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REF 2014 results announced

Posted on 18/12/2014
REF 2014 Results Announced

The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), formerly the Institute of Psychiatry, is delighted to announce a remarkably positive performance in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) within Unit of Assessment (UoA) 4, Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, which accommodates the vast majority of our activity. 

Overall, 88 per cent of our submission was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (4*/3*). Within this overall assessment, our research environment was given a 100% world-leading rating and the impact of our work was judged to be 100% world leading or internationally excellent. The Institute submitted 257 staff (238 FTE) and in line with our commitment to promoting women in science, 44 per cent were women and 65 were early career researchers.  

Executive Dean of IoPPN Professor Shitij Kapur said: ‘We are delighted with these excellent results and what is particularly pleasing is the improvement since the last RAE. Last time, 15% of our submission was considered world-leading, we have tripled it to a point where nearly  half (47%) of our overall submission is of the highest  world-leading quality. This REF assessment is mirrored in the recent U.S. News Global Best Universities list, based on reputation and research in the field, which named King’s as  second in the world for psychiatry and psychology, second only to Harvard.’ 

The Institute’s overarching aim is to discover knowledge that can help understand, prevent and treat mental and neurological disorders. We focus on research that improves patient care and the needs of patients inform our research. Since RAE2008 we have undertaken three major strategic initiatives to increase the academic quality of our research and its impact on translation: the development of disease-focussed Clinical Academic Groups with our NHS Partners; building academic strengths in translational mechanisms (clinical trials, health economics, improvement science); and disseminating our research academically as well as through patient-public initiatives.  These efforts have had their desired results. 

In this assessment there was a new element - to demonstrate the impact of our research on the health, economy, society, culture, public policy, services or environment. The IoPPN submitted a total of 25 case studies, and all of them were rated as being world-leading or internationally excellent. 

These impact case studies are in a wide variety of areas such as work by Professors Philippa Garety and Elizabeth Kuipers on talking therapies for psychosis, from which they developed and successfully piloted an effective cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help people with schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder to better understand and cope with their hallucinations and delusions. In 2009, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended that CBT for psychosis should be offered to all people with schizophrenia.

Seminal work by Professors John Strang and Wayne Hall with supervised methadone users also had significant impact. Many people in treatment for heroin addiction are prescribed methadone. Our researchers found that they were not being given any supervision and the death toll from overdoses was almost equal to that of heroin. Our research directly influenced a Department of Health report suggesting supervised daily dispensing be piloted which then became routine. Researchers estimate supervised dosing saved an estimated 2,500 lives in England between 2001 and 2008.

Our research environment was classified at 100 per cent world leading (4*). We attribute this to our multidisciplinary scientific environment which is enriched by biological, social, psychological and health service research perspectives. Specialist facilities like the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre, NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (CRF), UKCRC-registered King’s Clinical Trials Unit, the KHP Clinical Trials Office, the Centre for Economics in Mental and Physical Health and the Service User Research Enterprise add to this success. 

Since the submission to REF, the Institute has welcomed the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases (CARD) and MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology (CDN) into the Faculty, consolidating King’s neuroscience offerings while opening up new areas of research and a multi-disciplinary environment bringing exciting opportunities for collaboration across King’s.  

Prof. Kapur said: ‘The IoP has always had the most scientific ‘power’ in the areas of psychiatry and clinical psychology in the UK. What is really gratifying is that as we now come together as the IoPPN, we are second only to UCL in psychiatry, psychology and neurosciences collectively.’

‘While it is most satisfying to get the acknowledgement of one’s scientific peers, what is really gratifying is to make a difference beyond the walls of academia. So, it is a pleasure to share with you some of the remarkable ways in which our research makes a difference to patients, family, society and the economy – and here it is: Making a Difference.

Explore the Research in Action pages ( for more examples of the impact King’s research is having on the economy, society and public policy beyond academia.

For further information please contact Louise Pratt, PR & Communications Manager, IoPPN on +44 20 7848 5378/+44 7850 919020

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