The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Peter Phillimore

Visiting Professor of Social Anthropology



I have recently retired and now hold the position of Visiting Professor in the School. 

I studied Social Anthropology at Edinburgh (MA, 1973) and then at Durham (PhD, 1982). I came to Newcastle in 1988 (initially for three years in CURDS as Senior Research Associate), before I was appointed as a Lecturer in Social Anthropology in what was then the Department of Social Policy in 1991.  I became Senior Lecturer in 1996, and Professor of Social Anthropology in 2006.  

Before coming to Newcastle University, I was a research associate at Bristol University in the Department of Social Policy, working as RA with Professor Peter Townsend on two health inequalities projects (1983-87) in NE England.

My doctoral research was in north India, where I did fieldwork in Kangra (Himachal Pradesh).  My PhD looked at kinship, marriage, gender and economy in one of the main shepherding communities of the western Himalaya, the Gaddis.  India has remained a major interest of mine ever since (teaching, PhD supervision, and research, most recently in South India).

The eastern Mediterranean/ Middle East has become the main focus of my research in recent years, however, through two research projects concerning public health and health systems.  Most of my writing has been either in the health field (health inequalities, health and industrial pollution, the social and policy implications of chronic diseases, medical anthropology, mHealth) or in the field of environmental politics and industrial risk.

Roles and Responsibilities

From 2009-15 I have had major responsibilities for two EU-FP7 research projects in the Middle East (see Research). 

From 2009-14 I represented Newcastle University in the Public Health Foundation of India - UK Consortium, a major research capacity building programme in public health funded by the Wellcome Trust (coordinated within the UK by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

From 2005-9 I was Head of Sociology/ Deputy Head of School.

From 2006-8 I was Associate Director, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University.


MA in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, 1973
PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Durham, 1982


Research Interests

1.      Anthropology of health and medicine; inequalities in health; social implications of chronic illness; health systems in developing countries.

2.      Anthropology of the environment; environmental pollution and risk politics.

3.      India.

4.      Eastern Mediterranean/ Middle East.  

Current Work

The research projects and associated activities which have occupied me over recent years have now come to an end, though there are still further publications in the pipeline.  These projects have involved partnerships in the eastern Mediterranean/ Middle East and in India.    

1.      MedCHAMPS (2009-13). Co-Investigator, Acting PI during 2010-11 and part of 2012.  This was a 4 year EU-funded FP7 project investigating (a) epidemiological trends in chronic heart disease and diabetes, and (b) the health systems for managing the rise in such chronic diseases, in four Mediterranean countries (Palestine, Syria, Tunisia & Turkey). I led the second of these (b).  This research brought together teams in seven universities/institutes, and was led by Newcastle's Institute of Health and Society.  For the project website and publications see: .

2.      RESCAP-MED (2012-14). Principal Investigator. This was a 3 year EU-FP7 award funded under the EU’s Coordination and Support Action programme.  A research capacity building project, it focused on several disciplines relevant to public health. This research built directly on MedCHAMPS (above). It involved the same partners, with the addition of new partners in Lebanon, Jordan and the WHO East Mediterranean Office in Cairo.  Like MedCHAMPS it focused on non-communicable diseases, and was led by Newcastle's Institute of Health and Society. Website

3.      TRUMP (2012-15). Co-Investigator & Work Package lead. This has been a delayed 3 year project funded by EPSRC, under the ‘Bridging the Urban Rural Divide Programme’.  A comparative UK-India project, it has been led by Aberdeen and Newcastle, in partnership with the Indian Institute of Public Health in Hyderabad.  Its aim has been to pilot the development of mobile phone technology for use in supporting and managing chronic ill-health in a range of rural areas, taking two conditions: diabetes and depression.  My responsibility was for the first work package in India, working Dr Papreen Nahar and colleagues at IIPH Hyderabad.  For the project website see:

Postgraduate Supervision

I have supervised and co-supervised thirteen PhD students to successful completion, with involvement ongoing for two current PhD students.  




Since retirement I am no longer teaching.