Darren Ashcroft

Darren Ashcroft, BPharm, MSc, PhD, FRPharmS


  • Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, Pharmacy

Personal profile


Professor Darren Ashcroft graduated in Pharmacy (BPharm) from the University of Nottingham and was awarded an MSc in Clinical Pharmacy (with Distinction) from the Queen’s University of Belfast and a PhD from the University of Aston. In 2002, he was appointed as Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Manchester. He was subsequently promoted to Reader in Medicines Usage and Safety in 2007 and Foundation Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology in 2010.

He is Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (GMPSTRC). He is an Honorary Professor at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Hong Kong. As the GMPSTRC’s Director, he leads the integration of an extensive programme of innovative research to improve patient safety across partner NHS Trusts, primary care networks, and the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham.

As well as his academic and clinical work, Darren is involved in a range of activities for the NIHR, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the UK National Health Service more widely. He sits on the Board of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) providing strategic leadership for research and capacity building to increase the evidence base for effective primary care practice.

For over 25 years, Darren has been a member of numerous local, regional, and national committees focused on medication usage and safety within the NHS. He regularly provides expert advice to the Department of Health and Social Care, including actions to improve medication safety following the third World Health Organization (WHO) Global Patient Safety Challenge “Medication Without Harm”, and to reduce overprescribing in the NHS. In 2017, he was appointed to the Pharmacovigilance Expert Advisory Group (PEAG) at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and routinely provides expert advice on the public health importance of new safety signals and how these risks should be managed.


Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Darren has been a member of numerous local, regional and national committees focused on medication usage within the NHS. Current membership includes:

National committees

  • Clinical Evaluation and Trials Prioritisation Group, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme
  • Patient Safety Advisory Committee, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
  • Prescribing Indicators National Group (PING), Department of Health
  • Technology Appraisals Committee, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Memberships of Professional Organisations

  • Academic Pharmacy Group
  • International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE)
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
  • UK Drug Utilisation Review Group (DURG)


  • 2016 - Fellow, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • 1999 - PhD - Aston University, Birmingham
  • 1996 - MSc (with Distinction) - The Queen's University of Belfast
  • 1994 - MRPharmS
  • 1993 - BPharm (Hons) - University of Nottingham



Disease Management


Influences on Professional Practice

Health economics

Post-graduate diploma in Clinical and Health Services Pharmacy

Medicines Management and Practice Research

Health Care Management

Research interests

Darren holds the Foundation Chair in Pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Manchester and is the founding Director of the Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. He was Head of the Drug Usage and Pharmacy Practice Division at Manchester Pharmacy School (2014-2021). He is Director of the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (GMPSTRC).

Darren is an international expert on medication safety with longstanding experience in leading large research teams spanning multiple universities and NHS organisations. He has led the GMPSTRC’s Medication Safety research theme since 2012, driving forward an extensive programme of innovative research to improve the safety of prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines in healthcare settings. He has led seminal studies to identify the frequency, nature and causes of medication errors and adverse drug events and has subsequently used these insights to develop and evaluate interventions. Recently, he led the development of a primary care-based electronic audit and feedback intervention to create a ‘learning healthcare system’ and examined its impact on reducing hazardous prescribing.

As a pharmacist and pharmaco-epidemiologist, his major research interests and teaching focus on the safe use of medicines within society. Topics of particular interest include methods to improve the appropriateness and safety of drug prescribing and drug taking, adherence by patients with prescribed regimens, and quantification of the risks and benefits of drug therapies.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Institute for Data Science and AI
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Healthier Futures


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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