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The symposium aims to review the prospective epidemiological evidence on the worldwide impact of selected major risk factors for premature adult mortality, including any evidence of major heterogeneity of effects in different populations and to foster scientific exchange and collaboration between scientists working on large prospective studies.

At the 2012 centenary of Richard Doll’s birth, a symposium in the Richard Doll Building brought together investigators of population-based prospective studies of over 100,000 adults from many countries. The second Richard Doll Symposium was in 2015, and the next will take place in March 2022. These Richard Doll Symposia are concerned mainly with reviewing the evidence on the impact of the major risk factors for premature adult mortality; other consortia are more specifically focused on facilitating collaboration between prospective studies of genetic factors.