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Department of Psychiatry Team members © Department of Psychiatry Team members

We are privileged to have shared in some wonderful celebrations this year, including the incredibly well deserved CBE awarded to Professor Keith Hawton in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 for services to Suicide Prevention. Professor Daniel Freeman received the 2020 British Psychological Society’s President’s Award following his innovative work in the research and treatment of psychosis. Val Paulley, a Senior Administrator at the Clinical Research Facility, received the Outstanding Member of Support Staff award for supporting the work of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, which helps deliver research studies in the NHS, public health and social care.

This year we welcomed Professor Kam Bhui to our department. His work focuses on researching socio-cultural risk and protective factors, to prevent and reduce inequalities in population mental health and suicide. Professor Bhui is the Director of Synergi Collaborative Centre, which is a national five-year initiative focused on eradicating ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness. We have seen the recognition of two team members who have been conferred the title of Associate Professors: Jacinta O’Shea, whose work aims to advance cognitive and brain stimulation treatment approaches to depression, and Alejo Nevado-Holgado who leads Artificial Intelligence in the Translational Neuroscience and Dementia Research team.

The joint winners of the Department of Psychiatry award for Public Engagement with Science Communications included two exciting projects, with budgets at either end of the scale. The Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research (OxDARE) team and the My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD) project team both presented excellent examples of public engagement.

Professor Cathy Creswell, who leads research on the development, maintenance and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and young people, has received an Award from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and NIHR for research to evaluate an online therapy programme for children with anxiety problems, to see if it is an effective remote alternative to existing mental health treatment services and could help treat anxiety problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Andrea Cipriani became the Director of the Oxford cognitive health Clinical Research Facility (CRF) this year. The CRF is unique in the UK as a resource for conducting high intensity early phase and experimental studies focused on mental health and dementia. An aim of the CRF is to continue to work collaboratively and strengthen both understanding and skills across organisations and departments. A new collaboration between Professor Catherine Harmer’s Psychopharmacology and Emotion Research Laboratory (PERL) group, the CRF and Associate Professor Rupert McShane’s Ketamine Clinics will enhance capability for novel experimental medicine protocols using ketamine to investigate mood disorders.    

The Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) led by Professor John Gallacher has been successful in the multi-million pound renewal of funding from the Medical Research Council for the next phase of the project, which is to build on its achievements in three key areas: the DPUK Data Portal, Trials Delivery Framework, and Experimental Medicine Incubator.

Professor Daniel Freeman and team have secured funding of over a million euros from the International Foundation to develop a new virtual reality therapy for young patients with psychosis. The automated VR therapy will be designed with young people, programmed by our VR team, and tested in a series of clinical trials. The project starts in January 2021.