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Sociology Research

Dr Coutts is a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology, Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College and an Affiliated Researcher at the new Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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 the newly established 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.

Research Projects


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

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 - Journal Articles

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

Key Publications - Other

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 health workers in Lebanon. IIED, London. http://pubs.iied.org10856IIED

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. Available at:

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

Burchell, B. (CI) and Coutts, A. (CI) Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC). Global Challenges Research Fund (2018-2022): £5.9m

Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust, 112K

Media Articles

Research Groups & Affiliations

Additional Information

Past grants

Mellon Foundation, post doctoral fellowship 2016-2017

ESRC PhD 2001-2005

ESRC post doctoral fellowship 2005-2006

ESRC oversea visiting fellowship 2004

Job Title:
Research Associate, Magdalene College
Contact Information: