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Simon Murphy

Dr Simon Murphy

Professor in Social Interventions and Health, Director DECIPHer and Lead for the Schools Health Research Network

School of Social Sciences

+44 29208 79144
sbarc|spark, Room Room 1.05, 1-3 Museum Place, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision



I am interested in supervising doctoral students taking social science approaches to health improvement, particularly in relation to children and young people, health and health behaviours. This covers understanding a problem by taking a socio ecological perspective. It also includes studies that develop theoretically sound interventions with high external validity by following the MRC framework for the development of complex interventions, implementation science and co-production approaches.

































Book sections





My research interests focus on two main areas. The first focuses on understanding and explaining young people's health and well being within their social context, drawing on socio ecological frameworks.  This work informs the development and piloting of sustainable complex interventions for health improvement that address influences on multiple risk outcomes and health inequalities. The second concerns the evaluation of theoretically driven complex public health improvement initiatives, with a particular concern for the social processes and contextual influences that impact on implementation and effectiveness. I have undertaken a large number of pragmatic randomised controlled trials of complex interventions utilising mixed methodologies, including a number of national policy trials. I am particularly keen to develop the quality of public health improvement research and improve translation. I am lead investigator for the the national Schools Health Research Network linking school communities, policy, practice and researchers to develop and conduct helath improvement research in schools. I am also co investigator for the Wolfson Centre for Young People's Mental Health.


Research Grants

Murphy S., Moore, L. and Tapper, K. – Free School Breakfasts Scheme evaluation, (2004 - 2007). National Assembly for Wales. (£496, 488)

Murphy, S., Moore, L., Elliott, E. and Francis, S. – Public Health Improvement Research Network Scoping Study. (2005). National Assembly for Wales. (£10,405)

Moore, L., Holliday, J., Campbell, R. and Murphy, S. – Smoking uptake in adolescence: a longitudinal investigation of peer influence and peer selection. (2005 – 2006). Cancer Research UK. (£49,268)

Murphy, S., Elliott, E. and Francis, S. – Health Challenge Wales – researching roles and responsibilities for health. (2005). National Assembly for Wales. (£87,632)

Elliott, E., Ashdown, L., Murphy, S. and Morgan, K. – Evaluation of pilot food Co-ops Initiative in Wales. (2005 - 2006). National Assembly for Wales. (£39, 676)

Moore, L., Murphy, S. and Francis, S. – Development of a Public Health Improvement Research Network. (2005 - 2009). National Assembly for Wales. (£350,834)

Moore, L., Campbell, R., Holliday, J., Murphy, S. and Snider, T. – A social network analysis of the dynamic relationship between adolescent smoking behaviour and peer influence. (2006 - 2008). Medical Research Council. (£395,788)

Murphy, S., Moore, L. and Williams, N. – Evaluation of a National Referral Scheme. (2006 - 2010). National Assembly for Wales. (£642,906)

Williams, G., Murphy, S. and MacDonald, S. – Families, households and health improvement: Exploring roles and responsibilities. (2006 - 2009). National Assembly for Wales. (£214,035)

Moore, L., Holliday, J., Parry, O. and Murphy, S. - Research into the Impact of Smoke-Free Legislation in Wales. (2006 - 2007). Welsh Assembly Government Public Health Improvement Division. (£353,880)

Moore, L., Segrott, J., Murphy, S. and Phillips, C. - Evaluation of the Cooking Bus in Wales. (2008-2009). Welsh Assembly Government. (£78,125)

Shepherd, M., Rothwell, H. and Murphy, S. – Evaluation of Welsh Network of Healthy School schemes. (2007 - 2008). Welsh Assembly Government. (£149,221)

Clark, R., Moore, L., Murphy, S., Potter, C. and Fone, D. – Developing Health Challenge Newport as a resource for rigorous evaluation of community based health initiatives. (2007 - 2008). Welsh Assembly Government. (£88,596)

