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Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political Science
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Professor Sabu S Padmadas MSc, PhD, FHEA

Associate Dean (International) and Professor of Demography and Global Health

Professor Sabu S Padmadas's photo

Professor Sabu S. Padmadas is Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor of Demography and Global Health, and Founding Co-Director of the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy (GHP3) at the University of Southampton.

Through multidisciplinary research, I am strongly committed to transferring scientific knowledge and building capacity in new generation researchers to solve complex global population and health challenges that contemporary societies face in the era of uncertainty

Padmadas obtained a PhD degree in Demography in 2000 from the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, an MSc degree in Demography in 1995 and a BSc degree in Mathematics with Statistics and Physics in 1992 from the University of Kerala in India, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in 2006 from the University of Southampton. Padmadas joined the University of Southampton as a Lecturer in Demography in 2002 after completing a two-year term as post-doctoral fellow of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences at the University of Groningen. He is currently a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the China Population & Development Research Centre, a think-tank attached to the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China.  

His research interests focus broadly on population dynamics and the application of demographic analysis and statistical modelling of global health and wellbeing outcomes in low-middle income and transition economies. He has international expertise in programme impact evaluation and quantitative demography using census and survey data including calendar data, life course and birth history analyses, and population projections. The specific areas of his research cover a broad spectrum of challenging population health topics including: family planning, reproductive and child health, inequalities in health and healthcare outcomes, nutrition, life course epidemiology, population health policies and social determinants of disease outcomes. The journey to his multidisciplinary research career began with the publication of his doctoral thesis entitled ‘Intergenerational Transmission of Health: Reproductive Health of Mother and Child Survival in Kerala, South India’ – and inspired by his mentors: Professor Frans Willekens, Professor Inge Hutter and Professor PS Nair. 

A significant achievement of Padmadas’ academic career is the research spanning over a decade (since 2003) evaluating three cycles of the United Nations Reproductive Health and Family Planning programme in China, which generated high impact and policy response at the national level. This was a high profile collaborative programme with the then National Population and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Padmadas has an excellent track record of successful research grants funded by the UK and International Research Councils, British Academy, UK Department for International Development, UK Royal Society, International Development Research Centre (Canada), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norway Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), United Nations and the World Health Organisation. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in international journals, and has served as referee for research councils and for over 30 leading international journals. Over the years, his research has attracted attention from governmental and international think-tank agencies, policy decision-makers and other international media including BBC World Services and New York Times. 

Country experience: India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Oman, Mauritius, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Bangladesh, The Netherlands, Portugal, and UK 

His passion for teaching is highly valued by undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of disciplines across the University of Southampton. In 2010, he was honoured with the Vice Chancellor Award for excellence in high quality teaching and curriculum development, and subsequently the Southampton Students Union Teaching Awards for innovative teaching and outstanding lecturer category, consistently for over four years. His major contribution to higher education has been the broadening horizon curriculum innovation global health programme and the design and implementation of a cross-Faculty multidisciplinary quantitative MSc programme in Global Health based within Social Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Awards and Honours (selected)


Research interests

Selected Research Projects 

UNFPA China Reproductive Health/ Family Planning
Quantitative evaluation of a large-scale reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP) country programme, focused on informed choices and quality of care in RH/FP services, three cycles including Fourth Country Programme (1998-2002); Fifth Country Programme (2003-2005) and Sixth Country Programme (2006-2011). The evaluation of CP4 was funded by UK-DFID and that of subsequent cycles along with a series of technical and research capacity training were funded directly by the United Nations. The independent evaluation was led by Padmadas and Professor James Brown (currently based at the University of Technology Sydney), jointly with senior researchers from China Population and Development Research Centre affiliated to then National Population and Family Planning Commission, and National Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health and Chinese Centre for Disease Control within the Ministry of Health of PR Government of China. 

Brazil-India ESRC Pathfinder Collaborative Analysis of Microdata Resources
Inequalities in access to health care in Brazil and India: Closing the gap for the poorest poor (2010-2011), funded by UK-Economic and Social Research Council (PI). The project was a trilateral research collaboration between University of Southampton and University of Portsmouth, London School of Economics, Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional (Cedeplar) of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), Institute for Social & Economic Change (Bangalore), Centre for Development Studies (Trivandrum), International Institute for Population Sciences (Mumbai) and Public Health Foundation of India (New Delhi). 

China ESRC Pathfinder Collaborative Analysis of Microdata Resources
Coping with the urban environment? Gender disadvantage, social inequalities and wellbeing of economic migrants in China (2012-2013), funded by UK-Economic and Social Research Council (PI) in collaboration with the China Population and Development Research Centre, Institute of Population and Labour Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Centre for Public Health Research of Nanjing University. 

China-South ESRC Africa Pathfinder Collaborative Analysis of Microdata Resources
Assessing the impact of internal labour migration on intergenerational support, health and income: the cases of China and South Africa (2012-2013), funded by UK-Economic and Social Research Council (Co-I). The project was a trilateral collaboration led by Professor Jane Falkingham with the Institute of Population and Labour Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the School of Public Health of University of Witswatersrand (South Africa). 

India-Europe Research Network Programme
Ageing and well-being in a globalizing world (2012-2015), funded by UK Economic & Social Research Council jointly with the Indian Council of Social Science Research, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, French Agence Nationale de la Recherche and German Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Co-I). The project was led by Professor Maria Evandrou in collaboration with the Population Research Centre of the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), Institute for Social and Economic Change (Bangalore), Centre for Development Studies (Trivandrum) and Tata Institute for Social Sciences (Mumbai). 

East Africa Regional Analysis of Youth Demographics (ReAYD)
Regional analysis of youth demographics: focus on Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda (2017-2018), funded by the East Africa Research Fund of UK Department for International Development (co-I), led by Dr. Eliya Zulu and Professor Nyovani Madise of African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP). 

DEltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA)
Deltaic Environments, vulnerability and Climate Change: The role of Migration as an Adaptation and its policy implications (2014-2018), funded by Canada International Development Research Centre and UK Department for International Development (co-I). The multidisciplinary project is led by Professor Robert Nicholls (Engineering and Environment) of the University of Southampton, involving over 15 partner institutions from the Bangladesh, Ghana, India and the UK including the Basque Centre for Climate Change (Spain), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Kulima – Integrated Development Solutions (South Africa), UK MET Office and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). 

Integrating Maternity Care into Ghana Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme
Collaborative research-policy network, supported by ESRC GCRF Impact Acceleration Funds, aimed at translating research evidence from MATMAPS and evaluation research for reorienting and integrating maternity care into CHPS programme and contribute to enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of mothers and children from socially disadvantaged and hard-to-reach communities. The follow-up conducted a situational assessment for developing protocols, guidelines and tools for monitoring pre-referral management of emergency obstetric complications to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Ghana. The project is led jointly by Dr. Fiifi Amoako Johnson and Professor Sabu Padmadas, in partnership with Ghana Health Services (GHS), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Cape Town and stakeholders representing the District Assembly. 

Selected International Research Consultancies/ Network 

Scientific Evaluation of Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) Maternal and Newborn Health programme
Funded by Norad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi, the Norway-India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) is a bilateral programme between the Governments of Norway and India integrated to the National Health Mission. NIPI provides support for testing, implementing and scaling-up health innovations for improving newborn, child and maternal health outcomes in rural areas of thirteen districts of the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha. The scientific evaluation and writing is led by Professor Sabu Padmadas, jointly with Professor Zoe Matthews, public health experts, clinicians, epidemiologists, demographers and social scientists from University of Oslo, NIPI monitoring and evaluation team, Jhpiego affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, International Institute for Population Sciences, World Health Organisation and Oxford Policy Management India. 

Health Outcomes of Migration Events (HOME) Research Network of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)
Multidisciplinary global research network (co-I) aimed at synthesising and examining global evidence on the heterogeneous impact of migration on health outcome, engaging researchers from WUN partner institutions: University of Alberta, University of Auckland, University of Bergen, University of Bristol,  Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Leeds, Maastricht University, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University of Western Australia, and partners representing University of Johannesburg, University of Wisconsin and University of the Witwatersrand. 

Technical Support to the Production of the 2012 Rwanda Population and Housing Census Thematic Reports on Fertility, Mortality and Population Projections
Capacity building and demographic analysis technical support to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) for the production of Census monographs in collaboration with Oxford Policy Management supported by the World Bank and UNFPA. 

Social Observatory Strategic Research Programme of The Research Council, Sultanate of Oman
Applied multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research on the scope, design and technical support for implementing a Social Indicators Database for monitoring continuous social change under the Social Observatory National Strategic Research Programme in the Sultanate of Oman, funded by The Research Council (TRC) in collaboration with the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Education, Manpower, National Centre for Statistics and Information, Royal Oman Police and Sultan Qaboos University. The high-level national project was led by Professor Sabu Padmadas and Dr. Fiifi Amoako Johnson with Dr. Julia Branson of GeoData Institute of the University of Southampton in collaboration with Dr. Yousuf Al Busaidi (TRC) and other stakeholders from government ministries and national agencies in Oman. 

