At Oxford we have generous funding available that covers living expenses and University and college fees. Applicants need to apply by early January each year. Please see our pages 'Study with us'.
In our team, we almost always take on students to undertake DPhil projects that we advertise on https://www.phc.ox.ac.uk/study/dphil-and-msc-by-research/potential-graduate-research-projects. The great benefit of this is that it helps students fit into our vibrant research team and provides strong support for students as they start their research career. If you would like to pursue a different research topic, then please do email me.
PhD FRCP FRCGP FFPH
Professor of Behavioural Medicine
- Fellow of Wolfson College
- General practitioner, Knowle
- Coordinating editor, Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group
My research focuses on behavioural medicine. This is the integration of biological, psychological and sociological knowledge to prevent and treat disease and to aid rehabilitation. You can read more about our research on our team website here https://www.phc.ox.ac.uk/research/research-themes/health-behaviours-theme.
My work focuses on helping people change their behaviour, either to prevent serious disease, or as a treatment for that disease.
A lot of my work has examined interventions to help people stop or reduce their smoking and lately I have worked in helping people manage their weight if they have become obese.
People often use several drugs to help them stop smoking but our research suggested that combining these drugs does not help more than taking only one of them. Our research has shown that people who stop smoking put on a considerable amount of weight and we are investigating the best ways to prevent this weight gain but without harming the chance of stopping smoking.
One of our trials showed that people who were referred to commercial weight management providers lost more weight than people who tried to lose weight without support. However, people who went to their GP or practice nurse for support did no better than people trying without support. This result helped change government policy and local health organisations now contract with commercial weight providers. We have also shown that a brief 30-second behavioural intervention delivered by a clinician opportunistically can motivate a person to take up effective support and lose weight. Such brief interventions were highly acceptable to patients and easy for clinicians to deliver.
I work with several other organisations to improve health and healthcare. I am former president of the UK Society of Behavioural Medicine, a former trustee of the Association for the Study of Obesity, a member of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. I am a senior editor of the journal Addiction and coordinating editor of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group. I have worked on several NICE working groups and advised the Department of Health on smoking and obesity.
I try to make my publications available to everyone. Please have a look for them here https://ora.ox.ac.uk/ or on researchgate.net.
Boyers D. et al, (2021), Int J Obes (Lond)
Hollands GJ. et al, (2021), J Subst Abuse Treat
Nicholson BD. et al, (2021), PLoS Med, 18
Programme characteristics associated with weight change following behavioural weight loss programmes: a systematic review and meta-analysis
HOBBS F. et al, (2021), BMJ: British Medical Journal