Our research objectives
Our overall objective is to generate evidence to inform:
- the prevention of premature death and disability
- the promotion of health and well-being throughout the lifespan, including a good death
- the reduction of health inequalities
- the formulation of evidence-based health policy
Our distinctive approach
Our distinctive approach is the deep integration of quantitative, clinical, social and life sciences in specific areas to help address major public health challenges.
Our research output is characterised by:
- cutting-edge methodology that underpins our applied work, such as leading contributions to methods for analysing and interpreting complex epidemiological and public health data
- the discovery of knowledge to lay the foundations for new disease prevention and risk reduction efforts through better understanding the natural history, causes and courses of disease, syndromes and disability. For example, with the identification of interleukin-6 (IL-6) signalling as a causal risk factor for coronary disease, and the characterizing of the neuropathology of dementia
- the development of new tools to predict outcomes of relevance to health and wellbeing as we age, including specific diseases such as the BOADICEA risk model for familial breast and ovarian cancer risk, which has been incorporated into NICE and other guidelines
- the development of new interventions to prevent disease and promote health with age, for example, demonstration that ultrasound screening in men for abdominal aortic aneurysm reduces mortality and is cost-effective, culminating in a new national screening programme by the Department of Health in England
- policy-relevant work to promote health and well-being that has a direct impact on policy and practice. For example, our work contributing to UK strategies and guidelines for physical activity and dementia, and to international cardiovascular guidelines
From long-term projects to rapid response activities
The large bulk of our research activity is long-term in nature. As an important example, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC, a pan-European study of 520,000 people which Cambridge scientists helped establish in the 1990s) has become even more valuable as large numbers of participants move into the age group where development of chronic diseases becomes much more common. At the other extreme of research time-frames, we produce rapid-response reviews to advise the UK government, for example, regarding policies on alcohol and tobacco control and expert advice to PHE and local authorities.