FOIA reply: what work did Holford do for Teesside University?

In Teesside’s Case for Support (PDF) for offering former Patrick Holford a Visiting Professorship at the University, Teesside not only referred to possible funding resulting from this but also discussed possibilities for “collaboration and joint working in a number of areas”. However, a FOIA request on this issue brought an interesting response. Teesside were asked for

A list of the work which Mr Holford has carried out for Teesside University, including any teaching and/or research supervision which he was involved in.

However, they replied that

Mr Holford has not undertaken any teaching or research supervision.

Given that Teesside only got a rather disappointing total of £592.03 in funding from Food for the Brain, and do not appear to have got much in the way of work from Holford, one wonders what they have taken from former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford’s time at the University?

Teesside did, of course, get plenty of publicity from this episode – although this may not have been the type of publicity they would have hoped for. And, of course, Holford did carry out a significant amount of research and publication while he was Visiting Professor at Teesside: do readers have any suggestions as to which of Holford’s missives would be best for Teesside to include in their next Research Assessment Exercise submission?

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13 Comments

Filed under Holford, patrick holford, University of Teesside

13 responses to “FOIA reply: what work did Holford do for Teesside University?

  1. As far as I can tell, this seems to have been an unmitigated disaster for Teesside, having received: no work; very limited funding; and plenty of embarrassment. Oh dear.

  2. NTstudent

    does anyone know why I can’t find Holford in the NT list on either the NTC or BANT websites?
    has he been removed?

  3. Yes, they must be wishing they had never heard of PH.

    It is oddly reminiscent of what happens when Govts change, or new owners take over a football club: any advisers / friends / hangers-on associated w the previous set-up are rapidly shown the door, and the new lot then do their best to forget it ever happened.

    Incidentally, do the words “Professor Holford” appear anywhere on Cher Patrique’s website these days? I’m just curious

  4. Speakers for upcoming FFTB conference.

    Patrick Holford BSc DipION fBANT – founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 1984 and now directs the Food for the Brain Foundation. He is Visiting Professor at the School of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Teesside. Having originally trained in psychology, he specialises in the nutritional treatment of mental health problems. He is author of several books on the subject, including the NEW Optimum Nutrition Bible.

    OT – novel claim that I’d not seen before from How 2 quit.

    Patrick’s work in addiction Patrick has had a major interest in addiction since the 1970s when he graduated in psychology. In his holidays he worked in treatment centres, ranging from halfway houses in the East End of London (whose residents would sometimes resort to hairspray to get their fix) to residential treatment centres for professionals at the other end of the social scale. He also worked in a treatment centre for heroin addicts.

    He later specialised in mental illness, from depression to schizophrenia, and became convinced that nutrition was the vital missing key, since the brain not only depends on, but is literally built from, nutrients commonly lacking in our Westernised diets. He studied the approaches of the late Dr Linus Pauling, a twice Nobel prizewinner, and became the student of Dr Abram Hoffer, who pioneered nutrition-based approaches to addiction back in the 1960s, with amazing success.

  5. NTStudent – I don’t know if Holford is practising as Nutritional Therapist nowadays, or focusing on other work (‘research’, media work, supervision, etc…)? He is a Fellow of BANT, rather than a member.

  6. Ho hum.

    I have an on-off project I have been toying with, which is to re-write my CV/bio in the ludicrous puff-piece self-aggrandizing way that people like Patrick (and to a marginally lesser extent John Briffa) do, thereby showing how easily you can make someone who is clearly not a “world expert” sound like a “tremendous grand authority”.

    So far I have been restrained from doing this by the fact that it would be a little difficult without “outing” myself, but much more of this kind of tripe and I may have no alternative.

    In this approach, any prize of any kind, ever, including the 6th form needlework prize, makes you “prize winning….”; anyone whose papers you ever read is “someone whose work you studied”; anyone vaguely well-known you visited for a few days is someone you “studied with”; any talk or seminar you gave anywhere, ever, no matter how mundane, becomes an “invited lecture”; every non-refereed book chapter becomes a “scientific article”; every column a “published article”, every travel grant “research funding” etc etc.

  7. UK dietitian

    It reminds me of a fantastic poster the Health Professions Council had to show the lack of value in ‘any old certificate’. It showed a middle aged man proudly holding up a certificate of swimming achievement.

    Theres one for Patrick out there – its called the ‘Walter Mitty Diploma in Optimal B******t, and its the only Diploma where Patrick gained a distinction.

    Isnt it obvious why he provided no educational development at Teeside?
    1. The bona fide nutrition dept up there were quietly getting on with their job
    2. Patrick had neither the where withall or the knowledge to compete in anything other than the ‘media studies’ modules
    3. It takes time away from serious ‘research’ having to kick your PR team to setting up gullible journalists and pushing the ‘Prof’ branding before time ran out on it
    obvious, innit?

  8. Actually, Holford is a model of restraint and modesty when compared to some recent self-promoting material that should be read with a soundrack of lightning bolts, clashing cymbals, brass trumpets bringing down the Walls of Jericho etc.

  9. Wulfstan

    My, that was an interesting letter.

    Is it necessary to actually visit someone to ‘study with them’ or is it enough to have read a book or a profile about them in a Sunday supplement? In which case, I declare myself a student of Richard Feynman, Nicholas Negroponte, Colin Michael Foale and a slew of Nobel Prize winners.

    I’m hurt that no one saw fit to record my very early work in sand as an architectural medium, in addition to my pioneering empirical work in verifying the safety of Play-Doh as a foodstuff. I now recall giving several lectures to educational institutions (otherwise known as talking about your hobbies to your classmates). However, there is no need for me to continue omitting them in my own CV and I shall take care to do this the next time that I am applying for the post of Napoleon or Munchausen.

  10. As an eight year old I was once invited (with my family) to Albert Szent-Gyorgy’s party, so I shall obviously be putting him on my list of mentors.

    Albert S-G was the guy who discovered Vitamin C, so he even trumps Linus Pauling, who merely decided it was the cure for everything. Though come to think of it, I went to University with Linus Pauling’s grand-daughter, so I can include him too. Perfect!

  11. Mentors and life-long family-friend for Albert S-G, surely.

    Albert S-G spotted my potential at an early age and fostered my interest in physiology, guiding my earliest work in keeping an earthworm farm and the stabling of guinea-pigs, who like humans do not produce their own vitamin c.

    My work was later recognised by the Pauling family who took a keen interest in attending any presentations that I gave, even as an undergraduate, and sometimes asked to see my notes…

  12. Ha, ha, ha. Well I can beat you all. I recently received a personal email from Patrick Holford – psychologist, nutritionist and addictionist – to my personal email account inviting me to an academic seminar in London in October on “How to Quit without feeling ****.” [Obscenity has been replaced with stars to protect the innocent.]

    Just wondering where this collaboration will lead the two of us and how many other renowned individuals have been invited …

    Bet he has not invited any of you lot. Serves you right.

  13. The question is, if we were invited, would it be polite to respond in the orotund way of the aforementioned letter?

    Apart from that, apart from caffeine, I deny addiction – and you will pry that one from me when I am cold and dead etc. And, even then, in the way recommended by Garrison Keillor, you should try rubbing coffee on my lips to make absolutely sure there is no response that is indicative of signs of life.

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