Professor John Holmes PhD, MA, BA (Hons) (York)

Dr John Holmes

Section of Public Health, ScHARR
The University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Office: G033

Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 6384
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 0749

email :

ORCiD: 0000-0001-9283-2151


I am currently a Professor in Alcohol Policy in the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group at ScHARR.  My research focuses on patterns and trends in alcohol consumption and the analysis of alcohol policy options.  Recent work has focused on the decline in youth drinking, characterising drinking occasions and using theories of practice to provide new insights into national drinking cultures.  Much of my past work has focused on the development of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model and its use in to inform policy debate in the UK and internationally; especially around Minimum Unit Pricing and the new UK Drinking Guidelines.  I am particularly interested in typological analyses of behaviour, the clustering within individuals of health-related behaviours, questions of equity and critical perspectives on public health policy and policy-making.

My degrees were all undertaken within the Social Policy and Social Work department of the University of York and my doctoral thesis examined risks and inequalities in young people's internet use. During my PhD, I worked as a research assistant studying trends in child poverty in the UK and developing countries.

After completing my PhD, I worked for the Institute for Social Change at the University of Manchester for one year before joining ScHARR as a Research Fellow in 2010.

Current research

I am currently Principal or Co-Investigator on the following projects:

  • Youth Drinking In Decline (Y-DID): A mixed methods investigation (Wellcome Trust Investigator Award)
  • Evaluating the effect of promoting new UK low risk drinking guidelines (NIHR PHR Grant)
  • Understanding stability and change in British drinking culture, 2001-2016 (ESRC Research Grant)
  • Evaluating the effect of Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland on harmful drinkers (commissioned by NHS Health Scotland)
  • SYNTAX: Joint appraisal of tobacco and alcohol tax interventions in England (NIHR PHR Grant)
  • Evaluating public health interventions and exploring behavioural trends in complex systems (NIHR SPHR Grant)
  • Appraising the effect of implementing local minimum unit pricing in the North West of England (NIHR PHR Grant)

PhD Supervision

I currently supervise the following doctoral students:

  • Simon McNamara: Equity/efficiency trade-offs in economic evaluation.
  • Abigail Stevely: Exploring the relationships between event-level characteristics of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm.
  • Olivia Sexton: Developing and validating a methodology for collecting occasional-level data on alcohol consumption.

am happy to consider supervising PhD students interested in any of the areas of alcohol and public health research discussed on this page.