Dr Tony Robertson

Lecturer in Geographies of Public Health

Biological and Environmental Sciences Stirling

Dr Tony Robertson

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About me

About me

Background and Research Interests

I am a lecturer in Geographies of Health, based in Biological and Environmental Sciences. My research and teaching interests are focused on linking understandings of the complex and challenging inter-relationships between humans and biological and environmental systems. I am particularly interested in socioeconomic inequalities and the impacts these inequalities have on people's underlying physiology and health and how we address these inequalities. Please see the Research tab for more details.

Brief Bio

I studied Behavioural Ecology at degree and PhD level before changing my focus to human health and Social Epidemiology/Public Health in 2010 when I joined the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow on a Career Development Fellowship. In 2013 I moved to the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research & Policy (SCPHRP), University of Edinburgh, as the Research Fellow and Lead for the Working Age/Adult Life Working Group. In January 2016, I moved to become Lecturer in Social Epidemiology and Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport, University of Stirling and then moved to Biological and Environmental Sciences in May 2021. I am a member of the Environmental Sustainability and Human Health and Social Surveys and Social Statistics research groups.

Divisional / Faculty Contribution

Deputy Chair, Faculty Athena SWAN Implementation Group

Deputy Chief Examiner (Biology)

External Examiners and Validations

External Examiner, Social Epidemiology MSc, UCL
University College London


Other Academic Activities

Co-Investigator - Reconciling Floods and Droughts

Hydronation Catalyst Fund Project, Reconciling Floods and Droughts

Pathway Rep (Human Geography, Environment and Urban Planning), Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences

Executive Editor, Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies journal

Professional membership

Honorary Treasurer for the Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies (SLLS)

University Contribution

Co-lead, Extremes in Science and Society research programme

General University Ethics Panel - Designated Authority for Division

Research (4)

My research interests are in linking understandings of the complex and challenging inter-relationships between humans and biological and environmental systems, with a focus on socioeconomic inequalities and the impacts these inequalities have on people's underlying physiology and health and how we address these inequalities.

Specific areas of interests include: 

  • The Biology of Inequality: biological pathways between socioeconomic position and health (biological ageing, allostatic load and oxidative stress) 
  • Health Inequalities: what they look like, what causes them and how do we fix them
  • Commercial Determinants of Health: examining inequalities in exposure to unhealthy commodities based on people’s socioeconomic circumstances (e.g. increased exposure to unhealthy food, alcohol and e-cigarette advertisements in the outdoor environment)
  • Academic and Community/Public Engagement and Activism - collaborating to better understand and reduce health inequalities through community-based approaches.

PhD Supervision
I am keen to supervise students for any research projects that include linking social and economic data (work, housing, education etc.) with health data, with the aim of helping us better understand and reduce health inequalities in society. My expertise is predominantly in quantitative methods and using biomarkers to assess physiological health, so this might include primary data collection and/or secondary data analysis of existing datasets. We already have a vast array of cohort and survey data available to analyse throughout the UK such as Understanding Society and the Scottish and English Health Surveys. However, depending on the research question I would also be happy to discuss alternative methods such as qualitative or mixed methods approaches. For example, some of my research and advocacy work looks at engagement and empowerment of community and activist groups in trying to improve health and reduce health inequalities and has utilised qualitative methods. As a PhD student, you would be based in Biological and Environmental Sciences.  Please contact me if you'd like to discuss more. 

Current and past student projects: 

  • Inequalities in Allostatic Load through an Intersectional Lens

  • Allostatic load as a risk predictor for mortality 

  • Importance of context in socioeconomic patterning of allostatic load 

  • Socioeconomic patterning of public transport food adverts 

  • Evaluability Assessment of the Health Issues in the Community, a community-led training programme


Sustainable Plastic Attitudes to benefit Communities and their EnvironmentS
PI: Professor Richard Quilliam
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

Covid19 & Community Resilience With A Focus On Preparedness Flooding
PI: Dr Tony Robertson
Funded by: Scottish Flood Forum (SFF)

Building a Movement: Community Development and Community Resilience in Response to Extreme Events
PI: Dr Sandra Engstrom
Funded by: National Centre for Resilience Scotland

