Kettil Bruun Society Thematic Conference on Alcohol Policy Research


Conference Program

Venue and Transport

Conference Papers

  Thematic meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society: Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, 8-11th September 2014.

Alcohol Policy Research: Putting together a global evidence base



Alcohol policies are on the societal agenda in a number of countries.  There are widespread concerns about rises in rates of alcohol-induced health and social harms and how these may be countered. Countries like Australia which greatly liberalised their alcohol markets are holding inquiries and arguing about what can be done to reduce the harms. Middle-income countries with broad traditions of abstention are concerned about rising rates of alcohol problems as affluence increases. Internationally, WHO has a Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol, and alcohol figures as a primary risk factor which must be controlled in the forthcoming global effort against Non-Communicable Diseases.

In this context, an international research conference on Alcohol Policy Research: Putting together a global evidence base will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 8-11th September 2014.  The conference will be a thematic meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol (

Organisation and Program Committee

The conference will be hosted by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point, in Melbourne (Sarah Callinan, Michael Livingston, Amy Pennay, Robin Room, Claire Wilkinson). A broader organising committee for the meeting includes Paul Dietze (Burnet Institute), Kypros Kypri (University of Newcastle), Peter Miller (Deakin University), Alison Ritter (University of New South Wales) and Emma Saleeba (VicHealth).

Conference Papers

We would greatly appreciate it if you could please email your conference paper to by the  8th August to enable programming and circulation prior to the meeting

Papers are welcome from a variety of methodological traditions, including controlled trials, population survey analyses, time-series analyses, cost-effectiveness studies, historical studies, ethnographic and observational studies, social psychology experimental studies and systematic reviews.

The conference will be organised around the first four themes below, although all abstracts relevant to the conference topic will be considered.

  • Policy impact studies: research on the effects of particular alcohol policies, and of variations in the implementation or enforcement of policies.
  • Differential effects of policies across population sub-groups: research on how particular policies affect different sub-populations of drinkers as well as styles and levels of drinking, and drinking in particular contexts.
  • Interplay of policies with drinking cultures: research on how different social worlds of drinking respond to policy changes such as increased taxes and changes in closing hours, and to what extent drinking groups or subcultures counteract the intended effect of policies
  • The formation and implementation of alcohol policies: trends in and determinants of public opinion on alcohol policies; political processes in alcohol policy change and in implementation of policies;
  • Neglected policy areas in preventing alcohol problems: examples of such topics include: the influence of hotel design on the occurrence of problems; effects of music style and volume on drinking rate and problems; facilitators and deterrents of pre-, side- and post-loading; policies supporting responses of family and friends to problematic drinking, the influence of social determinants and health inequities on alcohol consumption and related harms.

Invited Speakers

The following international researchers will present on the primary themes of the conference:

  • The impact of alcohol policy changes, and the policy response (Gerhard Gmel/Switzerland, Tanya Chikritzhs/Australia and Charles Parry/South Africa);
  • The differential effects of policies across population sub-groups (Petra Meier/U.K. and Norman Giesbrecht/Canada);
  • The interplay of policies with drinking cultures (Peter d’Abbs/Australia and Pia Mäkelä/Finland); and
  • The formation and implementation of alcohol policy (James Nicholls/U.K., Carol Bacchi/Australia, and Thaksaphon (Mek) Thamarangsi/Thailand).

Size and Structure of the Meeting

We aim to have 50-70 scholars from various fields participating in the conference. Papers for the meeting will be circulated to participants in advance on a protected website, and introduced rather than read by the presenter, to allow as much meeting time as possible for discussion.  Presentations will be organised in sessions of 1.5 hours with three or four papers per session; a chair and one or two discussants will be assigned to each session.

Time and Venue

The meeting will run from Monday 8th to to Thursday September 11th. There will be an open public forum on 12th September with summary presentations of selected papers from the meeting.  Conference participants are welcome to stay on for this public forum.  The conference will be held in Fitzroy, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne.


It is expected that a selection of papers from the meeting will be published (after revision) grouped in thematic issues of journals or otherwise.

Conference registration fee

There will be no registration fee for the conference, but those giving papers will be expected to find finance for their own travel and accommodation. The organisers will suggest hotel options at different price levels near the conference site.


Two forums are being run in conjunction with the Thematic Meeting. Details of both events are attached.

  •  Tuesday 9th Sep, at 5pm —  An examination of why disadvantaged populations experience a greater burden of alcohol-related chronic disease and what can we, as researchers, do about it?  An invitation for the forum is attached.
  •  Friday 12th Sep, during 10am-1pm — a day event on Reducing Alcohol Harms: A Global Perspective, this will include a number of speakers from the week talking about the International Policy experience (including in Scotland, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, USA) and then a panel discussion, on the topic “What I would do to address alcohol harms if I were elected Premier of Victoria?”.  An invitation and program for the day is attached.

 These events are being run with two of our conference supporters – The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and education (FARE).

We need you to RSVP to each of these events separately to help us with catering.


The Alcohol and Other Drugs Conference Program is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund and is managed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

The conference is proudly supported by:

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