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Murray awarded knighthood

4 January 2011 

Sir Robin Murray, Professor of Psychiatric Research at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King’s College London has been awarded a knighthood for services to medicine, in the New Year Honours List 2011.  

Professor Sir Robin Murray graduated in medicine at University of Glasgow in 1968, and began his training in psychiatry in 1972 at the Maudsley Hospital in London.  He started researching at the IoP in 1975 where he has, for the most part, remained ever since.

Professor Sir Robin Murray is currently Britain’s most highly cited psychiatry researcher, and is the third most highly cited researcher in schizophrenia in the world.  He has won most of the major prizes in psychiatry and has been honoured with awards from countries throughout the world including the USA, Germany, Finland, Italy, Brazil and Denmark.  In 2005, he was chosen as one of the top role models in medicine by the BMA.  In 2010 he joined a long line of distinguished scientists to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society only five of which have been psychiatrists, including the IoP’s Professor Sir Michael Rutter.

Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean and Head of School IoP at King's, said: "Sir Robin’s achievements in psychiatry are already most widely recognised around the world by researchers, clinicians and students alike. It is only fitting that this wide acclaim now be recognised at home –  it is an honour for him, and for all of us at the IoP and King's. I am sure a worldwide network of students, colleagues and fellow researchers will join me in congratulating Sir Robin. But, those of us who know him also know how he will want to continue unperturbed, doing what he loves dearly: psychiatric research.”

The bulk of Sir Robin’s work has been in the field of schizophrenia.  His major contribution has been to outline and quantify some specific environmental causes for the disorder such as obstetric events, other early childhood events and social adversity.  His research  has implications for prevention and has influenced policy.  His work has spanned controversial areas such as linking cannabis misuse to psychosis and the increased incidence of schizophrenia in people from black and ethnic minority groups.

He is dedicated to nurturing young researchers and has personally supervised over 60 graduate students to achieve higher research degrees, many now senior academics around the world and he is currently the course director of the MSc in Psychiatric Research at the IoP.  He has continued his clinical work in the NHS, and continues to lead his research group at the Institute.  Students past and present as well as colleagues and peers honoured Murray at a Festschrift at the Institute in November 2009.

On accepting the award Professor Sir Robin said: “I am pleased that my contribution into schizophrenia research has been recognised.  Hopefully this might encourage others to devote their skills (or money) to research into its causes and towards better treatments." 

The British Honours system is one of the oldest in the world. It has evolved over 650 years as the country has found alternative means of recognising merit, gallantry and service.  Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year and in mid-June on the date of The Queen's official birthday.

As well as researchers, GPs, nurses and occupational therapists from around the UK have been honoured, along with NHS chief executives including Sir Ronald Kerr, chief executive of King’s Health Partners’ Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Foundation Trust, for services to healthcare.

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