Over the past ten years Katherine's main research focus has been the construction, circulation and impact on policy of academic and other 'expert' knowledges. She is particularly interested in policies affecting public health (especially health inequalities), which is connected to her broader concerns with social justice and uneven power relations. Katherine's recent research explores: (i) the role that different genres of ideas (institutionalised, charismatic and vehicular) play in promoting or restricting policy change: (ii) how policy shapes research activities and the ideas promoted by academics to potential research 'users', including via funding opportunities (and perceptions of those opportunities); (iii) the ways in which large corporations influence policies affecting health outcomes (including by employing 'experts' and research-based ideas). Katherine has recently brought much of this work together in a new book, entitled Beyond Evidence Based Policy in Public Health: The Interplay of Ideas. This book is part of a new book series, Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy, which Katherine co-edits with Richard Freeman.
Katherine recently completed a two-year project funded through an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant exploring the role of: (i) third sector organisations and private actors in mediating public health knowledge; and (ii) 'evidence tools' (e.g. impact assessments, systematic reviews, cost-benefit analysis) as means of improving the use of public health evidence in decision-making. In 2014, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Sociology and Social Policy. These prizes are awarded by the Leverhulme Trust "to recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising." Katherine will be using the funding provided through this award to undertake research examining public perceptions of health inequalities evidence and potential policy responses using deliberative democracy approaches.