Segrott, J., Moore, L., Murphy, S. and Rothwell, H. – The role of parents in preventing alcohol misuse: An Evaluation of the Kids, Adults Together Family Forum programme (KATFF). (2007 -2009). Alcohol Education and Research Council. (£59,101)

Moore, L., Campbell, R., Lyons, R., Murphy, S., Butler, C., Elwyn, G., Gunnell, D., Hickman, M. and Donnovan, J. – Centre for the development and evaluation of complex intervention for health improvement. (2008-2013). UK Clinical Research Collaboration. (£5,000,000)

Moore, S., Murphy, S., Moore, L. and Shepherd, J. - A feasibility study of a licensed premise intervention to reduce alcohol misuse and violent injury. (2008 - 2010). Medical Research Council. (£331,891)

Moore, L., Murphy, S., Tapper, K., Lyons, R. and Benton, D. – The Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative: Data Augmentation and Analysis. (2008 – 2011). National Prevention Research Initiative. (£265, 000)

Moore, L., Murphy, S. and Elwyn, G. – Primary prevention of cancer: research capacity for the development and evaluation of interventions. (2009 – 2012). National Assembly for Wales. (£232,725)

Murphy, S., Moore, L., Segrott, J., Foxcroft, D. and Phillips, C. – Preventing Substance Misuse. RCT of the strengthening families 10-14 programme. (2009 - 2014). National Prevention Research Initiative. (£2,144,955)

Chestnutt, I., Hood, K., Nuttall, J., Playle, R., Chadwick, B., Morgan, M., Hunter, L., Murphy, S. – Seal or Varnish? A randomised trial to determine the relative cost and effectiveness of pit and fissure sealants and fluoride varnish in preventing dental decay. (2009 - 2015). HTA. (£997,225)

Scourfield, J. and Murphy, S. – Do mental health promotion initiatives accommodate heterogeneous needs? A process evaluation of the student assistance programme. (2010 - 2013).  National Assembly for Wales. (£56,805)

Williams, G. and Murphy, S. – An investigation of take up of free school meal entitlement in secondary schools: barriers and facilitators. (2009 - 2012). National Assembly for Wales – WORD. (£59,056)

Murphy, S., Moore, L., Hood, K., Robling, M. and Simpson, S. - Public Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN) RRG 2009. (2010 – 2015). National Assembly for Wales – WORD. (£742,332)

Bonell, C., Harden, A., Thomas, J., Petticrew, M., Whitehead, M., Campbell, R., Moore, L., Murphy, S., Fletcher, A., Hamilton, V. and Shemilt, I. - The effects of schools and school-environment interventions on health: evidence mapping and syntheses. (2010 – 2011). National Institute for Health Research. (£182,641)

Baird, J., Barker, M., Cooper, C., Inskip, H., Hardeman, W., Griffin, S., Wight, D., Moore, L., Parmar, M.,Murphy, S. and Audrey, S. – Workshop: Process evaluation of complex public health interventions MRC Population Health Science Research Network. (2010). (£7780)

Murphy, S. - Academic supervision of Welsh Government initiative Alcohol Education Research Council. (2011 – 2012). (£23,610)

Murphy, S., Moore, G. and Moore, L. – Pilot study of alcohol policy and social norms in Welsh Universities. (2011 – 2012). Alcohol Education Research Council. (£82,481)

Segrott, J., Murphy, S., Moore, L. and Daniels, P. - Preventing alcohol misuse in young people. An exploratory trial of the Kids, Adults Together (KAT) Programme. (2011 - 2012). NHS NIHR. (£188,230)

Murphy, S., Rollnick, S., Robling, M. and Bravo, P. - The GROMIT study (GROup Motivational InTerviewing): intervention development of group motivational interviewing to promote emotional and physical health in school pupils. (2013). NISCHR CRC. (£13,986)

