skip to content

Sociology Research

Dr Coutts is a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology and a Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College.

Adam's current research (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. In this project, he uses ethnographic and quantitative methods to explore how health and wellbeing changes with participation in ALMPs and what are the active elements responsible for these changes; 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, Adam is undertaking a research placement with Work and Health Unit, at the Department for Work and Pensions, UK Government.

Adam collaborates with academics and policy-makers from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to examine the political economy of health in the Arab region, the Syrian refugee health crisis and humanitarian response. He currently leads the political economy of health in conflict component of a new four year Global Challenges Research Fund project. Overall the project is lead by Professor Richard Sullivan at Kings College, London and involves collaborations with colleagues at Imperial College, The American University of Beirut, The King Hussain Cancer Centre, and Hacettepe University.

Highlights of his work have appeared in the Lancet, New York Times, National Public Radio, Al-Jazeera and the Financial Times. Outside of academia he 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.

Adam holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has 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. He is a research associated at the Centre for Business Research, an Honorary Research Fellow at ECOHOST, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and has held visiting research positions at the Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the Institute of Health Equity, University College, London.

Research Interests

Overall Adam's research focuses on the social and political determinants of health looking at how non-health sector public policies 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 and North Africa.


He is actively involved in bringing academics, policy-makers and politicians together in order to address a variety of social, economic and political issues. Recordings from a seminar series 'the challenges of experimental government' will soon be available here.


He has also worked and consulted for a range of United Nations, donor agencies and INGO/NGOs such as the World Bank, International Labour Organization, World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, UNHCR, The European Union Delegation to Syria, Department for International Development, HMG, International Alert and ACTED

Research Projects

Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), NIHR East of England, Mental health over the life course. Researcher


University of Cambridge Covid-19 response fund. A rapid and reliable assessment method for screening mental health and wellbeing in job centres in the United Kingdom: A Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) response to the mental health impacts of Covid19 related job-loss. CO-I with Professor Peter Jones and Dr Jan Stochl


UKRI 2019-20 QR Strategic Priorities Fund (QR = Quality Related) 'Attacks on Syrian healthcare workers: establishing an academic-policy network'. PI with Centre for Global Human Movement.


Putting evidence into policy: The mental health and wellbeing impacts of Active Labour Market Programmes in UK. Health Foundation. PI


GCRF / RCUK Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC) 2018 - 2022. The political economy of health in the Arab region. CO-I


Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust: The employment dosage: How much work is needed for health and wellbeing? CO-I with Professor Brendan Burchell and Dr Daiga Kamerade


Graduate supervision availability and interests:

Adam is available to supervise graduate students on topics close to his research interests, which include unemployment, work and the links to health and wellbeing, the role of public policy in reducing health disadvantage and health inequalities. He also welcomes applications on refugee health, humanitarian intervention and development in the Middle East particularly Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Key Publications - Books

Adam P. Coutts  David Stuckler  David J. Cann (2014) The Health and Wellbeing Effects of Active Labor Market Programs, Volume 6. Interventions and Policies to Enhance Wellbeing
Part 2. Interventions to Create Positive Organizations and Communities

Uberoi V, Coutts A, McLean I, Halpern D (2010) Options for Britain II: cross-cutting challenges for policy-makers. Special Issue of Political Quarterly

Lodge G, Schmuecker K, Coutts A (2010) Devolution in practice III. Public policy differences within the UK. Institute of Public Policy Research.

Uberoi V, Coutts A, McLean I, Halpern D (2009) Options for a New Britain. Palgrave MacMillan.

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Richard Sullivan, Omar Shamieh, Tezer Kutluk, Adel Daoud, Adam P. Coutts (2019) ‘Inequality and cancer: the conflict ecosystem and refugees’, In Vaccarella S, Lortet-Tieulent J, Saracci R, Conway DI, Straif K, Wild CP, eds (2019). Reducing social inequalities in cancer: evidence and priorities for research. IARC Scientific Publication No. 168. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Ismail S, Coutts A P, Fouad M F (2020) The political economy of health in Lebanon. University of Cambridge, American University of Beirut, Kings College London.

Alawa, J., Alawa, N., Coutts, A. et al (2020) Addressing COVID-19 in humanitarian settings: a call to action. Conflict and Health 14, 64.

Rima A Abdul-Khalek, Ping Guo, F Sharp, Adrian Gheorghe, Omar Shamieh, Tezer Kutluk, Fouad Fouad, Adam P. Coutts, Ajay Aggarwal, Deborah Mukherji, Ghassan Abu-Sittah, Kalipso Chalkidou, Richard Sullivan (2020) The economic burden of cancer care for Syrian refugees: A population-based model. Lancet Oncology.

Wang, S, Coutts, A P, Burchell, B., Kamerade, D., Balderson, U. (2020) Can Active Labour Market Programmes Emulate the Mental Health Benefits of Regular Paid Employment? Longitudinal Evidence from the United Kingdom. Work, Employment and Society.

Balderson, U, Wang, S, Burchell, B., Kamerade, D., Coutts A P (2020)  An exploration of the multiple motivations for spending less time at work. Time and Society.

Sibai A B; Rizk A; Coutts A P; Monzer G; Daoud A; Sullivan R; Roberts B; Meho L I; Fouad F M; DeJong J (2019) ‘North-South inequities in research collaboration in humanitarian and conflict contexts’. Lancet.

Honein-AbouHaidar G, Noubani A, Arnaout N Ismail S, Nimer H, Menassa M, Coutts A P, Rayes D, Jomaa L, Saleh S, Fouad M F (2019) Informal healthcare provision in Lebanon: an adaptive mechanism among displaced Syrian health professionals in a protracted crisis. Conflict and Health 13, 40 (2019)

Kamerāde D, Wang S, Burchell B, Balderson S U, Coutts A P (2019) A shorter working week for everyone: How much paid work is needed for mental health and well-being? Social Science & Medicine.

Burchell B J, Coutts A P (2019) The Experience of Self-Employment Among Young People: An Exploratory Analysis of 28 Low- to Middle-Income Countries. American Behavioral Scientist, 63(2), 147–165.

Howarth D, Marteau T, Coutts A P, Huppert J, Ramos Pinto P (2019) What do the British public think of inequality in health, wealth, and power? Social Science and Medicine.

Adam Coutts, Adel Daoud, Ali Fakih, Walid Marrouch & Bernhard Reinsberg (2018) Guns and butter? Military expenditure and health spending on the eve of the Arab Spring, Defence and Peace Economics

Ismail S A, Coutts A P, Rayes D, Roborgh S, Abbara A, Orcutt M,Fouad FM, Honein G, El Arnaout N, Noubani A , Nimer H, and Rutherford S (2018) Refugees, healthcare and crises: informal Syrian healthcare works in Lebanon. International Institute for Environment and Development

Fouad M Fouad, Annie Sparrow, Ahmad Tarakji, Mohamad Alameddine, Fadi El-Jardali, Adam P Coutts, Nour El Arnaout, Lama Bou Karroum, Mohammed Jawad, Sophie Roborgh, Aula Abbara, Fadi Alhalabi, Ibrahim AlMasri, Samer Jabbour (2017) Health workers and the weaponisation of health care in Syria: a preliminary inquiry for The Lancet-American University of Beirut Commission on Syria. Lancet

Debarati Guha-Sapir, Jose M Rodriguez-Llanes, Madelyn H Hicks, Anne-Françoise Donneau, Adam Coutts, Louis Lillywhite, Fouad M Fouad. (2015) Civilian deaths from weapons used in the Syrian conflict. BMJ

Key Publications - Other

Coutts A P (2018) Measuring employment, health and wellbeing outcomes in DWP trials: what to measure and why. Report prepared for the Work and Health Unit, Department for Work and Pensions.

Burchell B, Coutts A P, Hall E, Pye N (2016) Self-employment programmes for young people: A review of the context, policies and evidence. Report prepared for the Employment Policy Department. Working Paper No. 198.

Venkatapuram S, Coutts A P, Mall P (2016) Ten Years of Research Evidence in Health and Development (2005 – 2015). Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research.

Coutts A (2009) ‘Active labour market programmes and health: an evidence base’, Report for World Health Organisation and Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post 2010 (Marmot Review 2010).

Grants and Projects

Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), NIHR East of England, Mental health over the life course. Researcher

UKRI 2019-20 QR Strategic Priorities Fund (QR = Quality Related) 'Attacks on Syrian healthcare workers: establishing an academic-policy network'. PI with Centre for Global Human Movement.

GCRF / RCUK Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC) 2018 - 2022. The political economy of health in the Arab region. CO-I and lead of the political economy of health component. 650K.

Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust: The employment dosage: How much work is needed for health and wellbeing? CO-I with Dr Brendan Burchell and Dr Daiga Kamerade

Media Articles

Research Groups & Affiliations


Population Health Equity Fellow (2016) Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Mellon Public Policy Fellowship (2016 – 2017)

ESRC Post-doctoral fellowship (Now Future Leaders programme) (June 2005 – July 2006)

ESRC PhD studentship (2001-2005)

ESRC Overseas Institutional Visit Award (Sept 03 – Dec 03)

ESRC Essex Summer School Bursary (July 03 – Aug 03)

Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust (2002)

Additional Information

For further information please see:

Job Title:
Research Associate, Senior Research Fellow, Magdalene College
Contact Information: