Skip to main content

Professor Simon Forrest

Principal of College of St Hild and St Bede

Principal of College of St Hild and St Bede in the Department of Sociology 
Principal of College of St Hild and St Bede+44 (0) 191 33 48572


Simon joined the Sociology Department in 2019. He had previously worked at Newcastle University and between 2014 and '17 was Head of the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health at Durham. In his early career he taught in secondary and further education before occupying advisory and management positions in health promotion targeting young people. The focus of this work, on HIV/Aids prevention and sexual health promotion has underpinned his academic career. His Masters degree involved empirical research into the dance and drug cultures of the period, HIV/Aids prevention for young people and gender, sexuality and health. An increasing interest in the relational dimensions of young people’s experience was reflected in his doctoral research which explored teenagers’ experiences of being in love.

He has worked on a number of studies and evaluations focusing on various aspects of young people’s sexual attitudes and lifestyles. He was a Research Fellow in the Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases at University College London and worked on the RIPPLE study – assessing the impact of peer-led sex education targeting young people and continues to research and write about gender, sexuality and sexual health with a specific interest in the experiences of and interventions with boys and young men.

These substantives topical interests are coupled to a commitment to educating people about health including supporting health professionals and groups and communities to identify and address their needs. In his time at UCL Simon was involved in supporting medical students who initiated their own programme of peer-led community-based sexual health promotion and was involved in establishing a similar programme at St George’s Medical School.

Throughout his career Simon has contributed to under- and post-graduate teaching as well as training programmes for professionals in health, welfare and education. He offers to supervision to postgraduate research students in fields cognate to his own and mentors Post-doctoral researchers. He also contributes to a variety of national and international expert groups, advisory committees and conferences, is a regular reviewer for the ESRC, NIHR, MRC and other major funders as well supporting from the Board one of the world’s most effective charitable information providers around HIV/Aids – AVERT and the Boys Development Project. Simon Co-chairs the UK’s national network of Behavioural and Social Scientists Teaching in medicine (BeSST).

Research interests

  • The sexual attitudes and behaviour of young people
  • Sexual health promotion and education
  • Sexuality and gender, especially young masculinities
  • The social and cultural context of emotional experience

Esteem Indicators


Authored book

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Print)


Supervision students