Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care

Dr Daisy Fancourt

Dr Daisy Fancourt

Associate Professor

Behavioural Science and Health

Institute of Epidemiology & Health

Joined UCL
14th Aug 2017

Research summary

Daisy's research focuses on the effects of social and cultural participation on health. She and her team explore:
1. The effects of different types of social factors (including loneliness, isolation, social prescribing, community interventions, and arts & cultural engagement) on health outcomes
2. The psychological, biological, social & behavioural mechanisms underlying these effects
3. The modifying role of individual and group-level characteristics on effects
4. Differential patterns, barriers and enablers of engagement amongst different groups.

Research is carried out under four core programmes:
1. Mechanism studies (incl. psychological, neuroendocrine, neuro-immune and cardiometabolic responses to loneliness, isolation, social & cultural participation, and wellbeing)
2. Behavioural studies (incl. qualitative studies and behaviour change interventions)
3. Intervention studies (incl. RCTs, natural experiments and implementation science studies)
4. Population studies (incl. cohort studies and NHS electronic patient records).

The team also works on impact and engagement programmes including:
1. Public engagement (e.g. media work, public engagement events and as research partner to the BBC Get Creative Festival)
2. Development of practice (e.g. evaluations of social prescribing, and work with Arts Councils & community organisations nationally)
3. Research development (e.g. running the Arts Health Early Career Research Network and MARCH Network: a £1.25m national UKRI programme of 1,000 members focused on social, cultural & community assets and mental health)
4. Policy development (e.g. working with WHO, Public Health England, Public Health Wales, NHS Health Scotland and various government departments).

Teaching summary

Daisy supervises postgraduate and doctoral students in social epidemiology, health and social psychology, psychoneuroimmunology and behavioural science and teaches across a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UCL.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2015


Daisy Fancourt is Associate Professor of Psychobiology & Epidemiology and Wellcome Research Fellow in the Psychobiology Group, Department of Behavioural Science & Health at UCL. Daisy studied at Oxford University and King’s College London before completing her PhD in psychoneuroimmunology at UCL. She subsequently undertook postdoctoral work in the Centre for Performance Science (a partnership of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music) before returning to UCL in 2017. Her research focuses on the effects of social factors on health, including loneliness, social isolation, social & community assets, arts and cultural engagement, and social prescribing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Daisy is leading a team running the UK's largest study into the psychological and social impact of the virus, providing weekly data to government, the World Health Organisation, and hundreds of community and third sector organisations (www.covidsocialstudy.org). She is also leading the COVID-MINDS Network: an international network of longitudinal studies exploring the global mental health impact of the pandemic (www.covidminds.org). 


Daisy has received awards from the British Science Association, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust, British Academy, British Federation of Women Graduates, American Psychosomatic Society, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Royal Society for Public Health and NHS England, as well as being named a BBC New Generation Thinker and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Her research has received over £12 million in funding from the Wellcome Trust, AHRC, ESRC, MRC, EPSRC, NERC, Arts Council England, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust & Tenovus Cancer Care. 


Daisy previously worked for 7 years in the NHS, including at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital managing arts and clinical innovations programmes, and as a consultant to a range of hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups on the integration of arts interventions within care pathways. Daisy is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and the Chair of their Special Interest Group on Arts & Health. She established and chairs the International Arts Health Early Career Research Network, the UKRI MARCH Network, and is a consultant to the World Health Organisation on arts and health, for whom she has authored several evidence and policy reports.