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15 October 2020

Dr Petr Slovak granted UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for research in child mental health intervention

Dr Petr Slovak, Lecturer in King’s Department of Informatics, has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to support his research on the use of emerging technologies in enabling new models of mental health interventions for children and their families.

Dr Petr Slovak

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme is designed to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across the UK. Awardees will each receive between £400,000 and £1.5 million over an initial four years. The grant supports challenging and novel projects, and the development of the fellow’s career.

At King’s, Petr’s research centre on human-centered interaction, medical health intervention and learning sciences. His work is particularly focused upon understanding how technology can meaningfully help in supporting the development of core competencies known to promote mental health – such as self-regulation, coping with stress, or conflict resolution – in real-world contexts.

Through the UKRI fellowship, Petr’s work will focus on re-envisioning mental health interventions for children with technology. Commenting on the inspiration underpinning his research, Petr said:

There is a substantial need for child mental health support – evidence shows that at any given year, 1 in 10 young people will have a diagnosable mental health problem. Out of these incredibly high numbers, 70% of these young people do not receive adequate mental health support at all, and of the 30% that do, only half of them improve. Though we have evidence-based intervention techniques that work, we are still relying on outdated technologies and delivery mechanisms. My background in both Psychology/Sociology as well as Computer Science and Human-Computer action is a unique position from which to address these interdisciplinary problems, and I am excited to further our understanding of how emerging technologies can address this unmet need.

The interdisciplinary nature of Petr’s project will involve collaboration with a range of mentors across the University of Oxford, UCL, Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of Michigan, amongst others.   

Commenting on this accolade and recognition from UKRI, Professor Luc Moreau, Head of the Department of Informatics, said:

We are delighted that Petr has been granted this fellowship from the UKRI, and look forward to developments in this intersection between technology and mental health intervention for children.

UKRI’s initiative aims to support the creation of a new cohort of research and innovation leaders who will have links across different sectors and disciplines.

In this story

Petr Slovak

Senior Lecturer