Award: Making best use of Big Data: MRC Mental Health Pathfinder Awards

Nine leading universities from across the UK will be the recipients of multi-million-pound grants from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to help researchers harness the power of data science for mental health research. Funding for the grants, which totals £10 million, was secured by the MRC as part of the government’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

The research community holds and generates huge swathes of biological, clinical, social and environmental data.  The real challenge is how best to select and analyse the data to help unlock the secret to better diagnosis, treatment and ultimately prevention of mental health conditions. These nine innovative studies all look to tackle this question head-on, helping build the systems, infrastructure and insight that will help researchers make the best use of Big Data.

Collaboration is a key feature of these grants, working across academia and industry to help jump-start the sector in preparation for a future Mental Health Research Platform, similar in style to the Dementias Platform UK.

The Mental Health Pathfinder awardees are listed below.




Pathfinder summary

University of Bristol

John Macleod

Cohorts as Platforms for Mental Health research (CaP:MH): Integrating the ALSPAC and Born in Bradford population cohorts.

University of Cambridge

Rudolf Cardinal

Developing new tools for electronic health record data linkage, structured neuropsychiatric phenotyping, outcome prediction, and democratisation of mental health research.

Cardiff University

Jeremy Hall

Integrating genetic, clinical and phenotypic data to advance stratification, prediction and treatment in mental health.

University of Edinburgh

Andrew McIntosh

Leveraging routinely collected and linked research data to study the causes and consequences of common mental disorders.

University of Glasgow

Daniel Smith

Enhancing mental health cohorts through linkage to health, education and administrative datasets.

King’s College London

Robert Stewart

Developing algorithms to extract mental health data from electronic health records, and establishing the feasibility of working with schools and education data for mental health research.

University of Oxford

Simon Lovestone

Developing an informatics supported platform for experimental medicine.

Swansea University Medical School

Ann John

MytHICAL- Mental Health Informatics in Children, Adolescents and young adults. How do my feelings become numbers?

University College London

David Osborn

Advancing methodology and linkages in electronic health records for mental health research.


 [This article was originally published on MRC website on 28th March 2018 at: ]