Professor Catherine Law

James Spence Medallist

The James Spence Medal winner 2020

Professor Law is the Deputy Director (Strategy and Partnerships) at UCL Institute of Child Health. She is also Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Population Health Sciences. Her research interests are in child public health, particularly physical growth, inequalities in health, and the use of research for public policy. She was inaugural Chair of the Public Health Advisory Committee of NICE (2005-2015). From 2008-2014 she was inaugural Programme Director of the National Institute of Health Research’s (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme. She is Chair of the Medical Research Council Global Health Group and a member of MRC Strategy Board. She is also a member of the WHO Europe Advisory Committee on Health Research.

Professor Law has an active interest in the use and development of research for public policy. In addition to her research work, she was the scientific secretary of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health (1997-8), commissioned by the previous UK Government to inform its health policy, co-ordinated the Department of Health’s Research and Development Strategy for Public Health (2001), and collated the evidence base for the National Service Framework for Children and Young People (2004, Department of Health). She continues to work with the Department of Health and other policymaking organisations at the interface of research and policy.

She has been involved in the Public Health Consortium since 2005 in various roles and she was the Principal Investigator of three research project relating to public policy and its relation to child health.

Professor Law’s current research relates to obesity in children, particularly determining the contribution of fetal and early childhood growth to lifetime health, how public policy might influence current trends in childhood obesity, and how national and local interventions to prevent childhood obesity might be developed and evaluated, particularly in relation to disadvantaged groups.

Her scientific approach to inequalities in health and tireless work in promoting children’s health through a life course approach is what makes her a great candidate for the James Spence Medal.


Catherine told us, "I have no words to express how honoured I was to receive this award... I hope we will all use our skills and opportunities to improve [children's] futures." You can read more about what Catherine has to say about the award on page 9 of Milestones, autumn 2020 edition.