A turning point in the success of the Institute of Mental Health was through the efforts of Professor Peter Liddle, Professor Mike Cooke Chief Executive and others. The University of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust agreed to make a joint bid for one of the pilot National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire (CLAHRC NDL). Awarded in 2008 and running until 2013 with a NIHR award amounting to over £9 million matched by funding of £10million from the NHS and University, research was being carried out on a scale that had not been previously possible at Nottingham with partners across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
Under the leadership of Professor Graeme Currie, then Professors Rachel Munton and Richard Morriss, and hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare, CLAHRC NDL provided the first evidence of major success with the establishment of one of only nine of such NIHR applied research and implementation centres.
The success of CLAHRC NDL as a prestigious national research centre was pivotal in persuading the University and the Trust to move IMH from a virtual institution to its first base in the Sir Colin Campbell Building on the University of Nottingham Innovation Park, and then subsequently to its current £7 million Institute of Mental Health building.
Philosophically, CLAHRCs NDL and East Midlands piloted the concept that implementation of research into clinical practice must be user focused and co-produced from its inception through to its implementation. Through knowledge brokers (previously called diffusion fellows) and networks of practice, service users, NHS staff, and other agencies and partners such as social care or industry, projects of high importance to the NHS were developed as research. If research evidence supports implementation, services have been implemented from research into practice in 3-5 years rather than 10-20 years previously.
Other important achievements of NIHR CLAHRC NDL were:
1. The appointment of four chairs at the University of Nottingham at IMH (holder Professor David Daley), in the Nottingham Business School (a forerunner to the current CHILL, in medical
statistics providing vital statistics support to the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit and in health economics.
2. NIHR CLAHRC NDL facilitated the development of current IMH patient and public involvement through the work of Professor Justine Schneider and the appointment of Mr Peter Bates.
3. It funded much of the underpinning work for a second NIHR funded centre MindTech. CLAHRC East Midlands has continued to provide important funding e.g. the AQUA RCT leading to its establishment as a leading national centre for digital mental health.
4. It provided important cultural change training a cadre of clinical staff in research through its PhD and RIPPLES training programme .
5. It led directly to a range of evidence based services in Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and surrounding Trusts e.g. Individual Placement and Support services for serious mental illness, Specialist Depression Service, Early Supported Discharge for stroke.
6. It contributed substantially to the high score for infrastructure in the University of Nottingham Psychology and Psychiatry 2014 REF.
7. It played a key role in developing the Academic Health Science Network East Midlands now led by the previous CLAHRC NDL Director Professor Rachel Munton.
In 2014, CLAHRC East Midlands (EM) was successfully awarded £10 million by NIHR plus a further £18 million in NHS, university and industry funding. Hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare with the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham as one of its two main bases, it covers the whole East Midlands. Two successful CLAHRCs (CLAHRCs NDL and Leicestershire Northamptonshire and Rutland) have joined together under its Director Professor Kamlesh Khunti from the University of Leicester and the Director of Research Professor Richard Morriss from IMH with themes led in Nottingham in mental health, older people and stroke survivors (Professor John Gladman), and Innovation Evaluation and Implementation (Professor Justin Waring).
CLAHRC EM continues to provide an important contribution to IMH. One of its PhD staff recently won an award for best presentation at the recent IMH Research Day, one of its service users
won a prestigious ESRC PhD Fellowship award, while service implementation has been helped through winning two AHSN East Midlands project awards in mental health (QBTech for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, group psychoeducation for bipolar disorder). CLAHRC EM with PARADES and AHSN East Midlands develop a booklet on the Mental Capacity Act for bipolar disorder and
other mental health conditions that has been downloaded or printed over 70,000 times in the last year.
NIHR funded CLAHRCs have played a pivotal role in giving the IMH the size and prestige it enjoys, along side the hard work of many other parts of IMH also being celebrated at its 10th anniversary. Future developments at IMH such as the Centre of Excellence for Mood Disorders will take the close and important relationship between IMH with CLAHRC East Midlands forwards in the next few years.