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Value of occupational health research
  1. Lin Fritschi1,
  2. Peter M Smith2,3,4
  1. 1 School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4 School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lin Fritschi, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102, Australia; lin.fritschi{at}

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Most readers of this journal would recognise that occupational health (OH) research is valuable. The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), a UK-based organisation for healthcare professionals working in or with an interest in OH, recently released a report where the objective was to assess the value of OH research.1 To do this, they undertook a scoping review of economic evaluations of OH interventions (one aspect of OH research) and conducted a series of nine interviews with academic experts, OH providers and representatives from employers and governments in the UK and internationally. Based on these activities, they concluded that, while there is a strong case supporting the societal and public value of OH research, there is a lack of high-quality intervention studies that demonstrate the economic value of OH interventions. The report also provides nine recommendations which emphasise: the need for leadership and coordination of OH research both in the research agenda and the dissemination of research findings; developing and expanding the OH research workforce; using new technologies; and placing more emphasis on gathering data which shows the value of OH research.

The SOM report comments on the decreasing size of the OHS research workforce, and the ageing of the current cohort of researchers. The authors also lament the lack of clear pathways to a career in OHS research. We note that these challenges are …

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  • Contributors LF and PMS wrote the commentary together.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests No, there are no competing interests for any author.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.