Social and Economic Determinants of Non-Communicable Diseases in Mauritius
Situational analysis of secondary data, official and policy reports on health equity, and social and economic determinants associated with non-communicable diseases in Mauritius funded by World Health Organisation (co-I), led by Professor Nyovani Madise.


Research project(s)

Pathfinder Collaborative Analyses of Microdata Resources

Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation

The Pioneers Project

This project, funded by the University of Southampton, UKRI India, and the Asian Media Group, will create a ‘living history resource’ which documents and analyses the lives of successful South Asians who have made Britain their home, achieved visibility in various sectors, and have made an economic, sociocultural, political and intellectual contribution to its modern society since the 1960s. The project has policy implications in the realm of the social integration of established ethnic minority communities, social cohesion, and multiculturalism in a diverse and globalised Britain.

Heritage, Religion and Diaspora

The Pioneers Project, a project of the University of Southampton’s India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.

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Book Chapter



Working Paper

“I deeply value, cherish and enjoy teaching a wide range of fascinating and innovative methodological and substantive courses at the Department of Social Statistics and Demography.” 

UOSM2004 – Global Health is a University of Southampton multidisciplinary Curriculum Innovation collaborative course offered to undergraduate students across all faculties within the University (since 2011, designed, taught/co-taught).   

MSc Global Health –multidisciplinary collaborative Masters programme with a quantitative focus towards demography, statistics, epidemiology with GIS optional, based at the Faculty of Social Sciences (since 2015, designed, taught/co-taught, former programme director). 

Courses coordinated/taught since 2002


ST306/ STAT3003: Population Projections
ST221/321; STAT2008/3011; DEMO2002/3001: Demography
STAT1003: Introduction to Quantitative Methods
ST109: Psychology Statistics Lab
STAT2009: Research Methods in Social Sciences
STAT2001/DEMO2007/DEMO2014: Population Analysis I 

S216/316: Fertility Biology and Behaviour
STAT2003: Demographic Issues in the Developing World
STAT2015/3016; DEMO2008/3007/6007: Population and Health 

DEMO1003: Population and Society
DEMO2001: Data for Social Sciences
DEMO2010: Population in Developing Societies
DEMO2012/3014/6009: Reproductive Health
DEMO3006: Population Analysis II
DEMO3015: Applied Population Analysis 

UOSM2004: Global Health
UOSM2018: Understanding Modern China 


STAT6003/ DEMO6001: Contemporary Demographic Issues
STAT6005: Statistical Data Analysis
STAT6034: Demography II
STAT6085: Design and Analysis of Surveys
STAT6077: Social Science Data: Sources and Measurement
STAT6099: Research Skills 

DEMO6016: Population Projections
DEMO6020: Demographic Methods I 

GLHE6001: Critical Issues in Global Health: Concepts and Case Studies


Research Students

“I am inspired, challenged and enthused by my fellow doctoral research students with whom I share a special life-long relationship.”

1. Fiifi AMOAKO JOHNSON (2002-2005, Ghana), thesis title: Pregnancy planning and utilisation of delivery care in Ghana: Application of multilevel and small area analysis, degree awarded in 2005.

2. Mohammad Amirul ISLAM (2003-2006, Bangladesh), thesis title: Men’s reproductive health in Bangladesh, degree awarded in 2006.

3. Andrew CHANNON (2003-2006, UK), thesis title: Quantifying birth weight data in less developed countries: Analysis of Demographic Health Surveys, degree awarded in 2006.

4. Ngaire COOMBS (2007-2011, UK), thesis title: Health inequalities in New Zealand: An examination of mortality and hospital utilisation trends, with reference to the compression of morbidity hypothesis, degree awarded in 2011.

5. Olga MASLOVSKAYA (2007-2011, Belarus), thesis title: Measuring HIV awareness and knowledge: Analyses of cross-sectional surveys with a focus on China, degree awarded in 2011.

6. Mark LYONS-AMOS (2007-2012, UK), thesis title: Natural contraceptive use in Moldova: Correlates, fertility timing and efficacy among users in Moldova, degree awarded in 2012.

