UoA 4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Ranked 2nd in the UK with a GPA score of 3.52 our research on understanding behaviour and the causes of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders has confirmed our position as a world-leading centre of excellence for psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience. 100% of our research environment was rated as conducive to producing research of world-leading quality in terms of its vitality and sustainability. 90% of our research has been deemed ‘outstanding’ for its impact in terms of its reach and significance.

Quality level 4 3 2 1 UC
Overall 60.0% 32.0% 8.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Outputs 41.5% 50.0% 8.1% 0.4% 0.0%
Impact 90.0% 0.0% 10.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Environment 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
About the REF

Based in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, the School of Psychology and the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (MRC Centre) have co-ordinated and long-standing multi-level approaches to understanding behaviour and the causes of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. The MRC Centre and the School of Psychology are major partners in the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute.

In the School of Psychology, research addresses four major themes: neuroscience; cognitive science; social and environmental psychology, and health and developmental psychology. This complements research on disorders in the MRC Centre, housed in the School of Medicine, where work focuses on three broad disease themes: psychosis and major affective disorders; neurodegenerative disorders, and developmental disorders.

Collaborations between the School of Psychology and the MRC Centre have been facilitated by two Chair-level appointments in Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioural Genetics, and over £9M of joint grants awarded between 2008 and 2013.

The School of Psychology is one of the strongest for psychological research in the UK. Its research programme has been enhanced by establishing the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) and the Wales Autism Research Centre (led by the UK's first Chair in Autism Research). The breadth and impact of the research conducted by members of the School is reflected by the extent of collaborations with other disciplines; in Cardiff alone these include engineering, architecture, social sciences, optometry, biosciences, medicine, journalism, physics and chemistry.

The MRC Centre forms a major part of the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences in the School of Medicine.  It is the leading UK Centre for research into psychiatric genetics and genomics. The work of the MRC Centre encompasses both discovery and translational research – based on genetics and genomics, but increasingly moving into clinical and basic neurosciences and epidemiology – to understand the causes of major mental illness. Spanning the period from childhood to old age, the Centre's research focus includes psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Case studies

Cannabis use and schizophrenia

Is cannabis use linked to schizophrenia?

Prompting action on climate change

Research has revealed a 'governance trap' hindering action on climate change.

Tackling the challenge of tiredness at sea

How our research into tiredness has helped create better policies and safer systems for mariners.

Values research changes focus of charitable campaigns

Our research has fundamentally changed how charities approach environmental-based marketing campaigns

Centres and groups

Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)CUBRIC is a centre of excellence for cognitive and clinical imaging and for imaging methods development. The imaging technologies and expertise in CUBRIC permit multi-level approaches to understanding brain structure and function in health and disease.
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research InstituteThis is a University Research Institute. The institute's mission is to stimulate the development of new research aimed at translating basic research findings into a better understanding of psychiatric disease mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment. It is funded by a £5.2m Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust and by a £1m grant from the Waterloo Foundation. It also hosts the Wellcome Trust Integrative Neurosciences 4-year PhD programme.
Sustainable Places Research InstituteThe goal of this institute is to provide a new basis for sustainability science. Sustainable living in sustainable places is examined by integrating established methodologies from the natural, physical and social sciences, enabling a new understanding of the interrelations between ecology, society and economy.
National Centre for Mental HealthLed by the MRC Centre, the NCMH is Wales' first Biomedical Research Centre. It is funded by NISCHR at £1m per annum, and realises our strategic aim of enhanced engagement with the NHS and patient populations. It is establishing a cohort group of over 8,000 individuals with major psychiatric disorders.
Wales Autism Research CentreThe unit established the Wales Autism Research Centre and the UK's first Chair in Autism Research in 2009, funded by a combination of charitable foundation, Welsh Government and University resources (£1M over 5 years). The Centre is an integral part of the School of Psychology's research strengths in typical and atypical development.
Understanding Risk GroupAn interdisciplinary social science unit focusing on public perception and communication of environmental and technological risks in everyday life, gaining over £6m in external research funding over the past 5 years. The Unit benefits from School of Psychology strengths in social and environmental psychology, with social practices, institutional trust, emerging technologies and responsible innovation, and behaviour change as key theoretical and empirical concerns.

Overall ranking

Pos. Institution GPA
1University of Oxford3.62
2Cardiff University3.52
3University of Cambridge3.51
4University of York3.46
5Birkbeck College3.45
6Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College3.44
7Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine3.41
7University of Birmingham3.41
9Newcastle University3.37
10University of Sussex3.36

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