Prof David Osborn

Prof David Osborn

Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology

Division of Psychiatry

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Jun 2003

Research summary

David's main research interests are the interface between physical and mental health, psychiatric epidemiology and the provision of effective and safe interventions for people with severe mental illnesses including psychosis. He has published related work over the last 20 years in journals such as The British Medical Journal, British Journal of Psychiatry and Archives of General Psychiatry/JAMA Psychiatry.

He has a particular interest in  harnessing national and regional health data to answer big research questions in mental health

Much of his work involves large-scale epidemiological studies to examine the determinants of poor cardiovascular health, including heart attacks, in severe mental illness and depression using  primary care databases, bespoke and linked cohorts. He also uses these data to examine the effectiveness and safety of medications in the medium and long term.

He led a NIHR-funded programme of applied health research, the PRIMROSE programme, from 2011-2018. The £2 million funding involved a group of projects exploring the best ways to predict and manage cardiovascular risk in people with severe mental illnesses, in primary care.

For latest news visit:  www.ucl.ac.uk\primrose @uclprimrose

See our risk score work in JAMA Psychiatry 2015. The programme  won a NIHR award in 2013 for patient/public involvement.

He now leads a national NIHR  programme combining NHS health informatics and mixed research methods to assess whether more intensive crisis care improves outcomes after acute crisis presentations, the AD-CARE programme 2017-20. 


Current research leadership roles:

Academic lead for CRIS at Camden and Islington from 2015. A research database of 100,000 anonymised mental health records to improve treatments and outcomes for people with mental health problems

Health informatics lead on the NIHR UCLH BRC Mental Health theme. 2017-22

UCL Investigator at the NIHR School for Public Health Research, 2017-22.

Health Informatics Co-I NIHR Policy Research Unit for Mental Health, UCL and KCL. 2017-22.

David works closely with academics in Primary Care and Population Health and collaborates with a range of researchers inside and outside UCL, including grants from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, NIHR, HTA,  HSDR  and RfPB. 

He belongs to the KABRIS collaboration, a group of psychiatric epidemiologists and experts in linked data from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; Bristol University, KCL, UCL and Cambridge.


Teaching summary

David leads on Integrated Academic Training in Psychiatry for medics here at UCL and welcomes any questions relating to this. 

He supervises PhDs related to adult psychiatry, psychiatric epidemiology, large datasets, health informatics and applied health service research.

He was Divisional Graduate tutor for research from 2004-2017. He teaches on UCL's Mental Health MScs and our MRES.



University College London
PhD, Psychiatry | 2004
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
MSc, Epidemiology | 2000
University of Cambridge
MA, Medical Science, Social and Political Science | 1997
Royal College of Psychiatrists
MRCPsych, Psychiatry | 1997
University College London
BMBS, Clinical Medicine | 1993
University of Cambridge
BA, Medicine | 1990


David trained in medicine and social/political sciences at Cambridge University and then UCL.
He completed clinical psychiatry training in North London and was awarded an MRC clinical training fellowship to train as an academic in mental health research. This included a  PhD in psychosis and physical health at UCL and an MSc in epidemiology (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).
David's research has focused on the interface between mental health and physical health for almost twenty years. He also evaluates short and long term interventions for mental health problems.

He has been a clinical academic consultant  at UCL since 2003. He  was promoted to Reader in 2011 and a Professor in 2014.

Twitter @osborn_ucl

David works as a NHS consultant psychiatrist in acute community psychiatry in Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.