NIHR Policy Research Units (PRUs) undertake research to inform government and arms-length bodies making policy decisions about health and social care. The units create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy.

The NIHR PRU in Addictions is one of 20 new PRUs across England which were awarded over £100 million in total and commenced 1 January 2024.

The NIHR PRU in Addictions will work with the Department of Health & Social Care and other stakeholders, including professionals and people with lived and living experience of addictive behaviours. It will support identification, analysis, implementation, evaluation and adaptation of policies across the spectrum of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery. There are five main themes:

  • tobacco/nicotine
  • alcohol
  • illicit and other drugs
  • gambling
  • public and patient involvement and engagement

In addition to Professor McNeill, Professor Holmes & Dr Brose, the Addiction Management Team also includes:

  • John Strang, Drugs Lead, Prof. of Addiction Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • Jo Neale, PPIE Lead, Prof. of Addictions Qualitative Research, King’s College London
  • Dr Heather Wardle, Gambling Lead, Professor of Gambling Research and Policy, Glasgow University
  • Project Manager (currently being recruited)
Group leads

Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction, King’s College London

Professor John Holmes, Professor of Alcohol Policy, University of Sheffield

Dr Leonie Brose, Reader in Addiction Education and Nicotine Research, King’s College London

Research partners

Other Co-Investigators

Administrative staff

  • Rhian Jones, King’s College London
  • Anne Greaves, University of Sheffield


This Policy Research Unit is funded by the NIHR. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

The NIHR funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people’s health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth.