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Adam Coutts

I am Research Associate in the Department of Sociology, and Bye-Fellow at Magdalene College. I also teach on the MPhil in Public Policy where I run the case study module ‘Employment, mental health and welfare: How do we get people into work?’

Overall my research focuses on the social and political determinants of health looking at how non-health sector public policy such as labour market interventions and social protection affect health and wellbeing. This research covers the United Kingdom, Europe, United States and the Middle East.

My current research project (supported by the Health Foundation, 2017-2020) is a Randomised Control Trial evaluation to test how an Active Labour Market Programme (ALMP) called Group Work / JOBS II can be used to protect the mental health and wellbeing of the unemployed as well as return people to work. I explore how health and wellbeing outcomes can be better integrated and tangibly measured in order to complement existing methodologies of assessing policy effectiveness; and examine how a large scale social policy intervention and experimental evaluation is implemented by government and what are the key challenges. In order to conduct the research, I am undertaking a secondment with the newly established Work and Health Joint Unit, Department for Work and Pensions, UK Government.


Over the past six years I have also collaborated with academics and policy-makers from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to examine the social and political determinants of health in the Arab region and the Syrian refugee health crisis. Highlights of this work have appeared in the Lancet, New York Times, National Public Radio, Al-Jazeera and the Financial Times. In 2015 I cofounded the Syria Public Health Network in order to address policy challenges arising in the humanitarian health response. The network provides advocacy, policy briefs and evidence reviews to donors, NGOs and UN agencies. The network is now collaborating with the new Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria to conduct research and provide evidence.


I hold a PhD from the University of Cambridge and have held post-doctoral research positions (Funded by the ESRC and Mellon Foundation) at Cambridge and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford and Nuffield College. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at ECOHOST, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and have held visiting research positions at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Institute of Health Equity, University College, London.

I welcome enquiries from interested students wishing to pursue related postgraduate and postdoctoral research topics.

Further details and publications can be found here

  • Position: Research Associate
  • E-mail:
  • Address: Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