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Newmind Network for Mental Health Technology

The EPSRC funded NewMind network explored the potential for technology to transform the management & treatment of mental health conditions, whilst seeking to address underlying Engineering and Physical Science (EPS) research challenges.

The network, which was coordinated by Digital Futures, began as a partnership between EPS researchers (initially from the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Lancaster and York), and the NIHR funded MindTech Healthcare Technology Cooperative.

It subsequently grew to cover over 400 members across a range of EPS, Clinical and research disciplines, industry partners, charities, and patient and service user representatives, from multiple institutions and organisations.

How NewMind worked 

Workshops provided the main mechanism for community building and delivery of NewMind objectives. These are centred around three main kinds of session designed to develop initial ideas into full research projects:

Healthcare: Exploring Clinical Needs & Developing Scenarios
These involved a broad range of stakeholders (clinicians, researchers, industry, health/social care, patients), each focusing on specific areas of clinical need. They helped researchers understand clinical need and allowed patients and other stakeholders to develop scenarios for technology interventions.

EPS: Identifying EPS research challenges & developing a Roadmap
These involved EPS Researchers and key clinical stakeholders. Designed to identify the EPS research needed to underpin technology intervention scenarios identified in the plenary workshops, these workshops helped to organise output into a prioritised roadmap.

Proposal Development / Sandpit Workshops
Involving both EPS researchers and clinical stakeholders, these sessions helped frame targeted research proposals, developing on the road-mapping activity.

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Research Roadmap

NewMind worked with the NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Cooperative to explore the potential for technology to transform care for individuals with mental health conditions. Focussing on four broad clinical areas – Serious Mental Illness, Mood and Affective Disorders, Dementia, and Developmental Disorders – it brought together researchers, healthcare professionals, service users (patients), mental health charities, and industry partners to co-develop plausible scenarios for technology intervention and identify the research challenges they pose.

This roadmap is one of the outputs of that process – refined over a series of multidisciplinary workshops. There are three components: a Health Outcomes Framework that provides a structured approach to describing the purposes of intervention; a summary of EPS Research Challenges that identifies key advances that will be necessary to deliver a transformation in mental health care; and an outline Ethical and Responsible Innovation Framework that sets out core principles which should guide researchers working in this field.

You can view the full Roadmap document here.

NewMind Brochure

The aim of the network was to explore the potential for technology to transform the management and treatment of mental health conditions, whilst identifying underpinning engineering and physical science challenges. We started with a series of workshops, engaging academics from a broad range of disciplines, together with service users and NHS, industry and charity participants. This helped to develop the NewMind community and resulted in the publication of a Research Introduction Roadmap that synthesised different perspectives and provided a framework for subsequent activities.

With the award of ‘Plus’ funding in 2016 we were able to change gear, building on the Roadmap by supporting collaborative projects. We held a series of ‘Sandpit’ workshops where project ideas were codeveloped by researchers, service users and other stakeholders. This resulted in 19 funded collaborative feasibility studies (13 Stage 1, exploratory; 6 Stage 2, follow on) involving 17 universities, 4 industry partners, 3 charities, and 3 patient representative groups, with a total value of £380,000. This booklet explains how we worked, and provides summaries of the feasibility studies and their achievements.

We are delighted to present an overview of the achievements of the NewMind
community over the period June 2014 – November 2019.

Read the full brochure here

EPS & Clinical leadership

Engineering & Physical Science Leadership

Professor Chris Taylor, University of Manchester (Principal Investigator & Human-Centric Systems)

Chris is an internationally leading researcher in computer vision and medical computing with cumulative research funding of over £29m (of which £11m EPSRC/ESRC) and over 7,000 ISI citations. He has taken a leading role in mHealth, as joint research and innovation lead for the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) – which brings together industry, academic researchers, and providers and commissioners of health & social care.

Dr John Ainsworth, University of Manchester (Co-Investigator & Information Management)

John is a the Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Informatics, with wide experience in applying computing technology to healthcare problems. He is Deputy Director of the MRC funded Centre for e-Health Research (HeRC) and has been Co-I and technical lead on mHealth projects for mental health with a combined value of £2m, including ClinTouch.

Professor Neil Lawrence, University of Sheffield (Co-Investigator & Data Analytics)

Neil is Professor of Machine Learning and Professor of Computational Biology at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience. His research focusses on the design and application of machine learning algorithms, with a particular focus on probabilistic methods and Gaussian processes. Since 2001 he has been PI on research grants from Microsoft, the EPSRC, the BBSRC, Google, the Department of Health and the European Union.

Professor Patrick Gaydecki, University of Manchester (Co-Investigator & Sensor Systems)

As Professor of Digital Signal Processing, Patrick leads a team specializing in the development of instrumentation and software in the areas of healthcare, audio signal processing and non-destructive materials evaluation. He is the founder of Signal Wizard Systems and his team collaborated with KMS Solutions to develop a light-weight (59gm) GSM and GPS enabled wristband for use by vulnerable adults and children.


Professor Chris Hollis, University of Nottingham/MindTech HTC (Co-Investigator & Co-lead for Developmental Disorders)

Chris is Director of the MindTech HTC. He is a Consultant and Lead Clinician in Developmental Neuropsychiatry with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, with special interests in lifespan neurodevelopmetal disorders including ADHD, Tourette’s, ASD, child and adolescent onset psychoses and psychopharmacology.

Professor Shôn Lewis, University of Manchester (Serious Mental Illness)

Shôn is R&D Director for the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and Professor of Adult Psychiatry at the University of Manchester. He is Associate Director and ICT Lead for the NIHR-funded Mental Health Research Network. He leads a programme of research, developing mHealth interventions for symptom assessment and intervention, funded by NIHR, MRC, industry and EU, including the MRC-funded ClinTouch/CareLoop projects (mHealth interventions for schizophrenia).

Professor Richard Morriss, University of Nottingham (Co-Lead for Mood & Affective Disorder)

Richard is Professor of Psychiatry & Community Mental Health at the University of Nottingham. He is Chair of the NICE Bipolar Disorder Guideline Development Group, and Director of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire MHRN Hub with an outstanding clinical trial recruitment record.

Professor Karina Lovell, University of Manchester (Co-Lead for Mood & Affective Disorder)

Karina is Professor of Mental Health at the University of Manchester and a non-Executive Director for the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust. Her main research interests are developing accessible, acceptable interventions for people with mental health problems.

Professor Tom Dening, University of Nottingham/MindTech HTC (Co-Lead for Dementia)

Tom is Professor of Dementia Research, University of Nottingham, and theme lead for Dementia in the NIHR MindTech HTC. He was previously Medical Director of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. He is a partner in TSB/SBRI CASA (Connecting Assistive Solutions to Aspirations) from January 2014.

Dr Iracema Leroi, University of Manchester (Co-Lead for Dementia)

Iracema is Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Brain Behaviour and Mental Health at the University of Manchester, an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist (Manchester Mental Health and Social care Trust) and Dementia Clinical Director for the NIHR Dementia and Neurodegenerative Disease Research Network North West (DeNDRoN NW).

Professor David Daley, University of Nottingham/MindTech HTC (Co-Lead for Developmental Disorder)

David is is Professor of Psychological Intervention and Behaviour Change at the University of Nottingham, and Neurodevelopmental theme lead for the MindTech HTC. His research focuses on investigating and modifying non-shared environmental processes for families of children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Marsha's Story - A Dragon's Eye View!

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Marsha was a member of NewMind since 2016, during which time she has been an active and forthright advocate of the Service User voice in Mental Health research and the activities of the network. 

She has lived experience in both physical and mental health, managing a number of conditions including Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Type 2 Diabetes, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. Her areas of interests are BPD, suicide prevention, and physical health conditions impacting on Mental Health.

This is her view on being involved with NewMind over the past three years


"In 2016 I was approached by the NewMind team to discuss being involved in a Dragon’s Den panel as a Service User Expert by Experience. They wanted to make sure that the voice of the Service User was featured throughout the process, starting with their Sandpit events right through to presenting at the Den. At my first Sandpit event I remember very clearly feeling way out of my depth and kept on thinking about how I would manage to keep up. The conversations that were being had were very intellectual and I wanted to make a fast exit. However, I am glad I stayed and went on to develop confidence in asking questions and encouraging others to use their voices too. At the initial Sandpit events we realised that there were some very passionate people in the mix with idea’s that they had, so how could we then encourage those that don’t say much to feel that their ideas counted. Chris Taylor, NewMind's Principal Investigator, would set the scene for the two days and then I reminded people that there was power in collaboration, and that by involving someone with lived experience from the outset could provide valuable focus, purpose, and insight. As for a Dragon, I guess I would say I was the 'Fierce Dragon'! I always asked where and when the patient/carer involvement began in the process. I would also ask about the Duty of Care, and if they were engaging with vulnerable groups in workshops 'what was the after care?', and 'what funding was there for recognition for time given etc?' The last three years being involved with Chris [Taylor], Dan [Morley], Carmel [Dickinson], John [Ainsworth], Shon [Lewis], Jennifer [Martin], Patrick [Gaydecki] and others has given me the confidence in myself to be able to ask questions without (too much!) self-doubt. It has given me insight into what co-production and collaboration really looks like, where you have service users and carers involved from the outset. I am going to miss being a Dragon and also being part of NewMind."

Marsha McAdam,
Service User Expert by Experience

As well as being involved in the co-production of various services, Marsha is active in the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Strategic Clinical Network 'Patients, Public and Carers Network', and was part of the Patient Voices 'Can You Hear What I Say?' digital storytelling initiative.

Marsha was also one of the driving forces behind the newly formed Greater Manchester Adult Mental Health Service User Network (@gm_amh)

You can follow Marsha on Twitter via @Marsha_MHAdvMcr