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The department came together to share its latest research, updates and important news at the 2020 Team Away Day. Opening the event, Professor John Geddes, Head of Department, welcomed colleagues and shared his hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

Group photo of people at the awards.
Joint Winners - Dept. Award for PE and Science Communications

An important element from the opening presentation highlighted three key strategic goals and themes for 2020 and beyond: Young People and Adolescents, Old Age & Dementia and Multi-morbidity. Teams within the department are already underway with developing strategic plans.

Targets highlighted by John for the Senior Management Team include - the REF 2021, Warneford Park Development plans, the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre renewal, senior recruitment, an MRC multi-morbidity call, opportunities for mental health research and Wellcome and opportunities within Dementia research.

During the day an array of presentations were shared on a variety of topics including:

  • Staff and Student Mental Health (Kate Saunders – Associate Professor) and Athena SWAN (Susannah Murphy – Senior Research Fellow)
  • Developing the Oxford Brain Health Centre (Clare O'Donoghue – Postdoctoral Researcher)
  • Negative learning in depression (Wanjun Lin – DPhil student)
  • Investigating calcium channel isoforms to identify novel treatment targets for psychiatric disorders (Nicola Hall – Postdoctoral Researcher)
  • A prediction tool for violence in first-episode psychosis (Daniel Whiting – NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow)

Additionally many PIs and senior team members took to the floor for speed talks, where each had a maximum of 2 minutes with two slides to present a topic. Full agenda available.

The event ended with a session to celebrate successes:

  • The joint winners of the 2019 Department of Psychiatry Award for Public Engagement with Science Communications were announced. 
  • The poster prize winner of the day was Danielle Newby – Postdoctoral Researcher. Her poster entitled, Can You Teach Old Drugs New Tricks to Prevent Dementia and Cognitive Decline? Was praised for its focus on PPI work, using new methods to share information (QR codes) and for having an interesting approach to communicating complex information.
  • Student prizes were announced from the Medical School for:
    - The Dennis Gath Prize for excellence in psychiatry - Benjamin Griffin
    - Catherine Oppenheimer Prize - Jeremy Warner
    - RCPsych Foundation Fellowship – Bethan Waskett
    - AUTP scholarship – Dr Joseph Butler
    - Tereza Ruzickova was highlighted for her successful nomination to attend the Global Young Scientist Summit in January 2020
  • The team behind the new MSc Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience course were also recognised for their achievements – Phil Burnet, course creator and lead - Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, as well as Tracy Lindsey – MSc Course Administrator.


A fascinating look back compared a photo of the department team from 1986 with one from 2019, the 50th anniversary year - demonstrating significant growth and development of the department over the years.

The Department of Psychiatry team in 1986:

Group photo of the department from 1986

The Department of Psychiatry team in 2019:

Group photo of the department team members

Please find out more about the Department of Psychiatry and read the 2019-2020 Annual Report.



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