Prof Penny Cook

Vice-Chancellor's Department

Photo of Prof Penny Cook

Known as

Penny Cook

Contact Details

Current positions

PVC Research & Enterprise


Penny joined the University of Salford in June 2012 to teach on the MSc Public Health programme, and was made Professor of Public Health 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 on a range of public health topics including sexual health and alcohol harm, as well as nature-based interventions to improve health. She has received research funding from UK 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.

Previous research includes: the overlap between population-level indicators of alcohol use, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in teenagers; research contributing to the NICE guidance on HIV and sexual health; and understanding the benefits and values of urban green and blue spaces for older people in the Ghia (Green Infrastructure and the Health and wellbeing Influences on an Ageing population). 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