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Data science to help with mental health research

3 May 2018

Professor John Macleod, Joint Head of Centre for Academic Primary Care at Bristol Medical School, has received £1.5 million as part of a large grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC). The award builds on a study by Professor Macleod and his team Department of Population Health Sciences funded by the University's Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research under its Catalyst Fund programme.

Bristol is among nine leading universities across the UK to receive part of a £10-million grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to help researchers use data science for mental health research. A key feature of these grants is to help prepare for a future Mental Health Research Platform through academic and industry collaboration. This is a Bristol-led, collaborative project with colleagues from the Bradford Institute for Health Research (Born in Bradford).

The original study undertaken by Professor Macleod and his looked at how well young people in need or in local authority care perform in their GCSE exams compared to their peers, and to identify possible reasons for any differences. The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute funded study, which aimed to improve health and social outcomes for children in care was an important first step towards developing a ‘digital population health laboratory’ to boost the health and wellbeing of people in Bristol. Read the full project case study.

Professor Macleod said: "We are very excited about this substantial funding award from the MRC to enable enhancement and consolidation of two of the UK’s leading life course studies, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (also known as Children of the 90s) and Born in Bradford, as a platform to support research that can lead to better understanding of the causes and hence the means to effectively prevent mental illness.

“Improving mental health is one of the major challenges currently facing society. Building on the long-standing research partnership between the University of Bristol and the Bradford Institute of Health Research we will, over the next two years, establish a world-leading resource allowing researchers to meet this challenge.”

Read more about Professor Macleod's award.

Further information

About the Centre for Academic Primary Care

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) at the University of Bristol is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, and one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. It sits within Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching. Follow us on Twitter: @capcbristol.

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