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NIHR Ox Health BRC logo

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is a nationally and internationally important hub for translational mental health and dementia research. The BRC aim is to improve the lives of patients through discovery science, the development of personalised new treatments and innovative research, which helps to solve the complex problems of mental health disorders and dementia.

Throughout the year BRC researchers have continued to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with high-impact studies, as well as developing and publishing internationally acclaimed evidence-based guidance for patients and clinicians managing mental health conditions during the pandemic. Earlier this year Professor Andrea Cipriani helped to formalise an important partnership between the University of Oxford and the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, through the NIHR Oxford Health BRC, with the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. This partnership will enhance existing relationships and help support global research cooperation and work to attract greater international recognition for mental health research.

Between the creation of the NIHR Oxford Health BRC in 2017 and October 2021 there have been 402 studies, 199 investigators supported by the BRC, 597 peer-reviewed articles published, 120 partnerships with UK small and medium-sized enterprises, 63 new or continued strategic partnerships and £72.5m funding.

Having come to the end of the initial funding period, an ambitious application has been submitted to the NIHR and a decision about renewal is expected in the middle of 2022.

The NIHR Oxford and Oxford Health BRCs established a new Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group in May 2021, comprising 17 members from diverse backgrounds. Known as the Diversity in Research Group, a name chosen by its members, it aims to advise and support the BRCs to increase involvement of under-represented communities in health research and to work with researchers to include PPI into the design, implementation and dissemination of their research. The group has been working on a variety of projects including the 'Tell us about you' demographics survey, guidance for researchers on barriers and solutions to involvement and a literature review on outreach methods (conducted by PPI contributors). The group will continue to meet monthly, working through a variety of activities and importantly continue supporting researchers in their projects.