Professor Penny Cook

School of Health and Society

Photo of Professor Penny Cook

Contact Details

Allerton Building, Room L812d.

Please email for an appointment.


Current positions

Associate Dean Research & Innovation | Professor of Public Health


Penny joined the University of Salford in June 2012 to teach on the successful MSc Public Health, and was made Professor in 2013. She was appointed to the role of Associate Dean Research and Innovation in 2022. In this role, she provides strategic leadership for the School of Health and Society, and direct support to colleagues, including research staff, on matters relating to Research and Innovation, including culture, funding, impact, integrity, international visibility, knowledge exchange and quality.

Penny has a track record of research in public health topics including sexual health and alcohol harm. She has received research funding from research councils, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Department of Health, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), Horizon Europe, charities and local authorities on topics such as: the overlap between population-level indicators of alcohol use, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in teenagers, and research contributing to the NICE guidance on HIV and sexual health. She has just completed an NIHR-funded ‘community alcohol health champions’ project (Communities in Charge of Alcohol, CICA), which is looking at how the communities can support each other with alcohol advice and whether communities can influence local alcohol licensing decisions.

Penny leads a research team investigating the impacts of alcohol exposure during pregnancy, and associated Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), in collaboration with the National FASD Clinic. Her research recently made news headlines with the findings that this under-recognised condition may affect 2-4% of children in the UK. She currently leads an MRC/NIHR/charity funded project to test a parenting intervention for caregivers of children with FASD. 

Areas of research

Public health, Sexual health, Alcohol harm, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Physical activity, Green Space, Nature


  • MSc Public Health
  • BSc Public Health Practitioner (degree apprenticeship)

Research Interests

  • Public Health
  • Alcohol harm
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
  • Physical activity
  • Green space
  • Nature

Qualifications and Memberships


  • BSc Biology (University of Manchester, 1992)
  • PhD Population Biology (University of Liverpool, 1996)


  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy