Prof David Osborn

Prof David Osborn

Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology

Division of Psychiatry

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
27th Oct 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 2011-2019. 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. 

The scientific summary of  PRIMROSE findings is here. 


An overview of all related PRIMROSE studies is here:  www.ucl.ac.uk\primrose @uclprimrose

The programme  won a NIHR award in 2013 for patient/public involvement.

David also led a national NIHR  programme in acute mental health care,  the AD-CARE programme 2017-20. These studies combined NHS health informatics and mixed research methods to assess whether more intensive crisis care improves outcomes.


Current research leadership roles:

Academic lead for CRIS at Camden and Islington from 2015. A research database of 140,000 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 and co-lead public mental health research programme, 2017-22.

NIHR ARC North Thames: Lead for Multi-morbidity Theme. 2019-24.

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 led on Integrated Academic Training in Psychiatry for medics until 2021.

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.



Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow |
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2004
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2000
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1997
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists | 1997
University College London
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery | 1993
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 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 over 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. 

Twitter @osborn_ucl

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