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New programme to train future mental health and neuroscience professionals

Future healthcare professionals working in mental health and neurosciences will be trained at a new Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) thanks to a multi-million award from Wellcome.

Led by the University of Nottingham, the new DTP is a collaboration between the Universities of Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham and Warwick.

Wellcome has awarded over £7.24 million to the University of Nottingham to establish the Midlands Mental Health and Neurosciences PhD Programme for Healthcare Professionals which will begin its training programme in October 2022. The unique partnership will lead the innovative multidisciplinary training centre that will develop the next generation of NHS research leaders across the workforce.

The centre will also be supported by a number of NHS Trusts in the Midlands including BHP member Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, as well as Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust; Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust; University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust; Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust; Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundations Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Through 25 PhD scholarships focused on mental health (MH) and neurosciences (N), students will have the opportunity to research a ‘theme’ representing the lifespan (children, young people and perinatal MH; common MH; severe MH; dementia; and physical health comorbidity with MH), using specific bio-psycho-social approaches.

Healthcare profession-specific mentors will ensure scholars remain connected to their primary professional groups. Scholars will leave the programme as well-rounded clinical-academics with high-levels of MH&N research acumen, and enhanced communication and leadership skills.

Professor Roshan das Nair from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham and the Institute of Mental Health, is Director of the Centre. He said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award, which is a huge achievement for our four universities and the NHS Trusts with whom we work, and is a testament to teamwork. Our Doctoral Training Programme will advance the mental health and neuroscience research we conduct here in the Midlands.

“This award will enable us to share the excellent resources we have across the partner universities and NHS Trusts to develop the next generation of multidisciplinary clinical academics in mental health and neurosciences, and support their research. Our Doctoral Training Programme will create an ambitious Midlands-based, internationally connected, clinical-academic ecosystem. Through our collaborations, we hope to address the key contemporary mental health challenges our societies face.”

Professor Matthew Broome, Director of the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, said: “Our population in the Midlands suffers from significant health inequalities, with high rates of mental health challenges. This training centre is a huge opportunity to address these challenges, increase our research capacity in mental health and neuroscience, and develop a diverse group of clinical academics from a wide range of professional groups, including nursing, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, medicine, and psychology.”