Job Opportunity: Postdoctoral Research Associate

We are seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the field of Health and the Environment. Based at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh you will join the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH) which is a virtual centre joining scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Our research is focused on exploring how physical and social environments can influence population health, for better and for worse.

The successful candidate will work with an active research team based in Edinburgh and Glasgow on two research projects. First, they will play a key role in an ESRC funded project that will investigate whether aspects of the physical environment exert an influence on physical activity levels at the individual-level. Second, complete a pilot study to investigate the role of the local physical and social environment in understanding inequalities in health amongst children and adolescents. Both roles will involve working with large social survey, health and environmental datasets, the application of statistical techniques to the data, interpretation of the results, dissemination of findings and developing new research proposals.

Closing date: 7th March 2011

For more information and details on how to apply click here.

Fast food outlets cluster around schools

New CRESH research has found that fast food outlets tend to cluster around schools. The work published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine demonstrated that fast food vendors are five times more likely to cluster around New Zealand schools than in other areas. Using data from four cities, the authors found that outlets are also more likely to be situated in poorer neighbourhoods. The results suggest that the geographical distribution of fast food outlets may be one factor in explaining the increase in obesity rates amongst youths, and its social distribution.

The work has been covered in the New Zealand media. See:


The academic paper can be found here:



Forthcoming symposium: Mental Health and the Environment

CRESH are pleased to announce an interdisciplinary symposium to be held at the University of Edinburgh on 31st March 2011. The event is being organised with the University’s Human Geography Research Group, in the School of GeoSciences.

It is well recognised that mental health and illness are significant causes of human disability and impairment. Academic researchers and policy makers are increasingly concerned with the relationship between the environment and various mental health related outcomes. It is acknowledged that risk and resilience to mental illness and distress is a strongly linked to characteristics of the environments in which we live, work and play. This symposium will draw on work from a number of fields to consider the role of the physical, social, built and healthcare environments in understanding human mental health and wellbeing. This interdisciplinary symposium will be of interest to policy makers, students and academic researchers working in the field of mental health and wellbeing.

Confirmed speakers:
Professor Sarah Curtis, Durham University
Dr Anne Ellaway, MRC Glasgow.
Professor Christine Milligan, Lancaster University
Prof Richard Mitchell, University of Glasgow
Dr Liz Twigg, University of Portsmouth

The programme of talks for the day is available here.

Date: 31st March 2011
Time: 1000 to 1800 hrs
Venue: Edinburgh


Please sign up before 28th February 2011 by contacting:

Anna Kenyon (

New grant for environment and health inequalities study

CRESH members Drs Jamie Pearce and Elizabeth Richardson are part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers recently awarded interdisciplinary funding to examine the role of pollution and weather events in shaping health and inequalities in the UK. In collaboration with Edinburgh colleagues Ruth Doherty (Edinburgh PI), Mat Heal, David Stevenson and Massimo Vieno they have secured a grant entitled “Air pollution and weather-related health impacts: methodological study based on spatio-temporally disaggregated multi-pollutants models for present day and future”, awarded under the UK cross-council Environmental Exposure and Health Initiative. The project involves 5 institutions with atmospheric scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde, epidemiologists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and St. Georges Hospital, University of London, health geographers and social scientists at Edinburgh and LSHTM and experts in building physics at University College London. The total award is £1.8M over 4 years. The project will examine the spatial variations in health outcomes related to mixtures of air pollutants and weather in the UK, and the relationship to socio-economic inequalities. The WRF (meteorology) and EMEP (atmospheric chemistry) models will be used to simulate weather and composition at 5km by 5km resolution across the UK.

CRESH work presented at national statistics event

Elizabeth Richardson presented our regional-level environmental deprivation work to the ScotStat Small Area Statistics event on 5th October 2010.  The programme of talks can be found here, along with links to the talks:

She gave a talk entitled “Multiple Environmental Deprivation in South Lanarkshire: Does It Influence Health?” which can be found here:

The event provided a useful overview of small area statistics in Scotland, including the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics web portal and a range of interesting talks from other users of the data such as ourselves.  Useful links were made with ScotStat, the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and other users.  A key part of the day was a consultation on potential changes to Scotland’s key small area geography: the data zone.  The process involves trading off the advantages of maintaining comparable populations between the areas but also keeping the area boundaries consistent through time.

New PhD studentship available


We have a new PhD studentship available, based in Glasgow. The closing date for applications is 1st Nov. Please get in touch with Rich Mitchell for details on how to apply.

Title: Does the development of Glasgow’s city structure over time explain its excess mortality?

Duration: 3 year PhD, full time from Jan 2011 (or sooner)

Supervisors: Prof Rich Mitchell, Dr Mark Livingston (Urban Studies, University of Glasgow), David Walsh (Glasgow Centre for Population Health)

Research: Glasgow has particularly poor population health relative to other cities in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe. This apparent ‘Glasgow effect’ is not explained by the high levels of poverty. One possible explanation lies in the physical size of the city’s poorer areas. Some are now so large that residents have to travel quite a long way to experience anywhere that is not deprived. It has been suggested that this spatial pattern of deprivation contributes to poor health in its own right, perhaps explaining why the city has worse health than others with the same deprivation levels. This studentship will trace development of the spatial structure of deprivation in Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool from 1971 to 2010 to identify any inter-city differences in this development and examine how these are related to Glasgow’s mortality rates. The precise methods and focus will be developed and agreed by the supervisors and student, but the general approach will use GIS. The studentship presents an opportunity for training in researching social geography, public health and health inequalities, and using GIS.

Person specification: Applicants should hold a first class or upper second class degree in a relevant, numerate social science (such as geography) or clinical discipline. Some experience of GIS is essential. A master’s qualification in a relevant discipline would be an advantage.

Award details: This is a 3 full time studentship and will provide an estimated stipend of £13,590 per annum. The award is available to UK and other EU nationals only. The award also covers fees. The award is provided by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (

Further details: More details on the project, the supervisors and the departments involved is available from Prof Rich Mitchell (, Dr Mark Livingston ( ) or David Walsh ( ). See also