The MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre is a lively and friendly centre. All of its academics are involved with students and contribute to the Centre's teaching mission. The Centre's mission is to undertake research on the impact and interplay between genetic, environmental and developmental factors. Our focus is on disorders such as anxiety, depression, antisocial behaviour, hyperactivity, addictions, learning disabilities and autism. The expertise within the centre is diverse and multi-disciplinary in subjects such as psychiatry, social psychology, psychopathology, personality traits, quantitative genetics, developmental psychology, bioinformatics, epigenetics, statistical genetics and environmental effects.
The Director and Head of Department, Francesca Happe, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, has a special interest in autism spectrum disorders. Her two deputies are: Professors Robert Plomin and Terrie Moffitt. Professor Happe was awarded King's overall winner of the 2011 Supervisory Excellence Awards.
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise the sub panel on Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology (UoA 9) made special mention of the Centre twice in its commentary: "...evidence of world-leading outputs especially with respect to the (SGDP)..." and "... the environment was internationally excellent and in the case(s) of social, genetic and developmental psychiatry..., world leading."
The Centre strives to create an infrastructure and resources that foster integration and collaboration. Students are an important part of the centre’s success and contribute enormously to the continuing energy and ideas of the centre. A major benefit for the centre is its building which opened in 2003. It has five levels around a central atrium with the Molecular Genetic lab occupying the entire basement area. At other levels there are professorial offices, research teams, students, meeting rooms, Clinical Research Facility, phlebotomy room, cluster computer, and EEG lab. The Centre has resources in bioinformatics, epigenetics and statistical genetics.
The SGDP has around 38 students on the four-year interdisciplinary PhD course which awards an MSc in the first year and a projected intake of around 8-10 new students to start each year. Students on the interdisciplinary four-year course are based in offices with students from different backgrounds and with different interests to encourage interaction. The SGDP also has around 13 full-time traditional PhD students and four part-time traditional PhD students.
The IoP shares the same site as the world famous Maudsley Hospital, which is part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) - one of the largest mental health providers in Europe. King’s is committed to translational research and is proud to be the only university in the country to host three National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) and six MRC centres. At the IoP we partner with SLaM to host the only specialist BRC for Mental Health in the UK working towards better treatment, earlier diagnosis and individualised healthcare. Students also have access to the largest library in Europe dedicated to psychiatry and related disciplines.
The MRC SGDP Centre has been successful in bringing in funding for studentships in the past for its students who come from all over the world. For information about studentships for the 1+3 course, please visit:
For other funding opportunities, please visit:
MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre
020 7848 0819
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (MRC)
Institute of Psychiatry – P080
De Crespigny Park,
London, SE5 8AF