Colin Adams' research interests are based on the social and economic history of the Roman world, specifically in the Roman province of Egypt. His particular interest here has been the role of transport in the economic life of Egypt and the dynamics of bureaucracy, on which he has published a monograph. He has also worked on the impact of the Roman army in Egypt and is presently engaged in the preparation of a monograph on the Chester Beatty papyri from Panopolis, which provide a wide range of evidence for military matters, administration and provincial administration in the early 4th century AD.
Another major strand of research has been ancient travel and geography, on which Colin has published a number of papers and two edited books.
- Diocletian's Egypt in Chester Beatty's Panopolis Papyri (Invitation to Speak, Trinity College Dublin 2007)
- Tacitus' Egypt: Myth and Reality (Invitation to Speak, Trinity College Dublin 2007)
- Agoronomoi in Roman Egypt (Invitation to Speak, Bordeaux, CNRS 2007)
- The Perception of Space in the Eastern Desert of Egypt (Invitation to Speak, University of Bonn 2005)
- Impact of the Roman Army in Egypt (Invitation to Speak, University of Naples; University of Nijmegan 2005)
- Visiting Scholar (Invitation to Speak, University of Calgary, Canada 2003)
- British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (Competitive Fellowship, British Academy 1998)
- Admissions Tutor