History of PSG

Interest in demographic research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) dates back to 1964 when William Brass became the first Reader in Medical Demography at the University of London. The MSc Medical Demography (now MSc Demography and Health) was launched in 1970 and the Centre for Population Studies was established formally in 1974 with support from the UK Ministry of Overseas Development (now Department for International Development – DFID) who remained a major funder of research at the Centre until 2004.

The Centre’s international reputation was built initially on its contributions to technical demographic research, in particular the development of new indirect methods for estimating fertility and mortality in developing countries. Today, the Centre has a broader research agenda. The investigation of British demographic trends first became an important field of activity in 1977 when the Centre became a designated research centre of the Economic and Social Research Council. During the 1990s the Centre became increasingly active in reproductive health research and in 1998, in collaboration with other experts in the School, it launched a new MSc in Reproductive & Sexual Health Research. Since the turn of the century it has also been home to a substantial programme of research on the demography of the global HIV and AIDS epidemic and as part of this coordinates the ALPHA Network.

Professor Brass remained the Centre’s Director until his retirement in 1988. It was subsequently headed by John Cleland, Emily Grundy, Ian Timaeus, and others. Following several restructurings and changes in nomenclature within LSHTM, in 2012 the Centre became the Population Studies Group within the Department of Population Health. It is currently headed by Rebecca Sear.

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