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05 October 2016

Professor Sir Simon Wessely announced as Regius Professor of Psychiatry

To mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2013, 12 Regius Professorships were awarded by Her Majesty The Queen to universities across the UK for exceptionally high quality teaching and research in a particular discipline.

Portrait of Professor Sir Simon Wessely
Professor Sir Simon Wessely

King’s was awarded the first ever Regius Professorship of Psychiatry and we are delighted to announce that Professor Sir Simon Wessely will be taking up this unique and prestigious role from 1 February 2017. 

Regius Professorships are awarded to reflect the national and international recognition of excellence in research; the leading role of the university in translating the research into use in wider society as a contribution to knowledge, or to solving a problem; and a direct and significant benefit to the UK’s economic effectiveness and productivity at a regional or national scale. 

Professor Edward Byrne, President & Principal of King’s College London, said:  ‘Only 26 Regius Professorships have been granted since the reign of Queen Victoria and King’s is honoured to be awarded the first in Psychiatry.  Sir Simon has had a tremendous and distinguished career in psychiatry with an international research reputation.  He is the ideal candidate to reflect the special partnership between King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and the Maudsley Hospital, which has fundamentally changed the science of psychiatry.’    

Sir Simon trained at the Maudsley and is now Chair of Psychological Medicine at the IoPPN, Co-Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  His main interests are the boundaries between medicine and psychiatry and military health, and he has published extensively in these areas. He has acted as a spokesperson for psychiatry and medicine and is committed to public engagement.  Sir Simon's research is informed by epidemiology and interdisciplinary collaboration within and outside of medicine.  Through his teaching experiences and contact with junior faculty staff, he has become committed to improving psychiatry education for all trainees. He was awarded Knight Bachelor for services to Military Healthcare and to Psychological Medicine in 2013. 

As Regius Professor of Psychiatry Sir Simon will work alongside his colleagues to nurture and foster the discipline of psychiatry through a range of activities including: 

  • promoting the academic endeavour within psychiatry with a special emphasis on the next generation of trainees and disciplines
  • promoting the place of psychiatry within medicine through fostering interactions with the other disciplines
  • promoting the contributions that the IoPPN and King’s make towards improving mental health and its public understanding in the country and internationally
  • helping the IoPPN, King’s and its King’s Health Partners in fundraising efforts in the service of psychiatry and mental health 

Sir Simon said: ‘I know it’s a cliché but I want to emphasise that it was King’s and IoPPN that was awarded the Regius Chair, the first ever at King’s and the first ever in Psychiatry, to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that King’s IoPPN and the Maudsley have made to psychiatry over the past century. That is something for us all to celebrate. Once the title had been awarded to King’s, I am naturally honoured and a little overawed to be the first holder of the Chair, but the facts are that the award is indeed to the whole of the institution, past and present