Moore, S., Sivarajasingam, V., Playle, R., Shepherd, J., Moore, L., Murphy, S., Hood, K. and Spasic, I. - Randomised controlled trial of All-Wales licensed premises intervention to reduce alcohol-related violence. (2012 – 2014). NIHR. (£652,159)

Murphy, S. Campbell R and Lyons, R. (plus 12 other co-applicants) - DECIPHer: Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement. (2014 - 2019). MRC. (£3,551,744)

Murphy, S. and Hewitt, G. – Evaluation SHE Network. (2013). Schools for Health in Europe. (€9791)

White, J., Moore, L., Fletcher, A. and Murphy, S. - Adapting the ASSIST model of informal peer-led intervention to deliver the Talk to Frank drug prevention programme in UK secondary schools: exploratory trial. (2013 – 2016). NIHR. (£376,000).

Lowes, L., Robling, M., Townson, J., Channon, S., Murphy, S., Hopkins, S. and Hayes, G. - Early Detection of type 1 Diabetes in Youth: the EDDY feasibility study. (2014 - 2015). RfPPB Wales. (£247,229)

Murphy, S., Moore, L., Fletcher, A., Hewitt, G., Taylor, C., Campbell, R. and Bonell, C. - School Health Research Network (SHRN): scoping and feasibility study. (2013 - 2015). MRC. (£496,148)

Bonell, C., Thomas, J., Murphy, S., Gough, D., Denton, S., Fletcher, A. and Campbell, R. - The effects of Positive Youth Development interventions on substance use, violence and inequalities: systematic review of theories of change, processes and outcomes. (2013 - 2015). NIHR Public Health Research Programme. (£233,232)

Fletcher, A., Murphy, S., Moore, G., White, J. and Townson, J. - The filter FE challenge: Pilot trial and process evaluation of a multi-level smoking prevention intervention in further education settings. (2014-2016). (£424,005)

Lyons., R. and Murphy, S. (et al.) - National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research. (2015 - 2018) Welsh Government, Health and Care Research Wales. (£2,250,000)

Murphy, S. - Support to Deliver a Review of the Welsh Government’s Free Breakfast in Primary Schools Scheme. (2015) Welsh Government. (£4,999)

Murphy, S., Hawkins, J., Gobat, N., Rollnick, S., Hickman, M. and Wagner, C. - Developing a sustainable delivery mechanism for a Group Motivational Interviewing intervention to prevent alcohol misuse in secondary school pupils. (2015-2017). MRC. (£143,953)

Murphy, S., Roberts, J and Hewitt, G. - The School Health Research Network (SHRN): Building research literacy and evidence-informed practice. (2015 - 2016). ESRC. (£16,825)

Moore, L., Murphy, S., Simpson, S., Craig, P., Wight, D., Moore, G., Segrott, J., Hood, K., Robling, M. and Turley, R. - Exploratory trials of complex public health interventions: development of guidance for researchers and funders. (2016 – 2018). MRC. (£308,693)

Simpson S, Coulman E, Kelly M, O'Brien K and Murphy S. 'Helpmedoit!' a web and text based intervention to facilitate social support to achieve and maintain health related behaviour change. National Institute for Health Research, 2015 - 2017 (£414,390)

Hawkins J, Moore G and Murphy S - PACERS: Physical Activity Monitors in an Exercise Referral Setting 2015 – 2017 (£245,994.00) Health and Care Research Wales

Kidger J, Evans R, Campbell R, D Gunell and Murphy S - A cluster randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve the mental health support and training available to secondary school teachers – the WISE (Wellbeing in Secondary Education) project 2015 - 2019 (£1,300,000.00) NIHR Public Health Research Programme

Gobat N, Robling M and Murphy S – Wellbeing in School Project (WHISP). Wellcome Trust Jan 2016 to Nov 2016 (£23,088.00)

