Prof Sharon Friel


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Sharon Friel is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of Health Equity. She is Director of the Planetary Health Equity Hothouse, and the Australian Research Centre for Health Equity (ARCHE) at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia and the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Previously, she was Director of RegNet from 2014-2019, and Head of the Scientific Secretariat (University College London) of the World Health Organisation Commission on the Social Determinants of Health between 2005 and 2008. In 2014, her international peers voted her one of the world’s most influential female leaders in global health. Her interests are in the political economy of health equity; governance of the social, commercial and planetary determinants of health inequities; climate change, food systems, trade and investment. Her 2019 book “Climate Change and the People’s Health” highlights the importance of addressing the global consumptogenic system.

Research interests

  • Health governance and regulation
  • Social determinants of health equity
  • Political economy of health
  • Global health
  • Food systems
  • Climate change
  • Urbanisation


PhD, MSc

Researcher's projects

I am chief investigator on several current major research collaborations in governance, public policy and the determinants of health inequities, including:

ARC Laureate Fellowship (2021-5 yrs). Governance for planetary health equity.

ARC Linkage (Nov 2020, 3 years). CIs Friel, Townsend, Baum, Cullerton. PIs Collin Uni Edinburgh, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Obesity Policy Coalition, NCD Alliance. Understanding engagement to regulate the commercial determinants of health.

ARC Discovery (Jan 2019, 3 years). CIs Friel S, Thow AM, Schram A, Huckel-Schneider, PIs Collin, Phulkerd, Ravuvu. Governing harmful commodities: the case of ultra-processed foods. 

Medical Research Future Fund (2019- June 2021), CIs Friel, Schram. Smart and Responsive Regulation for Population Nutrition. 

Medical Research Future Fund (2019 - 2021), CIs Rychetnik, Pescud, Allender, Friel. Addressing complexity in prevention research using systems approaches: systems case studies.

UK Prevention Research Partnership (2019-5 yrs). CIs Bauld, Pettigrew, Gilmore, Brown, Brenna, Pearce, Langley, McNeill, Collin, Britton, Syrett, Friel. Shaping public health policies to reduce inequalities and harm (SPECTRUM). 

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence Social Determinants of Health Equity (CRESDH). (2015-2019). CIs Baum F, Friel S, Kay A, McDermott D, Labonte R, Ziersch A, Strazdins L, Harris P, Mackean T, Newman L.

NHMRC Partnership Centre (June 2013-May 2018) CIs Andrew Wilson, Sally Redman, Alan Shiell, Adrian Bauman, Lyn Roberts, Sharon Friel, Billie Giles-Corti, Penny Hawe, Sandra Eades, Louise Baur, Shelley Bowen. Systems Approaches to the Prevention of Lifestyle Related Chronic Disease.

ARC Discovery (2013-2015). CIs Friel S, Bammer G, Kay A, Gleeson D, Thow AM, AIs Labonte R, Snowden W, Stuckler D. Trade policy: maximising benefits for nutrition, food security, human health, and the economy.

INFORMAS - the International Network on Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support (Trade and Investment module leader)

ARC Discovery grant (2013-2015). CIs Friel S, Pearson D, Lawrence M. Shrinking the food-print by creating consumer demand for sustainable and healthy eating.

ARC Linkage grant. CIs Lawrence M, Ryan C, Friel S, Moodie M. Modelling policy interventions to protect Australia’s food security in the face of environmental sustainability challenges.

World Bank, South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), September 2013-October 2015. Co-Principal Investigators Dr Kremlin Wickramasinghe (University of Oxford, UK), Professor Sharon Friel (Australian National University).

Expertise Areas

  • Health Equity
  • Social determinants of health
  • Public Policy
  • Governance
  • Climate change and health
  • Food systems
  • Urbanisation and health


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