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Network Champions appointed

Network Champions appointed

17th July 2015

Clinical Research Champions have been appointed to lead Mental Health and Dementia & Neurodegeneratve Diseases, providing national leadership in the development of clinical research activity in Scotland.

Professor Stephen Lawrie has been appointed as Mental Health Champion and Dr Peter Connelly as Dementia & Neurodegenerative Diseases Champion.

Professor Stephen Lawrie:

Stephen is a Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Division of Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. He is also Director of the SMHRN and Director of the Medical Research Foundation and Medical Research Council funded UK Clinical Research Training Fellowship programme for Mental Health (psySTAR). He sits on the Scottish Medicines Consortium and is co-chair of the Lothian Formulary Committee.

His research primarily involves using structural and functional brain imaging to distinguish patients with schizophrenia from their relatives, and from other patients with major psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder and autism. As a practising clinician, he is interested in potential clinical applications of brain imaging in psychosis and in the development of novel treatments such as cognitive enhancers that might enhance outcomes in patients with established psychoses and possibly even prevent the onset of psychosis in high risk populations.

Dr Peter Connelly:

Graduated MBCh.B from Glasgow University. His initial medical posts were in Geriatric Medicine. From there he completed vocational training from general practice of which Psychiatry was his last placement. His general practice year was in Kirkcudbright, well known for the high proportion of older people in the population.

He has been an Old Age Psychiatry consultant at Murray Royal Hospital, Perth since 1987.  He has always had an interest in research particularly in answering questions relevant to people who have dementia, for instance trying to predict response to treatment or improve treatment outcomes.

He led a successful bid, with his colleagues, to establish the SDCRN in August 2008. He hopes to be able to bring the best evidence based practice and research findings into Scotland to stimulate improvements in the services delivered to people with dementia and their carers, which is the real goal of any clinical research network.

In October 2014 Peter was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

NRS Topics and Specialty Groups cover 24 specialties including 7 Topic Research Networks and 14 Specialty Groups and provide the coordinated support and advice required to deliver clinical research in Scotland. Each specialty also works within the broader UK Clinical Research network, including the NIHR CRN, and equivalent structures in Wales (NISCHR) and Northern Ireland (NICRN).

Following the recent review of NHS Research Scotland (NRS) support structures, the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government (CSO) is implementing a set of changes to drive delivery to clinical studies in Scotland. Part of this process is the renewal of research specialty clinical lead roles over the next three years.

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