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Head of the Psychiatry Department Belinda Lennox reflects on 2022

Belinda Lennox

2022 feels as though it has been a turbocharged year. Having been distracted by Covid and Covid research for the last two years, this year the rest of our research was finally restarted, teaching returned to being in person, people arrived and left in record numbers and there were a bumper number of research applications and awards. We were allowed to return to the office without sitting two metres apart with the window open. For some this has been welcome, but for others less so.

It has highlighted to me the vital importance of cultivating a positive working environment; we need to work on our environment and culture and make coming to the office worth the hassles of navigating the Oxford traffic. Our away day, on a very rainy day in March, saw us focus on this and the results of the staff survey. Catherine Harmer has spearheaded a refresh of the working groups across the department, who are now actively following up the findings of the staff survey and turning them into actions.

It was wonderful to finally get back to having in person research meetings and to hear from inspiring visiting speakers in real life. Highlights for me were hearing Vikram Patel from Harvard Medical School, who delivered the Litchfield lecture on reimagining the path to recovery, and Cesar Victora, the eminent epidemiologist from Pelotas, Brazil presenting the stark findings from Lancet Child Health & Development Series.

We have celebrated promotions this year - Michael Browning was made Professor of Computational Psychiatry, as well as being appointed to a statutory position in the department, with St Cross College. Miriam Klein-Flugge and Sana Suri were both appointed Associate Professors. Philip McGuire joined us as Professor of Psychiatry from King's College London. We also celebrated several weddings and the arrival of at least 10 psychiatry babies – congratulations to all.

2022 has been seen us welcome a lot of new people to psychiatry, with 73 new starters to the department. A warm welcome to each one of them. 60 people have left us for pastures new. These include Dr Liz Tunbridge, who got a great job in industry; Dr Emma Černis who become an Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham. Daniel Whiting was appointed to a clinical senior lecturer in forensic psychiatry at Nottingham University and Liliana Capitao moved to an Assistant Professorship in the University of Minho (Portugal).

This year saw the publication of the five-yearly Research Excellence Framework, which confirmed us as being one of the leading centres for neuroscience in the UK. 69% of our overall REF submission was rated as world-leading (4*), notably, this included 100% of our research environment.

Andrea Cipriani, Seena Fazel, Willem Kuyken, Mark Woolrich and John Geddes all appear in the Clarivate most highly cited researchers list this year, as recognition of their influence in their fields: congratulations to them all.

We have had exceptional research funding success this year, notably five years’ funding for the Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, but many others in addition. A huge amount of thanks to the research support staff who have supported every single one of 124 funding applications that have been submitted by us this year.

At the end of such a turbocharged year I wish everyone a happy, peaceful and refreshing Christmas period.


Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.