Working life (public health academic)

This page provides information on the wide variety of activities involved in being a public health academic.

Very broadly, your duties and responsibilities as a public health academic will fall into four main areas:

Meeting of public health academics


This may include:

  • planning research – such as generating and developing research questions; designing a project or study; writing funding proposals
  • conducting research – for example conducting interviews, administering surveys and questionnaires and analysing the data they generate; critically analysing the existing research in an area of study; determining and applying appropriate research methods; evaluating the success of a research project
  • managing the research – for example tracking the progress of the research and managing the finances associated with it
  • communicating research findings – for example presenting research findings in academic journals or books, at conferences and events, in the media such as radio, TV or internet


This may include:

  • the planning and delivery of learning sessions and modules, lectures and courses on a Master’s or PhD programme, facilitating group tutorials, setting, assessing and examining student work

Supporting others

This may include:

  • advising and mentoring students or other academics, supervising student work

Supporting the discipline of academic public health 

This may include:

  • peer review – such as reviewing and providing feedback on colleagues’ research or funding proposals
  • advisory roles –  for example, advising funding bodies about what areas of research should be funded
  • external examining – supporting the maintenance of standards by monitoring the examination process in other institutions

At a more senior level, you may be involved in determining long-term priorities for research and teaching in public health, and work with other public health colleagues to influence or lead on public health education at regional, national or international levels.

As a public health academic in an educational or research organisation, you may also hold an honorary contract in another role, such as a director of public health.

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