Dr Alex Clarke-Cornwell

School of Health & Society

Photo of Dr Alex Clarke-Cornwell

Known as

Alex Clarke-Cornwell

Contact Details

Current positions



Alex is an Associate Professor in Public Health Epidemiology and has worked at the University of Salford since 2008: her previous roles include Lecturer in Public Health, Research Fellow, and Graduate Teaching Assistant.

She has a first degree in Mathematics and a Masters in Statistics; her PhD was entitled 'Sedentary behaviour, work and health-related outcomes: the application of empirically derived accelerometer cut-points to data from the Health Survey for England'.

Work from Alex’s recent study, ‘The effectiveness of the SMART Work & Life intervention for reducing sitting time in office workers’, led by Dr Charlotte Edwardson (University of Leicester), has recently been published in the British Medical Journal. This NIHR-funded randomised controlled trial aimed to determine the long-term effectiveness of a multi-component behaviour change intervention (when provided with and without a height-adjustable desk) for reducing daily sitting time in office workers (in Leicester, Greater Manchester, and Liverpool), when compared to no intervention (ISRCTN).

Alex is also interested in population levels of physical behaviour and was part of a project with European colleagues as part of the consortium or the Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (DEDIPAC) Knowledge Hub: this project used accelerometer data from national surveys to describe sedentary time and physical activity from Four European countries.

Alex is the Co-Chair for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Panel for the Centre for Health Sciences Research at the University of Salford and is on the Board of Directors for the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour. Other research roles include: member of The Prospective Physical Activity, Sitting, and Sleep consortium; Chair of Communications Committee (International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour); Review Editor on the Editorial Board of Physical Activity in the Prevention and Management of Disease (speciality section of Frontiers in Sports and Active Living); she is currently supervising four PhD students.

Areas of Research

Alex has been involved in a range of research projects that have used her experience of epidemiology and statistics. These include for example, studies relating to the burden of musculoskeletal disease in the UK, coding in general practice research databases, and evaluations of uptake of cardiovascular health checks in North West England. More specifically, her current research interests focus on the associations between sedentary behaviour and health-related outcomes in the workplace, and the objective measurement of physical behaviour.

Areas of Supervision

Over recent years, the Centre for Human Movement and Rehabilitation (CHMR) has received extensive investment allowing us to develop world-class research facilities for PhD study. These include three human performance laboratories, a prosthetics and orthotics workshop, markerless motion capture, cutting-edge ultrasound equipment, and access to the new North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC). CHMR has a strong community of postgraduate research students and is home to the £5.5 million EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics and Orthotics. The measurement of free-living physical behaviour theme has a PhD project available: To examine how physical behaviour is associated with perceived job satisfaction, happiness, and wellbeing, in both blue- and white-collar workers.

The combination of physical activity and sedentary time has an influence on our health, with recent studies showing that high levels of physical activity eliminate the risks of mortality using self-reported measures of physical behaviour. Intriguingly, occupational physical activity leads to an increased risk in long-term sickness absence in blue-collar workers, while leisure-time physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of long terms sickness – a phenomenon known as the ‘physical activity paradox’. Furthermore, research has identified associations between leisure-time sedentary behaviour and cardiometabolic markers, but not for occupational sitting time and cardiometabolic markers. This distinction suggests differential effects between leisure time and occupation sedentary behaviour: the sedentary time we accrue in the workplace may not be as relevant to our health markers compared to the physical behaviours in our leisure time. We are looking for a candidate who could investigate the public health impact of this, and model the reciprocity between sedentary behaviour and physical activity both in and outside the workplace.

We are seeking PhD applicants with a minimum of a 2.1 degree. We encourage candidates from various background to apply, including, physiotherapists, podiatrists, prosthetists, orthotists, engineers, physicists, computer scientists, sports scientists, occupational therapists, exercise and health scientists, psychologists, data scientists, rheumatologists, epidemiologists and health economists.



Co-Programme Leader fort he MSc Public Health.
Module leader for Epidemiology and Statistics (Masters in Public Health).
Module leader for Public Health Surveillance (Degree Apprenticeship for Public Health Practitioners).
Contribution to other modules both within the Public Health team, and also across different disciplines within the School of Health & Society (for example, Centre for Doctoral Training, Physiotherapy, and First Contact and Advanced Practice for Allied Health Professionals).

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • PGCAP Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice

    2016 - 2017
  • PhD Public Health Epidemiology

    2012 - 2019
  • MSc Statistics

    1999 - 2001
  • BSc (Hons) Mathematics

    1995 - 1998

  • Board of Directors for the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behavior

  • Review Editor for Frontiers in Sports and Active Living Journal

  • External Examiner for MPH at the University of Glasgow

  • Lindsey Dugdill Memorial Award for the best PhD

  • UKRI Strategic Priority Funding