7. Jamal Abdul NASIR (2009-2013, Pakistan), thesis title: Fertility transition in Pakistan: neglected dimensions and policy implications, successfully completed, degree awarded in 2013.

8. Lana CHIKUNGHU (2009-2013, Malawi), thesis title: Modelling under-nutrition in under-five children in Malawi, successfully completed, degree awarded in 2013.

9. Sylvia SZABO (2011-2014, Hungary), thesis title: Global inequalities in urbanisation and human development, successfully completed, degree awarded in 2014.

10. Amie KAMANDA (2011-2015, Sierra Leone/UK), thesis title: Demographic impact of conflict in Sierra Leone, successfully completed, degree awarded in 2014.

11. Qin MIN (2012-2016, China), thesis title: Evolution of family planning policy and its impact on population change in China, successfully completed, degree awarded in 2016.

12. Bernice KUANG (2014-2017, USA), Female migration, union formation dynamics and reproductive behaviour in the Philippines, thesis successfully completed, degree awarded in 2018.

13. Abiodun Idowu ADANIKIN (2015-2018, Nigeria), High fertility and persistent low modern contraceptive uptake in Nigeria: appraisal of determinants for policy modification, degree awarded in 2018. 

14. Amira AL AAMRI (2015-2018, Oman), Modelling the complexity of motor vehicle crashes in Oman using random-parameters count models and finite mixture models, degree awarded in 2018.

15. Tawia ABBAM (2015-2018, UK/Ghana), thesis title: Environmental changes, land use and child health outcomes in Ghana, thesis currently under-progress.

16. Chloe HARVEY (2015-2018, UK), Infant and young child feeding practices in the Asia-Pacific Region, thesis currently under-progress.

17. Anne SCHUSTER (2015-2019, USA), Determinants of fertility in Myanmar: New directions on fertility decline in developing countries, thesis currently under-progress.

18. Shibei NI (2016-2020), Two child policy in China: challenges and implications, thesis currently under-progress. 

19. Gayathri Dineshika Abeywickrama (2017-2020, Sri Lanka) Inequalities in maternal and child health and healthcare outcomes, thesis currently under-progress.

20. Kaveri MAYRA (2018-2021), Quality of maternal health care in India: Understanding quality and respectfulness in care provision from perspectives of nurses’ and new mothers’, thesis under progress.

  • Associate Dean International, Faculty of Social Sciences representing School of Economics, Political and Social Sciences, School of Mathematical Sciences, Southampton Business School, School of Law and School of Education
  • Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) UoS Steering Group
  • Researcher, Global Health Research Institute
  • Researcher, Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute
  • Theme Leader, Population and Health, China Research Centre

External responsibilities 

  • External Examiner, MSc Global Population Health, London School of Economics (since 2016)
  • External Examiner, MSc Demography and Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (since 2017)
  • Member, UK Economic and Social Research Council Peer Review College, 2010-2012; second term 2012-2014; third term: 2015-2019
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of BioSocial Science, University of Cambridge (since 2010)
  • Associate Editor, BMC International Health and Human Rights (since 2017)
  • Member, Editorial Board, China Population and Development Studies, Springer (since 2017)
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Demography India (since 2018)

Membership in professional organisations (selected)
Scientific Panel on Family Demography in Developing Countries (International Union for Scientific Studies on Population); British Society for Population Studies; Indian Association for Population (Life Member); European Association of Population Studies; Centre for Nepal Studies-UK (Board Member); Population Association of America (past Member) 

Referee/panel membership
Economic and Social Research Council; Medical Research Council; National Environment Research Council; National Institute of Health Research Public Health Research Programme; Australian National Health and Medical Research Council 

Peer-reviewed journals referee: Lancet, Lancet Global Health, Demography, American Journal of Epidemiology, International Family Planning Perspectives, Studies in Family Planning, Population Studies, Demographic Research, PLOS-ONE, PLOS-Medicine, International Journal of Epidemiology, Health and Place; International Sociology, Social Science & Medicine, SSM-Population Health, Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, Journal of Biosocial Science, American Journal of Public Health, European Journal of Population, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition, Health Policy and Planning, Population, Space and Place, Annals of Human Biology, Applied Statistics, Sociological Methods and Research, Health Education, AIDS Behaviour, BMC Paediatrics, Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, BMC Health Services Research, World Economy, Climacteric, World Development, Journal of Royal Statistical Society Series A, Journal of Royal Statistical Society Series C.


Professor Sabu S Padmadas
Social Statistics & Demography Social Sciences University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 58/4015

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