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The NEUROSEC (Neuroscience, Ethics and Society) team, led by Professor Ilina Singh, received funding from UK Research and Innovation for a UK Ethics Accelerator (EA) for Pandemic Emergencies, worth more than £1.4 million.

The project includes eight co-investigators from Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, University College London, Bristol University and Nuffield Council on Bioethics. In coordinating and focusing existing national investments in ethics research, the EA will add value and scale up the potential impacts of ethics research in science, medicine, policy, and society. The main outcomes will be decision-making that is informed by ethics expertise, and is more transparent and accountable, thereby improving public trust.

The team has also received funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for the Ethics for Mental Health Digital Innovations for Young People in Africa (EMDIYA) project – a research network involving multiple African partners, which seeks to advance and integrate ethics in global mental health research and intervention. 

Professor Ilina Singh and Dr Gabriela Pavarini, University of Oxford, and Professor Sheila Murta, University of Brasilia, launched a project in April 2020 to support Brazilian young people’s sense of agency and responsibility in promoting mental wellbeing. The project aims to advance understanding of youth agency in mental health and contribute to the achievement of a sustainable and healthy future for Brazilian youth.

Forty-two researchers from around the world, including Professor Keith Hawton, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research, formed the International COVID-19 Suicide Prevention Research Collaboration. This international group has produced two important publications, Suicide Research, Prevention, and COVID-19 and Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic, and holds regular webinars to ensure the latest information and important updates are shared.

Dr Sarah Bauermeister, Senior Data and Science Manager at Dementias Platform UK, is co-leading the Global Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic project, which is funded by the International HundredK+ Cohorts Consortium (IHCC). The aims of the project include cataloguing and curating existing relevant cohort data, addressing some of the key questions surrounding mental health and COVID-19 and characterising the changes in people’s cognitive and neuropsychological function as a result of the pandemic. In a recent survey of 128 UK care homes, 80 per cent of those with dementia are showing an acceleration of decline.

DPUK is a foundational partner of the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI), funded by Gates Ventures. The goal of ADDI is to accelerate the discovery of new treatments for dementia by improving data access. The ADDI Workbench provides interoperability across national data platforms, linking DPUK to its North American, European, and Asian counterparts.

Associate Professor Alejo Nevado-Holgado is co-leading the first programme of research on Artificial Intelligence-guided drug discovery for rare and cardio-metabolic diseases, with other scientists from the Centre for Medicines Discovery (Nuffield Department of Medicine), the Department of Statistics, and the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford and researchers from King Abdulaziz University (KAU). The partnership launched in October 2020 between the University of Oxford and KAU to create a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Precision Medicine.

Associate Professor Morten Kringelbach has taken up the Erel Shalit Carlsberg Foundation Research Fellowship in Behavioural Neuroscience (endowed by donation from the Pettit and Carlsberg Foundations), and will become the first Director of the new interdisciplinary Centre for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing. The collaborative goal of the Centre is to clarify psychological, cultural and philosophical issues pertinent to human flourishing and to connect these insights to contemporary investigation of the neural correlates of emotional and cognitive states.