Our research

Find out more about the general aims of SPECTRUM and our eight integrated work packages.

The main causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) include consumption of unhealthy commodities such as tobacco, alcohol or foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar. These exposures are preventable, but the commodities involved are highly profitable.

Their consumption and health and social impacts are also inequitable and driven by complex systems of production, distribution and promotion dominated by transnational companies. The economic interests of such companies often conflict with health goals and their role in determining health has received insufficient attention. 

SPECTRUM will generate new evidence to inform the prevention of NCDs caused by unhealthy commodities and to transform policy and practice to encourage the adoption of healthy environments and behaviours. With a principal focus on tobacco and alcohol, our research extends to food in key studies. Approaches we develop in future could be applied to other commodities.

We are conducting research in eight integrated work packages.


SPECTRUM Work Package 1 - Systems Science

Using systems approaches to understand determinants and address harms

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Understanding and addressing unhealthy commodity industry influence

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Developing and integrating new data sources to inform action

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Economic and health impact evidence synthesis to inform policy and practice decisions

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Shaping the local environment to change behaviour and prevent harm

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Evaluating the effectiveness of policies and natural experiments

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Disrupting the relationship between mental health, stigma and unhealthy commodities

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Towards governance for health equity

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Information about COVID-19 related research being undertaken by SPECTRUM and/or its researchers