2009) Health inequalities in England, Scotland and Wales: Stakeholders' accounts and policy compared. Public Health, 123(1): e24-e28.
Blackman, T., Elliott, E., Greene, A., Harrington, B., Hunter, D., Marks, L., McKee, L., Smith, K.E., Williams, G. (2009) Tackling health inequalities in post-devolution Britain: Do targets matter? Public Administration, 87(4): 762-778.
Smith, K.E. (2006) Problematising power relations in "elite" interviews. Geoforum, 37(4): 643-653.
Ralston, R. and Smith, K.E. (in press) Congruence and incoherence: public health governance and policy in a devolved UK, Chapter 9, in Bevir & Waring (eds) Decentring Health Policy: Learning from British Experiences in Healthcare Governance. Forthcoming with Routledge in 2018.
Smith, K.E., Brown, K. and Foster, J. (in press) Alcohol related harm and health inequalities. Chapter in Bonner, A. (ed) Social Determinants of Health: An interdisciplinary approach to Social Inequality and Wellbeing. Forthcoming with Policy Press.
Smith, K.E. (2017) Beyond ‘evidence-based policy’ in a ‘post-truth’ world: the role of ideas in public health policy. Chapter 8 in Hudson, J., Needham, C. & Heins, E. (eds) Social Policy Review 29: Analysis and debate in social policy: pp153-76.
Smith, K.E. (2017) In their own words: What does qualitative research tell us about how people in the UK understand the impacts of socioeconomic disadvantage on their mental health and risk factors for suicide? A review of the available evidence. Chapter in Platt, S., Stace, S. and Morrissey, J. (eds.) Dying From Inequality: Socioeconomic Distadvantage and Suicidal Behaviour. London: Samaritans.
Smith, K.E. and Haux, T. (2017) Evidence-Based Policymaking. Chapter 8 in Greve, B. (ed.) Handbook of Social Policy Evaluation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. (2016) Background and Introduction: UK Experiences of Health Inequalities. Chapter 1 in Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives.
Smith, K.E. and Garthwaite, K. (2016) Contrasting views on ways forward for health inequalities researchers. Chapter 6 in Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives.
Barr, B., Bambra, C. and Smith, K.E. (2016) For the good of the cause: generating evidence to inform social policies that reduce health inequalities. Chapter 18 in in Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives.
Smith, K.E., Stewart, E., Donnelly, P. and McKendrick, B. (2016) Influencing policy with research – public health advocacy and health inequalities. Chapter 19 in Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives.
Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. (2016) Where next for advcoates, researchers and policymakers trying to tackle health inequalities? Chapter 21 in Chapter 1 in Smith, K.E., Hill, S. and Bambra, C. Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives.
Katikireddi, S.V. and Smith, K.E. (2014) Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in Scotland in M. Hill (ed.) Studying Public Policy: An International Approach. Bristol: Policy Press: 239-53.
Smith, K.E. & Bambra, C. (in press) 'British and Northern Irish Experiences' in Raphael, D. (ed.) Tackling Health Inequalities: Lessons from International Experiences. Toronto: CSPI.
Bambra, C., Smith, K.E. and Kennedy, L. (2008) Politics and Health, Chapter 8 in Naidoo, J. and Wills, J. (eds) Health Studies - An Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 257-286.
Smith, K.E. and Freeman, R. (2014) A New Politics of Knowledge? Exploring the contested boundaries between science, knowledge and policy. LSE Impact Blog, 27th May 2014.
Smith, K.E. and Stewart, E. (2013) “Maybe we just need to be a little bit more… sexy?”: What is ‘public health advocacy’ and should health inequalities researchers be doing it? Cost of Living Blog, 8th November 2013.
Mandal, S., Gilmore, A.B., Collin, J., Weishaar, H., Smith, K.E. and McKee, M. (2012) Block, amend, delay: tobacco industry efforts to influence the European Unionâ€™s Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC).
Smith, K.E. & Meer, N. (2012) REF's effort to make knowledge visible may have cloudy results. Times Higher Education Supplement, Thursday 23rd February 2012.
International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization (IARC). (In press) Handbook Volume 14 - Effectiveness of Tax and Price Policies for Tobacco Control. IARC: Lyon. [Smith, K.E. was one of the members of the Working Group which authored this handbook].
Smith, K.E., Gilmore, A., Fooks, G. (2013) How and why tobacco companies have been promoting risk assessment in the USA and European Union. Panel included in Chapter 2 of Late Lessons from Early Warnings Volume 2. The European Environment Agency.
Smokefree Partnership (2010) The origin of EU Better Regulation - The Disturbing Truth. Brussels: the Smokefree Partnership. [This report was authored by Smith, K.E. and Gilmore, A. and published by the Smokefree Partnership for a launch event in the European Parliament.]
ASH (2010) The smoke filled room: How big tobacco influences health policy in the UK. London: ASH. [This report is largely based on research undertaken by Smith, K.E., Gilmore, A., Fooks, G., Weishaar, H. and Collin, J.]
Gilmore A, Fooks G, Smith KE, Collin J. Tobacco companies set up smokescreen over lobbying activity. Guardian 20th January 2010.
Smith, K. E., Gilmore, A., Collin, J., & Fooks, G. (2008) Confidential Briefing: Tobacco industry influence on European Union policymaking: implications for Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Supplied to non-governmental organizations and policymakers in advance of the World Health Organization Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, held in Durban, South Africa in November 2008.
Smith, K.E. (2008) Health Inequalities in Scotland and England: The translation of ideas between research and policy. Ph.D. thesis at the University of Edinburgh.
Joyce, K.E., Smith, K.E., Bambra, C. (2008) 'Tackling worklessness: evaluation of a multi-intervention worklessness and health programme in Sedgefield, County Durham.' Report prepared for Sedgefield Borough Council.
Hunter, D.J., Marks, L. and Smith, K.E. (2007) The Public Health System in England: A Scoping Study. A report commissioned by the NHS Service and Delivery Organisation.