CON-QUEST: Contact patterns and behaviour in University of Bristol staff and students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research team

Emily Nixon, Adam Trickey, Ellen Brooks-Pollock, Leon Danon, Hannah Christensen, Adam Finn, , Amy Thomas, Jane Metz, Clara Montgomery, Caroline Relton, Gibran Hemani, Josephine Walker, Katy Turner, Rachel Kwiatkowska, Sarah Sauchelli, Taru Silvonen, Antoine Barreaux, Becky Ali, Georgia Treneman-Evans and Sarah Denford.

About the project

Understanding the contact that people have with each other can help policy makers develop the most effective control strategies for infectious diseases like COVID-19. However, individuals in the academic community can have quite different social interactions to the general population.

Researchers at the University of Bristol conducted a longitudinal survey from June 2020 to March 2022 to investigate contact patterns, COVID-19-like symptoms, and changes in behaviour for University of Bristol staff and students.

Research outputs

Our research has been covered by the Times Higher Education Supplement. See also University students and staff able to maintain low daily contact numbers during various COVID-19 guideline periodsTwo further studies have used CONQUEST data in mathematical models.

We have also conducted a mixed methods analysis with qualitative researchers to try to understand more about biases associated with these sorts of surveys, why people take part and how accuracy and engagement with future social contact surveys can be improved.

Anonymised data from the survey is available on request.

Figure 1: The figure below shows the median and mean number of contacts on the previous day for survey respondents, stratified by month (starting on the 23rd June 2020).

*8 observations where a respondent reported over 1000 contacts on the previous day (e.g. a large sporting event or festival) were dropped from the graph.


This project is funded by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research at the University of Bristol and the JUNIPER consortium and is supported by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol.


Thank you to all the participants of CONQUEST and to our data manager, Alison Horne.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss this project or similar projects, then please contact Emily ( or Ellen (

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