Programme Overview:

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the world. Globally, smoking kills more people every year than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. By 2030, more than 80% of the world's tobacco-related deaths will occur in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Preventing people from starting to use tobacco, and encouraging users to stop, is a global priority.

The programme will be undertaken in two parts of the world (South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa) where progress on tobacco control has not always been good, and where the tobacco industry is active in attempting to undermine measures that work. The grant will build research capacity in several LMICs, through funding for in-country senior researchers and post-doctoral scholars who will undertake research designed to address local priorities in each country, supported by a programme of training in research methods and public and policy engagement.

View project infographic.

Programme Aims:

The overall aim of the programme is to improve research capacity in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) to conduct high quality studies that will generate evidence on how to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by tobacco use and to advance key development priorities. In doing this we will draw on an established framework for building research capacity 1 that has six main elements:

Co-creation of research close to practice


Skills and confidence-building

Linkages and collaborations

Actionable dissemination


Project Objectives:

Develop a consortium of partners led by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, a UKCRC Centre of Excellence. UKCTAS will collaborate with Research Organisations in LMICs in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, along with Cancer Research UK's International Tobacco Control Programme. The team will be supported by a range of organisations and funders (Linkages and collaboration).

Establish and train a cohort of post-doctoral fellows in the participating LMIC Centres. Additional research capacity will be developed in UK Universities with research fellows supporting the programme (Infrastructure)

Develop new studies focused on tobacco control through a process of co-creation of research topics, data collection approaches and plans for dissemination undertaken between participating academics, government and NGO partners in each LMIC country (Co-creation of research closer to practice)

Apply findings from these new studies to inform the implementation of effective tobacco control measures (reducing the demand for, and supply of, tobacco products) in each LMIC, in the UK and other countries (Actionable dissemination)

Invest in wider stakeholder engagement (for example, Ministries of Health and Finance) throughout to identify pathways to impact and future options for the sustainability of the programme (Linkages, collaboration and sustainability)