Murphy S - Development of Methodological Guidance for the Coproduction of Health Interventions: Targeting wellbeing in secondary schools to prevent mental health issues Welsh Government 2016 – 2019 (£62,225)

Hoddinott P, Moore G, Moore L, Murphy S, O'Cathain A, Pfadenhauer L, Rehfuess E, Segrott J - Adaptation of evidence-informed complex population health interventions for implementation and/or re-evaluation in new contexts: New guidance. MRC. 2018 - 2020 (£374,517)

Murphy S and Hewitt G - The School Health Research Network: Creating regional-level impact for health, education and social care stakeholders. ESRC. June 2018 – Nov 2018 (£3,597)

Hall, J., Walters, J., Owen, M., Thapar, A., Rice, F., O'Donovan, M., Jones, I., Collishaw, S., Holmans, P., Singh, K., Van Goozen, S., Langley, K., Murphy, S., Moore, G., Atack, J., Harwood, A. - Integrating genetic, clinical and phenotypic data to advance stratification, prediction and treatment in mental health. MRC. March 2018 – March 2020 (£971, 676)

Lyons, R., Murphy, S., Paranjothy, S., Noyce, J., Davies, A. and Brophy, S. The National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research. Health and Care Research Wales. April 2018 - March 2020 (£1,500,000)

White J, Murphy S et al. A multicentre cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a school-based peer-led drug prevention intervention (The FRANK friends study) NIHR PHR £1,465,056

McDaid, L. Murphy, S et al Transdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health (TRIUMPH) Network. ESRC Jan 2019 – Dec 2023 (£1,004,874.49)

 Rice F, Collishaw S, Murphy S et al. The Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health. The Wolfson Foundation. 2020-2025 (£10 million)

Murphy, S. The School Health Research Network (SHRN). Welsh Government. July 2019 – October 2021 (£200,000)

 Murphy S, Bishop J, Evans R, Hawkins J, Moore G, Robinson A, Robling M, Segrott J, White J and Young H. DECIPHer III. Health and Care Research Wales. April 2020 – March 2025 (£2,488,488)

 Campbell R, Jago R, Murphy S et al. Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Team (PHIRST). August 2020 – July 2023 (£1,499,680)

Moore G, Murphy S,et al. Primary school expansion of SHRN: SHRN Primary Network-Extending the School Health Research Network into primary schools in Wales to support mental health and wellbeing throughout childhood and adolescence - Phase 1 Welsh Government, Aug-20 Mar-2 (£329,453)

Adamson A, Murphy S, Kee F, Jepson R et al - Local Authority Champions of Research (LACoR) MR/T045264/1 - ENABLE UK: ENABling Local authority Evidence-based decision-making across the UK - Stage 1, UKPRP, June 20 to Dec 20 (£50,000)

Murphy S and Young H SHRN Survey 2021/22, Welsh Government, March 2021 to March 2025 (£300,131)

Morgan K, Murphy S and Reed H. Mindset Teams in the Scottish education system - PHIRST, NIHR July 2021 to June 2023 (£188,980).

Hawkins J, Murphy S, van Godwin J. Healthy Working Wales Evaluation Partner - evaluation tools piloting PHW, June 21 to July 22, (£23,058)

Campbell R, Jago R, Murphy S, et al  Extension of PHIRST Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams. NIHR Aug 2023 to September 2025 (£58,889.00)

Moore G, Murphy S et al. Welsh Government Primary school expansion of SHRN: SHRN Primary Network-Extending the School Health Research Network into primary schools in Wales to support mental health and wellbeing throughout childhood and adolescence (Phase 2) Welsh Government March 2021 to April 2022. £232,685.00 

John A, Murphy S, et al. MRC Data Hub (R235) Psychological Health dAta SciencE (PHASE)- A Mental Health Research Data Hub. May 21 – April 24, (£2,424,899.81)


Supervision interests include:

School Health Improvement

Knowledge Translation

Co-production and Public Involvement

Healthy Settings and Organisations