SAS New Clinical Response Model
PI: Dr Kathleen Stoddart
Funded by: Scottish Ambulance Service

Outputs (41)


Website Content

Robertson A (2024) Is there a right to health for the people of Scotland?. [Blog post] 15.02.2024. https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/blog/opinion/is-there-a-right-to-health-for-the-people-of-scotland/


Oliver DM, McDougall CW, Robertson T, Grant B, Hanley N & Quilliam RS (2023) Self-reported benefits and risks of open water swimming to health, wellbeing and the environment: Cross-sectional evidence from a survey of Scottish swimmers. Meena DK (Editor) PLOS ONE, 18 (8), p. e0290834. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0290834


Fisher S, Bennett C, Hennessy D, Finès P, Jessri M, Bader Eddeen A, Frank J, Robertson T, Taljaard M, Rosella LC, Sanmartin C, Jha P, Leyland A & Manuel DG (2022) Comparison of mortality hazard ratios associated with health behaviours in Canada and the United States: a population-based linked health survey study. BMC Public Health, 22 (1), Art. No.: 478. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-12849-y


Olsen JR, Patterson C, Caryl FM, Robertson T, Mooney SJ, Rundle AG, Mitchell R & Hilton S (2021) Exposure to unhealthy product advertising: Spatial proximity analysis to schools and socio-economic inequalities in daily exposure measured using Scottish Children's individual-level GPS data. Health and Place, 68, Art. No.: 102535. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102535


Fisher S, Bennett C, Hennessy D, Robertson T, Leyland A, Taljaard M, Sanmartin C, Jha P, Frank J, Tu JV, Rosella LC, Wang J, Tait C & Manuel DG (2020) International population-based health surveys linked to outcome data: A new resource for public health and epidemiology. Health Reports, 31 (7), pp. 12-23. https://doi.org/10.25318/82-003-x202000700002-eng

Research Report

Stoddart K, Cowie J, Robertson T, Bugge C, Donaldson J & Andreis F (2019) The Scottish Ambulance Service New Clinical Response Model Evaluation Report [NCRM report for SAS]. Scottish Ambulance Service. Stirling: University of Stirling. https://scottishamb-newsroom.prgloo.com/news/scottish-ambulance-service-clinical-model-credited-with-saving-43-percent-more-lives

Book Chapter

Robertson T, Marsden S & Kapilashrami A (2017) A Public Health Politics That is a People's Health. In: Hassan G & Barrow S (eds.) A Nation Changed? The SNP and Scotland Ten Years On. Edinburgh: Luath Press. http://www.luath.co.uk/a-nation-changed.html

Book Chapter

Kapilashrami A, Marsden S & Robertson T (2016) A right to health for the people of Scotland. In: Barrow S & Small M (eds.) Scotland 2021. Edinburgh: Bella Caledonia/Ekklesia, pp. 81-86. http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/12/21/scotland-2021-3/


Robertson T (2016) Origins of heath inequalities: The case for allostatic load. Commentary on: Delpierre C, Barboza-Solis C, Torrisani J, Darnaudery M, Bartley M, Blane D, Kelly-Irving M (2016) Allostatic load as a measure of social embodiment: conceptual and empirical considerations. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 7 (1), pp. 80-85.. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 7 (1), pp. 92-96. http://www.llcsjournal.org/index.php/llcs/issue/view/34; https://doi.org/10.14301/llcs.v7i1.325


Robertson T, Benzeval M, Whitley E & Popham F (2015) The role of material, psychosocial and behavioral factors in mediating the association between socioeconomic position and allostatic load (measured by cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory markers). Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 45, pp. 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2014.10.005

Research Report

Robertson T, Estrade M, Jepson R, Muir G & Skivington K (2015) The nature of employment and excess mortality in Glasgow and Scotland. NHS Health Scotland. Edinburgh. http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/27303-The%20nature%20of%20employment%20and%20excess%20mortality%20in%20Glasgow%20and%20Scotland.pdf


Maxwell F, McGlynn LM, Muir HC, Talwar D, Benzeval M, Robertson T, Roxburgh CS, McMillan DC, Horgan PG & Shiels PG (2011) Telomere attrition and decreased fetuin-A levels indicate accelerated biological aging and are implicated in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 17 (17), pp. 5573-5581. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-3271