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Associate Head of Department for Research Professor Paul Harrison outlines the research highlights of the past year.

Scientist Noura Al-Juffali  working in the lab at the Department of Psychiatry © Department of Psychiatry/Stuart Gillespie
Scientist Noura Al-Juffali working in the lab at the Department of Psychiatry

Professor Paul HarrisonBy any metric, it has been a busy and successful research year for the Department. A major development was the renewed and expanded NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, which encompasses and helps support a wide range of research in the department as well as elsewhere in Oxford and beyond until the end of 2027.

However, we have not rested on our laurels. The grants team handled over 200 grant applications this year – a huge amount of work, and I am grateful for all their efforts to ensure deadlines were met. I also thank Val West, who has expanded the research facilitation provision available with bespoke support for a wide range of funding applications, in particular fellowship proposals from Early Career Researchers. I encourage everyone considering or planning an application to take advantage of this support, and to present their ideas at one of the Wednesday research meetings. Data show that people who do this are more likely to get funded than people who do not! Our grant applications led to many successful outcomes, including no less than six large awards from Wellcome.

We have welcomed many new research staff, including Professor Naomi Wray from Queensland, who brings huge expertise in genomics. We look forward to working ever more closely with her, and all our other new arrivals in the year ahead.

We set up a new initiative to support Early Career Researchers by travel awards to attend conferences. In the first round, we funded 21 people; the second round is underway and a third round is planned for 2024. We are particularly keen to support those with caring responsibilities or other personal factors that make going to conferences more difficult or expensive. 

The academic world never sleeps, and I know that many of you will be working on the next grant, or the next paper, over the festive season. However, do take the time off to celebrate, recharge and relax, and return refreshed. There are many exciting research developments in the pipeline for 2024!

Professor Paul Harrison is Associate Head of Department for Research.


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