Spotlight on Dr Michael Fleming

This week, we hear from one of ADR UK's Ambassadors, Dr Michael Fleming, who is based in Glasgow.

Michael became an ADR UK Ambassador in 2023. He is a lecturer in Public Health and a chartered statistician within the School of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow.

We asked Michael some questions to get an insight into his career and his research interests.

Why did you decide on a career in data?

I started considering statistics as a viable career option after finishing my undergraduate degree in Applied Maths and Astronomy, so I undertook an MSc in Applied Statistics. Shortly after starting I joined what is now Public Health Scotland as a statistician and finished my MSc on a part time basis. Ten years later I undertook a PhD in Public Health and moved into academia full time, becoming a Lecturer in Public Health in 2021.

What does your job entail?

I am fortunate that my role involves both research and teaching. I teach statistics and epidemiology for the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and supervise PhD, MPH, and undergraduate students.

My research interests include using novel record linkage techniques and statistical methods to analyse complex linked data for research purposes across the spectrum of public health. I am particularly interested in child and adolescent health including educational outcomes related to childhood chronic conditions. 

Currently I am working with PhD students focusing on investigating birth and child health, including educational and neurodevelopmental outcomes related to exposures to a range of medications in utero. I am also working with another group of PhD students on exploring prediction models for neurodevelopmental conditions in childhood.

What is your favourite professional accomplishment?

At the ADR UK Conference in Swansea in 2019, my oral presentation on educational and health outcomes of children treated for chronic conditions won the “Best Paper for Evidence to Support Policy” prize.

Whilst I have been lucky enough to win a few prizes, this one was particularly memorable given the prestige of the conference and because the presentation brought together a large body of research conducted across both my PhD and subsequent fellowship which culminated in my PhD thesis and six published papers. To see those different elements recognised together felt really rewarding.

What causes you frustration in your current role?

That is an easy question to answer - as data access is definitely one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome, causing me lots of frustration before commencing my research.

I find the processes for accessing linked data are getting more complicated and convoluted! Sadly the length of time spent waiting to receive data are unfortunately ever-increasing.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy the relative freedom and autonomy.

My current projects have also resulted in the appointments of several PhD students which has provided me with valuable PGR supervision experience.

Can you tell us about where you grew up?

I was born in Govan, Glasgow and grew up in Penilee and went to Ralston Primary School, Glasgow. This was where I developed my love of playing football. Sadly due to a knee injury, I no longer play but do enjoy supporting Celtic and Liverpool.

Favourite book

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is such an enjoyable read - it blows my mind every time!


If anyone has similar research interests to Michael and wishes to discuss his current projects, please email

This article was published on 30 Oct 2023

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