Greg Irving

Favourite Thing: One of the most fun things I do is help decide which new medical technology should be used in the NHS. I get to see all the latest gadgets from powerful lasers that zap cancers to ultrasound machines than can fix broken bones. I read all the scientific studies published on a given technology and work out whether it really helps people or not !



University of Nottingham 1999-2004, University of Liverpool 2010-2013, University of Oxford 2011-2013,



Work History:

NHS, University of Oxford, University of Liverpool

Current Job:

Clinical Lecturer in General Practice


University of Cambridge

About Me

I’m a doctor doctor; a clinical doctor who also does science.

I work in Cambridge and live with my partner, Bik-ki. My best friend is a three year old Shih tzu dog called Butters – he says hi!


Outside of  work I like to compete in Ironman triathlon races – 2.4-mile swimming, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon, all in the same day !!!



My Work

I’m a clinical scientist – I live in the cracks between the NHS and research

I live in the cracks between the National Health Service and research – I’m a GP and Clinical Lecture in the Department of Public health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge


I identify uncertainties in clinical practice and try to answer them.


My work mostly focuses on preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes; informing the how we provide high quality clinical care for patients in the NHS.

My work has taken me all around the world and  I’ve event spent time working at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

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You can see my work profile here if you are interested:


My Typical Day

Either discussing a clinical trial with collegues around the word or seeing 40 patients a day

My typical week is divided between research and clinical work. I usually do my research on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and I do my clinical work on a Friday.

A typical research day


This is the building where I often spend my time on a research day. At the moment I’m helping to run a clinical trial in three European countries – The UK, The Netherlands and Denmark. In the morning I may join a teleconference with other researchers from these countries. We discuss how the scientific study is progressing and how many patients we have recruited. The research group is made up of statisticians, data managers, study co-ordinators and other doctors like me. In the afternoon I analyse data gathered from thousands of GP computer systems in the NHS. The data covers millions of patients and tells me what problems people presented with and what eventually happened to them. I use this to develop tools so other doctors and identify diseases earlier. I write a lot of scientific papers and reports.Getting constructive criticism on your work is important in science so I often share what I write with my boss, Professor Griffin – he’s a GP too!

A typical clinical day


This is GP practice where I do my clinics. I normally do two clinics, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and see around 40 patients. When you’re a GP anything and everything can walk through the door; from a simple cough to a life threatening brain tumour. I only have 10 minutes to decide what’s wrong with each patient and treat them – that can be challenging, especially when people have more than one disease and take lots of drugs.

What I'd do with the money

Show how applied science has transformed the NHS over the years.

I would use the money to show how applied science has transformed the NHS over the years. I would show how research benefits patients and the public, every single time they go to see the GP! I would show how genetics and big data are likely to improve patient care in the future.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Imaginative, Skeptical, Sporty.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I love the Muse ! I’m going to see them in concert in a few months

What's your favourite food?

Japanese food – I love sushi !

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Travelled the world. I’m actually writing this sat in a noodle bar in Japan.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor !

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Oh yes !

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I did some work on the effectiveness of the hepatitis A vaccine that changed vaccination policy all around the world.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Dr Scott, my biology teacher in school. I can still remember the first time he showed by the inside of a cell – amazing !

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?


If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1. Travel to Mars 2. Climb mount Everest 3. Race in the Ironman world championship in Hawaii

Tell us a joke.

Why did the umberella go to see the doctor? Because he was feeling under the weather. Sorry !

Other stuff

Work photos: